The Power of a 5-Minute Walk

At the end of 2022, I took one group and several individuals through a process I call “Year By Design.” (In 2022, it was called “2023 By Design.”) This process involves walking through six steps to identify what you want to do differently in the year ahead and what steps to take to make those changes.

It’s no surprise that one of the goals common to several of my clients was to address their physical health. From wanting to lose weight to wanting to gain strength, integrating more physical exercise was top of mind for these busy adults in various stages of life. But the hardest part about starting a new exercise routine is, well, starting a new exercise routine.

For one client in particular, starting felt particularly insurmountable. Due to some physical illness she had been dealing with, she had gained a lot of weight. And the social isolation of the pandemic had left her feeling paralyzed to move forward. She had totally psyched herself out. She had gained so much weight and fallen so out of shape, she didn’t even know where to begin.

She was totally stuck.

Working with my client, we had to deal first with her mindset. Peeling back the layers of shame, disappointment, overwhelm, and despair, we recognized where her thoughts had totally sabotaged her progress. We then began to break the seemingly impossible tasks of losing weight and getting back in shape down into very small, very bite sized pieces.

We had to recognize the importance of right now.

As I do often with my clients, we looked to the Serenity Prayer, which encourages us to be at peace with the things we cannot change and to be empowered to change the things we can.

So the question we kept coming back to was, What can I change today to move closer to where I want to be?

This question became the catalyst for a mindset shift that helped my client move from paralysis to progress. By focusing not on the enormous task of losing 100 pounds, but rather on being fully present to herself today and focusing on what she can do today, she was able to take the next necessary step.

And to begin with, the next necessary step was a five-minute walk.

Because of the pain in her knees caused by her rapid weight gain, my client could not go for the long walks she thought were necessary to make real progress on losing weight. So she just stayed put. But when we broke her exercise goals down into tiny next steps, suddenly things seemed much more realistic.

She took the five minute walk.

And she felt like a new person.

The five minute walk turned into a ten-minute walk, which grew into a fifteen-minute walk. Eventually, she was able to walk for thirty minutes, and that is where she is now—walking for thirty minutes several times each week.

Her progress is slow, and that can be discouraging at times. But by staying focused on today, and what you can do today to move toward your goals, she will stay empowered. You can’t change the scale (or the bank account, or the team dynamics, or whatever) today, but you can do something today that will change these things for your Future Self.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a particular goal or change you want to make, try this approach. Ask, What can I change today to move closer to where I want to be? Break the task into tiny next steps. And see where that takes you!

Coaching Question of the Day

What is one thing I can change today to move closer to where I want to be?


Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Photo by Hayley Murray on Unsplash

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