time to make a walking schedule

When the summer breezes begin to blow, they never fail to whisper “tennis” in my ear. I can’t wait for the first warm days, when I can grab my racket and bounce the luminous green ball on the deep sky blue of the court. The sunshine makes my ‘older than the hills’ game seem crisp and new, the boundary lines are fat and white, my shots spin and pop off the racket, my footwork is spry and hopeful. As I look forward to the upcoming season, I can’t stop thinking “I will be a beast this year!”

I also love the big tennis tournaments that are broadcast on major television networks – the French, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. I follow tennis players like teens follow pop stars – what are the popular shots this year? How are they conditioning? And, most important -what are they wearing?!! Yep, I have been a devout student of the game since I was fourteen years old, it’s in my DNA.

I especially love the French Open which is taking place now. The French is extra fun to watch because the clay surface is like a crumbly, chocolate, graham cracker crust. Players can chase after a ball and then finish with a graceful slide or dramatic chasse. On this type of surface, the athleticism of tennis closely resembles dance, with a little bit of the food network thrown in!

Maria Sharapova is a French Open favorite. Having won the tournament two times, she is the defending women’s champion this year. Recently, I stumbled upon this quote of hers, and for some reason it has stuck in my mind…

I don’t follow other players or the tournaments they play. I have my own schedule and do my own thing. I never really think, ‘Oh, I want to be or play like so-and -so.’ I just like being myself.  -Maria Sharapova

When I first started playing tennis as a nerdy kid in grammar school, I would make a monthly schedule of shots I wanted to practice and learn. I would include days for serving, days for conditioning and days for whatever strategies Billie Jean King and Chrissie Evert were using. This helped me focus on specifics and kept my practices from getting boring. (What can I say? I was a nerd then and I am still *proudly* one today.) Eventually, I evolved into finding my own game. The schedule helped me find my own rhythm and kept me committed. It reinforced “my thing” and I was the boss.

Schedule "me time" and stick to it! As moms we don't have the time, we have to make it! YOU are important too!
With summer about to open its big wide door of extra time, this is the perfect moment to make a walking schedule. Find a weekly chart and write in times and types of walks you would like to do. In this way, walking becomes a priority, “your thing that you do for you, your way.” Take a moment to creatively plan for a variety of short, long, beach, interval, park, neighborhood, lunch time, after dinner, meet a friend type of walks to alleviate any boredom in the routine. Be your own personal trainer!

work out planner, every day it says gym...or walk the dog for a longggg time

If you find success in one week of planning, go out on a limb and try planning for one month. It’s amazing how good one feels checking off completed walks. Making a schedule just might move you through the summer without thinking or effort. Like Maria, you are happy being yourself in your own style!

The very best part of a preplanned schedule is when you need a sick day. We all need a day off every now and then. With a schedule, if you miss a day you can always get back into your routine – immediately. One day off doesn’t turn into a week off or quitting altogether. You give yourself permission to let go of one day and then…you resume the schedule!  What a great way to prioritize your health.

motivate yourself

a very simple ‘ten thousand steps’ poem

10,000 the goal
as I start my stroll…
foot hits the ground,
heart starts to pound.
At the end of one mile
I love to smile.
With two complete
my mood’s upbeat.
Mile three goes by
in the blink of an eye!
Finishing four,
my endorphins soar.
By the time I do five
I feel grateful; alive!
My goal is a win-
I just had to begin!


 Happy Spring Everyone!



take a step to self-change

Exercise, Maxine-style

How many times have we used this barrier to put off starting something? I know I have. Either I’m too busy, or I’m too tired, or I”m not in the mood, I tell myself “maybe I’ll do it tomorrow”. Honestly, sometimes I don’t even think of “postponement” as a barrier because my intentions are good.

Wrong! I’ve just been played by the oldest barrier in the book. Barriers hold us back and keep us from experiencing all the best life has to offer. The time has come to answer some new questions…How do we change? How do we find success?

If you are “open to April”, if you have found you are “pro” walking, if you have “knocked down a stone in your barrier wall”, and if you are finally ready to begin to “move a mountain”, then…you are most definitely ready to become (drum roll please…) a “self-changer”.

That’s right, YOU and you alone have the power to become a SELF-changer. How does that work, you ask? Well, since no one is telling you to change, and you are not changing for anyone else, it follows that you are changing because you want to. You have decided to…
Make Time for Yourself!!

Now that you know you value you, and you are the priority, why can’t you walk? Why can’t you make the time? If you truly value this healthy behavior, you can make an affirmation for yourself. An example of an affirmation could be…”I will make time to walk today because I value this healthy behavior for myself”.  Repeating the affirmation in your mind, over and over, will drown out any negative self talk from your barrier. (Feel free to make up your own affirmation. Use any words that will get you walking.)

With this knowledge in mind, take a second look at those barriers. If you are open, choose one of the barriers that seems to be a common one for you. Next, scan the suggestions for improvement (or come up with one of your own). Select one of the tips for overcoming your barrier and see if you can put the suggestion into practice one time this week. Use your affirmation to make it work. You may find – the excuses can’t get in the way. If you are able to get out and walk one time this week, just one time, that is success. Pat yourself on the back. You have taken a first, small, baby step for you.

Self-changers are people who have figured out that small steps result in big outcomes. How does it feel to be a self-changer? Pretty awesome -right?!!!

Exercise jokes.... For the funniest pictures and  quotes visit www.bestfunnyjokes4u.com/lol-best-funny-cartoon-joke-2/

walking – pros and cons

Did you ever consider what would happen to you if you started walking regularly?

Take a moment to think about this, make a list if you want. Divide your list in half, and write “pros ” on one side and “cons” on the other. Then fill it in and see which you have more of. My guess is… at this stage, you might have more cons than pros. This is quite normal.

Let’s take a moment to look at the list further. This time, let’s spend some time re-examining those cons, really give them a good, hard look. Are there some cons that you “might” be able to work around? Hmm, let’s see…that one about “takes too much time”? Let’s think about this…how long does it actually take to walk a mile or less? (That’s right, 10-15 minutes.) So, out of 24 hours in a day, is it possible to squeeze this small amount of time in somewhere? Now the question becomes… where in the day could you try and walk for 10-15 minutes? Do you see how this works? You must be able to badger and question your cons like a prosecuting attorney!

If you are able to successfully impeach a con, let’s do it this way… flip it to a positive statement and slide it over to the pro side. For example, the “not enough time” con becomes “I can find 10 minutes after dinner.”

In all fairness, we spent extra time on the cons, so now we should inspect the updated pro list. As you study your pro list, take it all in.  I mean it…close your eyes, see your list and let your pro statements zoom around in the open emptiness of your mind. Breathe deeply. Allow your self to feel you motivating you. Do you feel the energy beginning? You are planting the seeds of change. Alright, open your eyes.

Now, ask yourself this question… “why am I not sure about starting to walk?”

12 Benefits of Walking

open up to april

April…a month meaning “to open”, as in buds, trees and flowers. It is the month of worldwide celebrations…Passover, Easter, Buddah’s birthday, Earth day, Opening day (baseball), April Fool’s day, Liberation day, Freedom day, Arbor day, Greenery day and World Health day, to name a few. In honor of the last one, I’d like to dedicate my April blogs to those who (drumroll please…) are thinking of “opening up” to the possibility of beginning a regular walking habit!

With Spring weather finally starting to show up in Chicagoland one or two days in the week, there is no better time or place, to explore getting active. (This will also be helpful for me, as I am finding a need for some inspiration myself and as everyone knows –   it never hurts to re-examine or re-assess our actions.)

So folks, we are heading back to the beginning. Most of my April blogs will be pointed at those individuals out there who are in the “thinking about starting a pattern of regular walking” stage. Let’s see if we can move over to the “I’m actually trying to do this, sometimes” stage.

Throughout this month, I’d like to explore behavior change. There will be questions, many questions for you to answer. Rather than being pushed or pulled in a direction by this blog, the hope is you will move yourself  into the next stage because of something you value –  your health and well being.

Alright then, let’s get started…


A good way to start thinking about changing a behavior is to ask yourself some questions…

“Why am I still reading this?”  : )

“How do I know I am ready to begin a walking program?”

“Did I ever walk before, how did it make me feel?”

“Is there any reason why I shouldn’t start walking?”

“Why do I want to start walking?”


One thing I will not ever do is tell you what the right or wrong answers to the questions are. Your answers are personal and they serve only you. All I ask, is that you take the time to reflect on your answers. And of course, remember to be “open” to the possibilities.

Feel free to post comments or questions – I’ll do my best to facilitate a discussion as we explore answers. Also, if you know someone who is thinking about starting a walk habit, please feel free to forward this blog to them, you can be an inspiration as well!


APRIL! #BringIt