How to Want What you Want to Want

Day 2 of my “Walking and Blogging” month. I am trying to walk no less than 10,000 steps each day, and then blog about my experience in the evening.

I knew today would be a tough one. I stayed up too late last night, clicking through an internet rabbit hole. I spent most of today at my parents’ house, visiting with my sister and her kids. It was raining most of the day, so not much chance for a walk outside. I didn’t get my afternoon nap. But I did it. When I got home, I walked around the family room reading more Dan Brown until I hit 10,000.

And the only reason I did it was because I didn’t want to write tonight that I failed to get my steps on day 2. If it weren’t for this “walking and blogging” challenge I issued myself, there’s no way I would have succeeded. This blog has given me accountability.

It’s funny that we always seem to need that. Back in my letterboxing days, I would hike long distances, sometimes up steep mountains, and the only reason I would do it was because there was the potential for treasure waiting for me at the end. Sure, I did enjoy being out in the woods, and a nice leg-stretcher on LEVEL GROUND never bothered me. But on many days, I would have turned around long before I did if it weren’t for that elusive search. I didn’t want to go back empty-handed.

I wear a FitBit; that and many other devices and apps are all about “gamifying” exercise, turning it into something like a video game, where you hit goals and advance levels and receive badges. But I think there is also an accountability piece in there. In addition to the excitement of hitting a goal, there’s also the other side of not wanting to fail to hit that goal.

We have to play games with our brain, trick it into doing what we want it to do. It’s funny — I really didn’t want to get all my steps in today, but I wanted to want to. And so I used this blog as a way to trick my brain into thinking it wanted what I wanted it to want. And of course it’s my brain that wanted me to want it, so my brain tricked itself into wanting what it wanted itself to want. That’s ridiculous.

Reminds me of the greatest sentence ever written in English:

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

I’ll write more tomorrow. I have to. It’s what my brain wants itself to want.

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