I signed up for an event called “30 Days of Biking” that asks that you bike every day of April. I’ve made if for thirteen days now.
I didn’t sign up because I was thinking about goals to exercise or get out on my bike more often. What I was thinking was PHOTO PROJECT!
I was excited about taking a photo every day to document time spent on my bike. I wanted to experiment and make the photos unique by visiting various places and playing with lighting, motion and different angles to shoot.
I also expected (or hoped) that the photos would show the changing weather from the snowy start of April to (I hope) the emerging plant life by the end of April.
All of those expectations have been fulfilled, except maybe for the weather one. We were teased with some high 60’s, but last night the temp dropped to 25 degrees F, with a real feel of 9 degrees. WHAT THE…
Still, in some way, braving the weather has been the best part. I feel good about sticking to something I said I would do no matter what obstacles come up.
Which leads to the very cool, unexpected part of participating in 30 Days of Biking — I’ve been able to think about what has made this something I’ve been able to stick with and have fun versus so many of the other commitments I’ve made but not been able to go the distance on.
These are the reasons I’ve come up with:
Community: There are a group of people participating in 30 Days of Biking who are taking photos that they are sharing on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. With the hash tag of #30daysofbiking, it’s been easy to find other participants’ photos. I’ve seen a Colorado mountain biker coming down a rocky trail, people riding through snow, some cool sites of the city and countryside, and someone in Florida posted a photo of a sign on a mountain bike trail warning to watch out for alligators. And it's not just bike riders in the USA, there are people from all over the world.
Giving Back: For every 30 pledges, 30 Days of Biking, along with Free Bikes 4 Kidz, is donating one bike to a kid in need. What an awesome thing for them to do!
Commitment and Accountability: I signed a public pledge. Surprisingly, even to me, that actually means something. Plus I’d feel really lame if I quit now. It helps that the pledge is to bike every day rather than 30 miles a week or 120 miles in a month or three days a week. Every day means that I don’t have to think about it. As soon as I get home from work, I change clothes and get on my bike. On the weekends, I make sure I get my bike ride in before dinner. If I had to go a certain number of days or miles in a month, there would be too much latitude. When I didn’t feel like riding. I’d decide to do it tomorrow. And if tomorrow was no better, I’d plan to go the next day. And pretty soon, I wouldn’t be bike riding.
Daily Photo Project: It has been challenging to try and take a unique biking photo every day. Challenge equals fun in my book… Sometimes I’m not happy with the results I get, but I’m always happy with the process of experimenting. When something doesn’t work, it usually leads to an idea of what to try next time that might work.
Sticking To Something Builds Trust: I have discovered that keeping my word to myself is important. When I don’t keep my promises or do as I intended, I lose credibility. Why should I believe myself when I have said things in the past like, “I’m going to cut out sugar from my diet” or “I’m going to write for one hour every day," only to lose my resolve after a few day? In fact, I have let myself down so many times that I don’t take myself all that seriously and figure I’m going to blow it as soon as “the promise” comes out of my mouth.
So sticking with biking every day for thirteen days, has helped me reconsider the idea that I NEVER follow through. It isn’t a total cure for all the years of not keeping my word to myself, but it has shown me that when I do keep my word, I feel pretty good about it and I respect myself for it. So now I want to do this with more than just biking.
I want to find a way to carry this experience over to some of my other intentions. I’m going to keep noticing what is working with my 30 Days of Biking and see if I can determine a way to apply the same kind of thinking to other areas in which I want to make a commitment and stick to it.
But for now, I'm just going to enjoy the ride!