Go Ahead, Play With Yourself

The July Project: Day 19

I’ve written elsewhere about my exercise rules and about the idea of making a game out of achieving goals.


I play a lot of games in my exercise routine. I make up arbitrary rules and give myself extra points on an imaginary scoreboard for achievements above and beyond the normal daily routine. I’m not always sure whether these tricks help keep me motivated, or just give my idle mind something to do.

Here’s a rule I made up tonight:

  • Extra points are assessed for walking on a day so humid that you finish the outing dripping wet from head to toe.

Come to think of it, a lot of my scorekeeping rules are related to weather conditions:

  • Extra points when circumstances require walking in the blazing-hot afternoon sun.
  • A few extra points for walking under threat of rain.
  • More extra points for walking in the rain.
  • Even more extra points if the source of rain is a hurricane.
  • Extra points for walking when it’s very cold.
  • Still more extra points for walking when it’s very cold and raining.
  • Many, many extra points—and Facebook bragging rights—for walking in the snow.

When I was laid up on the couch a couple of months ago recovering from eye surgery, I couldn’t play my regular game. For a period of several weeks, I couldn’t drive, or complete a full lap around the park even if I begged a ride there. So I improvised a temporary rule: a late-night stroll to Ella Boulevard and back would suffice as a day’s exercise. Just as soon as I was able, I started adding extra blocks to the minimum daily requirement.

Have fun with the rules of your game. Let them inspire you, motivate you, goad you on, or give you something to brag about. Adapt them to your needs. Make the game a lot of fun, and you’ll never want to quit playing.

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