New Featured Challenges for Meditation Month

May is Meditation Month and we have THREE new meditation-themed map challenges!

The goal of meditation is to achieve mental clarity and a calm emotional state. Mental and emotional wellbeing is vital for handling life’s stresses and building healthy lifestyles. Similar to having many options for physical activities, there are many options when it comes to meditation. Some examples include Qi Gong, mindfulness, and focused attention meditation. Try and see which one works for you!

These meditation-themed map challenges will inspire you to try out or continue a meditation practice.

 

Buddha's IndiaBuddha’s India – Meditation May

Have you ever wondered where meditation originated?  The most influential form of meditation comes from the traditions of Buddha.  This map will take you to destinations in India that highlight the most important parts of Buddhist history.  You will learn about where Buddha spent most of his time, where pilgrims congregate to meditate and more. Along the journey you will also be given tips so that you can start your own meditation practice.

 

Ready Set Mediate worldReady, Set, Meditate: World

Meditation month is upon us and this map will take you on a journey to some of the best meditation retreats and locations around the world. We’ve included stops in eight unique destinations, where nature is abundant, and the sky is blue. From ancient cities to modern housing, you will be amongst the leaders of the world in meditation practice and knowledge.  Learn about some hidden gems, some meditation history and take note of the meditation tips given along this journey.

 

 

Ready Set MeditateReady, Set, Meditate: USA

May is national meditation month! We want to celebrate by taking you on a tour of the most relaxing and infamous retreats while providing information on meditation practices. We make meditation easy to get into even with a busy schedule, so we will give you meditation guides, motivation, and facts during this challenge! To start off, here is a list of meditation benefits to help get you inspired to meditate:

– Reduce stress

– Controls anxiety

– Promotes emotional health

– Enhances self-awareness

– Improves attention span and concentration

– May reduce age related memory loss

– May help fight addictions

– Improves sleep

– Helps control pain, both mentally and physically

– Can decrease blood pressure

– Improves positive emotion

– Makes you more compassionate

Interested in these challenges?

If you are a program administrator and are interested in adding any of these meditation map routes to your program, please submit the form below.



Walker Tracker on the Move – Staff Challenge Recap

Almost a month ago, I posted about our staff challenge and the results are in! Congratulations to Blanca Garcia-Rinder, our V.P. of Customer Success, for winning the Walker Tracker Rise and Grind Challenge! Our runner-ups include yours truly in second place and Kristina Peltier, our Marketing Manager, in third place.

Walker Tracker on the move.It’s always nice to take a moment to highlight the effort that was made as a whole group. During the challenge, we tracked 4,474,307 steps! But more important than the numbers were the beneficial experiences from participating in the challenge.

Taylor Welsh, our President and CEO, shared her experiences during the challenge:

“This challenge was a great motivator to focus on better sleep habits and being consistently active. Coinciding with the Rise and Grind challenge I began working out in the mornings instead of evenings. Man oh man did that make a difference in my energy levels throughout the day and quality of sleep at night.”

It’s experiences like this that demonstrate the power a wellness challenge has on forming healthy habits. The simple act of tracking wellness metrics creates personal awareness (e.g., is that really how little I sleep?). Awareness can motivate you to start making lifestyle changes that will help you reach your personal goals.

Once the goals are set, then motivation is key. Challenges can feel long when the initial excitement wears off, so it can be a ‘challenge’ to stay motivated.

Kristina shared a tip that kept her moving through the challenge:

“Schedule time for yourself.  Every day I would set aside time to go to a workout class or go for a walk. If it was on my calendar I would follow through and do it. This is how I made sure that I had steps or activities to add to my challenge tracking on a regular basis.”

It’s no surprise she was among the top finishers.

What will keep you motivated? It might be extrinsic (a cash prize or gift), or it may be intrinsic (feeling great about yourself for achieving a goal, no matter how small). Figure out what motivates you, then you will rock the challenge!

Back at the office, we’ll reflect on the fun we had during this past challenge for just a bit before we prepare for the next challenge because we walk the walk!

What do you and your friends do to stay motivated in a challenge or active regularly? We’d love to hear how you stay inspired.

Walker Tracker being active.

A few members of Walker Tracker taking a break with an afternoon walk.

International Women’s Day – Celebrating the Work Women Do

Walker Tracker's Management Team

Walker Tracker’s amazing management team: Stephanie Green, Ben Parzybok, Taylor Welsh, and Blanca Garcia-Rinder

International Women’s Day is March 8th and Walker Tracker is proud to celebrate and acknowledge the work women are doing both at our company and around the world. This has been a big year for women everywhere and for the women at Walker Tracker.

In January the list of leaders for the Fortune 500 companies came out and there were more women on it than ever, growing from 21 to 31 female CEOS- the highest number since the list started in 1955. While this is great news, there is still a lot of work to be done, as that is only 6.4% of the companies with female leadership.

Women have outnumbered men on college campuses since 1988 and yet hold far less leadership positions from corporate executive officers, board seats, and college deans to law firm partners, film directors and congressional seats. (For more details see the article: “The Women’s Leadership Gap” by the Center for American Progress )

At Walker Tracker we are proud to be a part of a growing number of companies working to bridge this gap. From our CEO, Taylor Welsh, to two out of three of our departments being head by female leaders, we have a strong female presence throughout our organization. We have female representation on every team from customer success to sales to development! We believe this diversity strengthens our perspective as a company and allows us to better partner with our clients to engage all of their employees in a variety of wellness initiatives.

To celebrate International Women’s Day we are releasing a limited time challenge map “Influential Women Throughout History.” Walk around the world and unlock milestone pins with content about these amazing leaders who helped blaze the trail for all women everywhere! This map will be available to all our new and current programs through the end of March, as well as a challenge open to anyone on our community site starting, March 8th.

We Walk The Walk! – Walker Tracker’s Latest Staff Challenge

Last week, with the streets covered with snow, I stepped outside decked out in layers and snow gear ready to trek through the snow. Why didn’t I stay inside and hide from the cold? Well, a challenge is underway and there are steps to be taken!

Walk for fun and health

Here at Walker Tracker, we actually do walk the walk. Our staff enjoys competing against each other in our own activity challenges. Our quarterly challenge is going on right now: The Walker Tracker Rise and Grind Challenge. The challenge is an example of our custom points challenges. Each day, competitors can earn points by meeting the daily step goal, logging sleep hours, posting photos, and answering questions throughout the challenge.

So, why does this challenge focus on sleep? “We’ve found that an active lifestyle requires consistent and sufficient sleep, so in addition to encouraging everyone to meet their daily step goals we also wanted them cognizant of how much sleep they’re getting,” says our Account Executive Cyan Cooper, who is administering the challenge. He also highlights that “people tend to wear sleep deprivation as a badge of honor, but losing sleep robs you of your energy, diminishes just about every measurable health metric, and significantly increases your chances of Alzheimer’s.” Check out previous blogs with more info on sleep and tips on how to get more sleep.

The challenge is not just for bragging rights, there are real stakes! Top steppers receive coffee gift cards, to help keep us focused and hard at work I’d imagine. But, the simple act of recognition, whether it be a certificate at an awards ceremony or a gift card or other prize, can be very motivating.

A common question I get is what kinds of incentives should I provide challenge winners? It really depends on the organization’s population and culture. It’s always a good idea to reward healthy behaviors with prizes that promote healthy habits. A few ideas include:

• A gift card to by fresh produce, sporting goods, massage, or music
• An activity tracking device
• A personal training session

To be honest, I’m not the most competitive person, but I’m looking forward to having fun and feeling good about my activity level during this challenge. Who will emerge victorious? Who will be left to sweep up the dust (or snow?)? Stay tuned or follow us on social media at Facebook or Twitter to hear how it turns out.

2018 Gift of Walking Winners!

Gift of WalkingWe’re fantastically overwhelmed by all of the great submissions for the 2018 Gift of Walking Donation Program. It was a difficult decision to make, but we did it. Please join me in congratulating our winner:


Community Counseling Solutions

 

They stood out to us for a few reasons. First, our missions are in alignment; we’re both dedicated to improving the well-being of people and have placed a focus on community.

CCS’s mission statement: “Proving dynamic, progressive, and diverse supports to improve the well-being of our communities”.

 

Second, their submission letter deeply resonated with us, here’s a bit about what they do:

“Community Counseling Solutions (CCS) is a non profit agency that provides community based Mental Health, Addictions and Developmental Disability services across four counties in Oregon. These four counties are very rural and we have to be creative when it comes to wellness. CCS has recently implemented an agency wide wellness program and I am fortunate enough to be a part of the committee that develops the challenges that are offered to our staff.”

 

Third, they’d like to grow the program and organize community challenges in the future. They’re already thinking about how to pay it forward. Inclusivity is one of our core values and we’re excited to honor it and support CCS’s goal.

“We would like to incorporate this initially among our staff but eventually tie this into something much bigger where we are able to develop and organize community challenges. Integrating physical health into services we already provide present the opportunity to reduce the stigma that surrounds addictions, mental health and developmental disabilities. CCS is very diverse and progressive when it comes to the services we provide and I feel like the Walker Tracker program would be a natural fit into what we provide within our communities. Please consider CCS as your nonprofit agency for the 2018 Walker Tracker Gift of Walking Program.”

 

CCS is the recipient of a free Activity Challenge on any one of Walker Trackers virtual map routes! Congratulations! We are proud to walk with you.

Destination Vacation ChallengeThat’s not all, folks! We’re offering a free seat in a challenge to all nominees! All eligible nominated organizations for the 2018 Gift of Walking Challenge have been invited to join the Destination Vacation Challenge in April.

 

Thank you all for your submissions, for everything you do, and for inspiring us!

Alternative New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is approaching which creates an excellent chance to instill new habits. Check out some alternative resolutions below that are beyond the usual eat better, lose weight goals of years past.

 

A Year of Praise 

Do you recall the last time you were told good job or thanked for your kindness? Didn’t it just make your day? With this resolution, your goal is to make it a point to genuinely thank people for going above and beyond or for their kindness. You could turn someone’s day around completely with a simple “Thank you so much for making sure I got…” or, “You’re so kind to go out of the way to…”. Leave a positive review for a place, don’t bother with the bad ones. Ask to talk to someone’s boss or manager when they’ve given you excellent customer service. Don’t stop when it comes to strangers. Make it a point at home to tell your significant other thank you for cooking dinner or thank you for folding the laundry. Praise your children, co-workers, and friends. Brag about them and their accomplishments. Too often we expect good behavior and service but that isn’t always the case and instead of admiring those that do give it, we tend to point out those that do not. Make it a year of praise and see how lifting others up will end up lifting you as well!

 

A Year of Snail Mail

Are you like so many others and avoid the mailbox because it just has bills, statements, and junk? It’s a treat to get a card from someone! Start off your year with going through the calendar and marking everyone you hold near and dear to you and the date of their birthday. Next, mark anniversaries, weddings, graduations, holidays etc. Now, go to the store and walk straight to the card section. Grab some thank you cards, some birthday cards (bonus points if you find a different card for each person), and cards to fit the other occasions that will be celebrated this year. When you’re checking out, ask for a book of stamps. Now, put those cards someplace out in the open with a pen and the stamps right next to them. Make it a point to send out cards throughout the year. True, you will need to go back to the card section throughout the year because not all holiday cards are available year round but, as you get accustomed to sending out cards it may become a habit to swing by the card aisle. You will inevitably put a smile on someone’s face when they open the mailbox and see a handwritten card addressed to them. Who knows, you may get a few cards back in return!

 

A Moving Year

Whether your challenge is to walk more, exercise more, drink more water, eat better etc. there is a challenge to get involved in that can help keep you inspired and held accountable. If you’re not already registered with Walker Tracker, sign up for a free account at community.walkertracker.com where you can track your steps and walk along virtual routes to keep you motivated. Find some friends to cheer on and invite friends and family to join as well. If you upgrade to PRO you can even create your own challenges that you can invite your friends and family to participate in!

To keep that step count up, check out another great site, the 52 hike challenge. This global challenge asks you to go on one hike each week of the year. Share your pictures on Instagram and tag them with the hashtag #52hikechallenge and see where others who are doing the challenge are.

Have kids that you need to get outside? Check out Hike it Baby. Choose from your location and find a group of parents that get together with their kids and go for walks and hikes. Their motto is “No one is left behind” and you can choose from paved trails to wooded wilderness hikes. It’ll be fun for your kids and you to get out into nature and meet new people.

 

Picture a day

If you’re the sort of person that says, “Where did the year go?” then this challenge is for you! Try to take a picture every single day of the year. Sure, you will inevitably miss some. Make sure to post the picture somewhere (your Walker Tracker account perhaps?) with the date, why you took that picture, and who is in it, if anyone. At the end of the year, and for years to come, you will be able to look back and see just where that year went and all the wonderful, crazy, lazy, interesting things you did during 2018.

 

No matter what you choose to focus on in 2018 remember that every day is a new day and keep on trying. Post your goal somewhere where you will see it often to help remind yourself of your intentions for the day.

May you stay inspired and flourish!

Walk With Purpose

There always seems to be a walk for something. Walk for Breast Cancer, Walk for Alzheimers, Walk for MS and so on. I do not think I know one person who hasn’t been affected by a disease somewhere in their lives. Personally, Alzheimers hit close to home for me with my grandma. These walks are usually short (5k or 3.1 miles) and help you to do a small part to support research and those suffering. Why not challenge yourself to find a walk to participate in for the end of the summer or fall? It’s true that often times these walks ask for a donation, but it is for a great cause and sometimes that money is just the extra bit of motivation needed to follow through. Get a few friends together, maybe find a cause that you and your co-workers would like to walk for. It’s great for families to do together also! Below I have listed some websites that you can click on and see if they have walks in your area.

Walk to End Alzheimers

Race for a Cure (Breast Cancer Awareness)

ZERO cancer (Prostate Cancer)

Relay for Life (American Cancer Society)

JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes 

NAMIwalk (Mental Illness)

Light The Night (Leukemia & Lymphoma)

Those of course are just a few suggestions. I am sure that if you search for “insert cause+walk” in a search engine, you’ll more than likely find a walk or run to participate in. Now get out there, get inspired, get fit and make a difference!

US Embassy Walking Challenge

Sometimes a client truly delights us with their programs. Today, during our all program’s meeting, we were all tickled by the competition currently running between the US Embassy in Katmandu and the US Embassy in Warsaw. The two embassies are competing against each other in a walk from Poland to Tibet. As an embassy brat myself—my stepfather served in Mexico, in Colombia, and in Croatia—I love the idea of embassy friends and colleagues competing and collaborating in a walking challenge. Go Warsaw! Go Katmandu! You think we can get other Embassies to pile on, and do a world-wide challenge?

 

Introducing Pacer Rabbit

As I mentioned on Facebook yesterday, we hired a Pacer Rabbit. He’s a mix between Peter Rabbit and the White Rabbit. He’s a spry, high-stepping fellow that will help set the pace of your walking competitions.

Photo by flickr user Helena Liu

He shows up on the first day of your competition and walks along with you — checking his watch frequently — until the last official day (at which point, one must assume, he goes down the rabbit hole). Try to keep up!

Please join me in welcoming Pacer Rabbit to the Walker Tracker team!

Here he is in one of our current competitions. You don’t need to do anything – he shows up for all map competitions, ready to get hopping.