Columbia woman celebrates a year of walking

jself@thestate.comJanuary 1, 2013 

  • Tips for sticking with your resolution From Columbia resident Janet Summers: Write it down. Listing her tasks for the next day and including time for exercise helped Summers meet her daily walking goal, even on the busiest days. Start with smaller goals. Summers says she would have stopped on Jan. 15 if she’d first set out as a goal to walk every day of 2012. By the time she got through the month, then another, walking every day became a habit. Remember your accomplishments. On a day when Summers didn’t feel like walking, she’d remember how far she’d already come as a way to motivate herself to keep going. Find a partner and people to help motivate you. Summers said her dog even walks in the rain.

When Janet Summers fulfilled her 2012 New Year’s resolution to walk every day in January, her next thought was, “‘Well, now I’ve got to walk every day in February.’”

At that point “you’re committed,” said the 41-year-old Columbia woman, who at February’s end decided to walk every day in 2012.

Monday, Summers and her walking partner Buddy, a King Charles Pekingese mix, had company from about three dozen lively family members, neighbors and other dogs as they set out for their last walk of 2012, completing a two-mile loop through the Hamptons neighborhood.

There have been “a lot of cold mornings, bad weather and vacations,” said her husband Boyd Summers, crediting his wife for inspiring the whole family to set fitness goals.

Preparing to walk Monday with her friend, Jules Cate said she remembers a day when “it was so windy I didn’t even think about going outside, and there (Summers) went,” walking past her house.

But no amount of inclement weather deterred Summers and little Buddy.

Sometimes Summers had to get up before sunrise, or slip a walk in before midnight, to achieve her daily goal.

Asked whether she thought her mom might give up, Mary Jane Summers, 9, said, “I was confident in her.”

Summers set out to walk every day to have personal time for herself. Working in marketing at Palmetto Health and taking care of a family, “to carve out ‘me time’ every day was kind of a big deal,” she said.

It’s been a therapeutic ritual.

Now she has time to clear her head, prepare for work and find energy at the end of a long day. As a bonus, she feels healthier and her cholesterol is down.

“It makes you feel so much better,” she said. “I can be a better mom and I can be a better wife.”

Friend Peggy Angel said Summers’ accomplishment is inspiring.

“I know I would have taken a day off,” Angel said. “She was determined.”

Summers said she’ll continue walking through 2013 as part of her next New Year’s resolution. But this year, she’s adding three days of running and weight training.

By now, she has an “exercise habit,” she said.

“It will be hard to stop.”

Reach Self at (803)771-8658.

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