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The Power Of Long Walks (15,000 Steps A Day Changed My Life)

I used to hate walking.

I don’t mean that I used to hate just going on a nice stroll.

I hated walking anywhere. I was the definition of lazy… maybe efficient is a better word. I loved going to the gym and working on my little side businesses, but outside of that, you would find me on my couch, in bed, or in my office chair playing video games. I’ve always been the type to do the bare minimum, which has mostly benefited me in one way or another.

I would make any excuse to walk or drive somewhere.

To set the scene, I started using nicotine when the Juul became popular (yes, I was one of those kids that didn’t know any better and conformed). Eventually, that nicotine usage transitioned into using Zyns instead for focused work. Zyns are tobaccoless nicotine pouches, very popular right now.

On a random day in 2019, I realized that my nicotine abuse was hurting the attention I could give to others. I always felt tired. I didn’t say much in conversation. And if I hadn’t had a hit in a while, that’s all that I would be able to think about.

(For those wondering, I still use nicotine because of its various benefits, and often take breaks from it for a week or two at a time).

Around that time, and I’m not sure how, I came across a social media post about the benefits of walking. It had something to do with “getting lean for the summer” and walking instead of doing endless cardio.

The stars aligned, and I decided to quit nicotine cold turkey. Whenever I had a craving, I decided to go on a quick 10-minute walk and chew gym instead.

The first few walks were boring, but they worked. Quitting nicotine was pretty easy, and I could always justify the little suffering with the fact that I was burning calories. Walking became a way for me to feel like I was shredding fat. That made me want to walk more.

Over the course of a month, I walked the glorified 10,000 steps a day.

The result was an absolute love for walking.

For 5 years, there has never been a day where I’ve walked under 10,000 steps in a day. When I lived in Austin, I averaged between 20,000 and 25,000 steps. Now I average around 15,000.

Some would even say that my name has become synonymous with “walking” considering how much I talk about it’s importance. I mean hell, even a podcast with Danny Miranda was called “Dan Koe – The King Of Walking.

Similar to how Charles Darwin and Steve Jobs treated walks as crucial aspects of their lives and work, I discovered the same.

Some ask, “How do you get work done if you’re walking for multiple hours in a day?”

I say read chapter 7 of Anti-Fragile by NN Taleb or read my 4-Hour Workday philosophy.

In a nutshell, I try not to do anything unless I need to because that’s nature’s built in mechanism for filtering signal from noise. Too many people grind all day long with nothing to show for it because they drown in tasks that don’t get them anywhere.

And, you probably wouldn’t be reading this letter if it weren’t for walking.

My ideas wouldn’t be the same. My content wouldn’t be the same. My body wouldn’t be the same. My identity wouldn’t be the same.

I want to share with you:

1) The raw power of walking so you have multiple “whys” to keep you going with this habit.

2) How to turn walking into a game so you can seamlessly form the habit yourself.

My hope with this letter is to transform your life with one simple habit.

Let’s begin.

Mind, Body, Spirit, Business – The Holistic Habit

I hope that I can get this point across:

You only have so much time in a day.

Meaning, there are only so many habits you can adopt.

Also meaning, the habits you choose to implement are of utmost importance because they create your future and influence your quality of life.

Most people aren’t in control of the habits they choose, so their life is on a trajectory that they didn’t set, and it becomes increasingly hard to change who you are.

Habits aren’t only physical but mental.

You distract yourself by scrolling on your phone.

Your attention span shrinks because your mind is in the habit of receiving novel information every 30 seconds.

So, you can’t focus on meaningful conversations. You can’t focus on building a business. You can’t focus on putting on your shoes and going to the gym.

Your mind reacts to almost everything with memes and random bits that others programmed into your mind. You can’t take anything seriously. You think anything worthwhile is a joke. Meanwhile, you feel depressed and hopeless, but there isn’t a solution because your mind is stuck bouncing around on the surface to see one.

The solution to most of your problems is this:

You must reclaim your focus so you can implement new habits.

You must implement new habits because you can only choose a few.

The habits you choose must be high leverage, high impact, and highly enjoyable.

The habits you choose refocus your attention on the depth of life.

Where you focus your attention programs your mind, creates who you are, and determines your future.

Walking as a habit covers all bases: mind, body, spirit, and business.

Let me show you how.

Walking As Meditation

I used to be skeptical of meditation.

I thought it was something reserved for hippies and new agers who thought they were channeling some form of energy to become more powerful like they were in Avatar the Last Airbender.

Turns out, as with most things I dislike, I just didn’t understand what meditation was.

Meditation is the act of freeing your mind.

Meditation is decreasing your attachment to thoughts.

Meditation is the practice of being at one with reality, not expectations for the future or happenings of the past.

In other words, with a consistent meditation practice, life gets better because you are living it.

Most people don’t realize how surface-level their lives are. They bounce around in their heads, creating problems that don’t exist and spiral out of control into a state of deep anxiety and overwhelm.

Their lives are ruled by stressful past situations that influence how they perceive the future. The boss that yelled at you yesterday makes you dread going to work today. The writing that sucked yesterday makes you worried that it won’t get done tomorrow and you continue projecting into a future where you don’t get it done, your side business fails, and you start creating a plan B without realizing you are creating that reality with your thoughts because your actions will follow.

You trap yourself in a narrow-minded state of suffering, and your only path out is by reprogramming your mind with meditation.

The problem is that I always failed to form a seated meditation habit. I always forgot or found that my other work (like writing) suffered when I didn’t do that first thing in the morning.

We will talk about how to walk for meditation later.

Walking For Health

This one isn’t difficult to understand.

Walking = increased calorie expenditure.

I don’t know how true this is, but I’ve read that whether you walk or run the same distance, you burn the same amount of calories. So, if one person walks a mile, and the other person runs a mile, they burn the same amount. I’m sure there are marginal difference between the two. The main difference is speed at which you can go that distance.

I love walking because on a run I can’t truly listen, read, capture ideas, or write.

So, if you struggle to lose weight, walking is a sustainable habit to form.

Being outside = sunlight and lack of blue light.

Blue light doesn’t just hurt your sleep, it destroys your health and contributes to chronic disease.

Most people have heard of Andrew Huberman’s advice to get sunlight first thing in the morning, but even he admits that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I won’t go too deep into this here, because there’s books of information I’d have to include, but I’ll give you people to dive into:

Analyze & Optimize

Jack Kruse


Sunlight is more important to your health than you know, and you’re probably afraid of it because you think you’ll get skin cancer (when sunlight actually helps reverse skin cancer – starting information and another one out of various, dive deeper as your curiosity allows).

Most people are so heavily indoctrinated with centralized dogma to protect yourself from the sun when that is a major cause of much disease today.

For reference of what’s possible, I’m the palest guy you’ll ever meet. I was always afraid of the sun and would have to reapply sunscreen 4-5 times a day when I worked as a lifeguard for my summer job in high school.

With the right diet and protocol, I do not burn in the sun.

I walk about 15,000-20,000 steps a day, much of that in the Arizona UV9-UV10 heat and do not burn.

For those curious to dive further into this, start searching information like “how to build your solar callus” and research concepts you aren’t educated on from there.

With all of this, please understand that my mind is not theirs. I’m sharing information that I find helpful, not their ideology as one to adopt. I don’t agree with many things they say, but that doesn’t mean I can’t gain from some of it.

Walking For Creativity

If I could attribute my writing and creator success to one thing, it would be walking.

To me, walking is my creativity block. It’s where I:

  • Listen to audiobooks and long YouTube lectures ( is my favorite)
  • Read physical books (yes, I bring a book on my walk with me in the morning and read it while walking).
  • Write down ideas that I want to write about (using my genius ideas process in this free course)
  • Walk in silence to allow my mind to solve a problem, relieve stress, or bring clarity to my goals or vision.

Don’t take the concept of “creativity blocks” lightly.

You have productivity blocks for your focused work, but in order for those to have any kind of unique or original contribution, they need to be balanced out with creativity blocks.

In other words, your work doesn’t stand much of a chance at greatness if you do not dedicate time to cultivating and developing ideas by contemplating and solving problems.

Because face it…

You probably struggle to form a reading or meditation habit because you are stuck inside where distractions run wild. And if your intention is to read or ideate, but you opt for focused work instead, even that’s a distraction, and you lack discipline.

When you get outside and go on a walk, the only option you have is to do what you said you were going to do.

Forming An Enjoyable Walking Habit By Turning It Into A Game

Why do we get so addicted to video games?

  1. There is a clear hierarchy of goals (how to win + quests)
  2. There is clear feedback for progress (leveling up + milestones)
  3. There are rules that narrow your attention and remove distractions
  4. There are tutorials to get you up to speed with the game
  5. There are challenges according to your skill level so you don’t get anxious or overwhelmed

In a nutshell, video games are addictive because they push us into the flow state.

The flow state is characterized by absolute clarity. Zero distractions. Pure progress that is like no other feeling in the world… and you can tap into it with most habits, especially walking.

You know what you need to do, how to do it, when to do it, and it isn’t easy or well known, so it is meaningful.

The extra dopamine from novelty doesn’t hurt either.

So, to form this new walking habit, I think it’s wise that we turn it into a game. That’s what I did without realizing it. 4 years later, I don’t have to worry about being overweight, unhealthy, or have difficulty coming up with creative ideas that allow me to build businesses faster than most people.

Step 1) Clarify Why You Are Walking

Vision and anti-vision.

I always talk about these because they f*cking matter.

If you aren’t aligning every single action you take with your ideal lifestyle, you are lost, mindless, and programmed. You aren’t making your own decisions and your mind is prone to conform to the will of others’ without even noticing it.

Think deeply about how walking is a holistic habit that can revolutionize your life.

  • Do you want the benefits that comes from quitting a bad habit? Walking can be a replacement for that habit.
  • Do you want to be more creative in your work? Do you always struggle to write or come up with the ideas that will change your future? Can you see how a simple walk can change the direction of your life?
  • Do you want to drop 10 pounds of fat, get a tan, and reap the benefits of consistent sunlight exposure? If your mental health is in shambles, isn’t it worth a shot?

List out everything you don’t like in your life write now.

From that, list out everything you want in your life 1 year from now.

Then, contemplate how walking 10,000+ steps every day can help with that.

Step 2) Set A Daily Goal & Break It Up

All behavior starts with a conscious or unconscious goal.

Every single action you take can be mapped to a goal you are pursuing. The question is: did you set that goal? Or were you quietly programmed by the media, your parents, your teachers, and your friends?

A simple habit is no different.

Set a daily goal and start small.

I feel as though 10,000 steps is attainable for most people if they are realistic with how they can reorganize and prioritize their life. You can wake up earlier, go to bed earlier, and tell your spouse that this is important to you – the benefits of this “walking” thing can spill over into your entire life.

If 10,000 steps in a day makes you anxious, aim lower like you would in a video game. If 10,000 steps is level 100, opt for 2,000 steps as a level 1 and increase from there.

Now, break that down into sub-goals for your individual walks.

  • Are you going to knock it all out on one walk?
  • Are you going to space them out?
  • What route are you going to take on the walk?
  • Are you going to walk to a specific landmark or location?
  • Are you going to walk to the local cafe for focused work?

Bring clarity to your new habit by sticking to these goals until they become automatic after a month or so.

Step 3) Create Rules For The Walk

Now, to narrow your attention further and increase the enjoyment of the walk, we need to create rules.

If we don’t, your mind will opt for complaining.

“I don’t like walking.”

“It’s too hot/cold outside boohoo I need my comfortable air conditioned box.”

“I don’t live in a walkable city.”

All excuses. You can walk even if you don’t feel like walking. You go in a sauna and don’t care that it’s hot. Your expectations and limiting beliefs are ruining your potential.

Here are some rules you can play with:

  • Never step on a crack in the road as you walk.
  • Come back with 3 ideas to write about from a book or audiobook.
  • Get 15 minutes of sun on each side of your body.
  • Alternate 5-10 minutes of walking meditation and 5-10 minutes of learning.
  • Finish one chapter of a book or module of a course.
  • Write one section of your newsletter, or write a few content pieces (like I teach in 2 Hour Writer)

Try one out.

Step 4) Go On The Walk (And Have A Trigger)

The walk is the easiest part.

Getting yourself to go on the walk is the hardest part.

If you have a trigger, like when I had nicotine cravings and wanted to quit, use that as a moment to immediately go outside and start your walk.

If you don’t have any motivator or trigger, you need to guide your mind toward the lowest friction action you can take right now.

Can you walk into the closet and get your shoes?

If that’s too difficult, ask yourself why you can’t even control your body to the point of walking a few feet.

At the same time, break it down further.

Can you walk to your room?


Can you at LEAST stand up?


Okay, move your foot.

Still no?

I have no words.

At this point, nobody can save you.

(If you literally can’t walk because you don’t have legs or they don’t work, ignore me, because I’m sure you would tell these people that they are ungrateful for their ability to even walk).

That’s it.

Start walking.

Have a nice weekend.

– Dan

Who Is Dan Koe?

I am a writer & brand advisor for 7-8 figure creators, influencers, and social media brands. I am obsessed with dissecting human potential, lifestyle design, and one-person businesses.

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