I'm a fan of Gretchen Rubin and her Happiness Project website. One of her Secrets of Adulthood, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good," rings so true for me. Just last week I realized that I had stopped taking my daily vitamin and as a result I'm dealing with a cold. Don't get me wrong, I have no proof that lack of vitamins can make it easier for someone to get sick, but that's my theory in this instance.
I forgot to take my multi-vitamin for a couple of days and then that continued for about a month. In my mind, since I wasn't taking it every day (the perfect) why bother taking it at all. But taking my vitamin on the days I remember (the good) is better than not at all. Right?
Anyway, I started thinking this is the case with hiking and walking (and exercise, in general) for most people. Because they can't commit to a daily schedule, they don't do it at all. When in reality, doing it when you can is better than not at all. And even if the weather isn't all that great or you can't think of a good destination to walk towards, just the motion of your footsteps and focusing on your breaths can be healthy in so many ways.
Just head out your door and flip a coin ~ left or right ~ and keep walking. You don't have to pay attention to your surroundings if you don't want to (although if you really look, there is beauty all around you), just let your mind wander and de-clutter from the chaos of your day. Focus on the rhythm of your footsteps, take deep breaths... and after awhile you become relaxed and better able to see the world around you. Have you ever noticed that some of the chimneys on the houses in your neighborhood are really quite interesting? Pay attention to how light at different times of the day highlights architectural details of buildings that you've never really looked at.
The beauty of walking (and hiking) is that it forces you to slow down and increases your awareness of your surroundings. Houses and buildings that you typically zoom past in your vehicle all of a sudden have stained glass windows and hummingbirds in the flowers. Get out there and enjoy it; life is too short to miss this.