I recently had the opportunity to vacation in Scottsdale with my boyfriend. We are both active people. One of things we were really looking forward to was getting outside, changing up our usual workouts, and enjoying all that Arizona had to offer. Saturday and Sunday during our trip we picked challenging hikes to do and set out with high hopes!
Both trails were marked as advanced, difficult, and strenuous. We were ready for the challenge. Both days at the beginning the trail seemed almost too easy! We were making great time, passing other hikers and feeling really good about our hiking abilities. But the farther we hiked the more challenging the terrain and trail became! Rocks, narrow ledges, steep ascents took the place of a sandy trail. There were a few times I was a little nervous about the next section. It was challenging and there was no wall or rail to provide a little assistance or security. A few times I stopped and looked up only to realize just how much farther we had to go! It had seemed we were getting close to the top but looking ahead, I realized we had quite a ways to go. This was discouraging.
But there were also times I stopped to look at a beautiful view and was amazed at how far we had come! Seeing our accomplishment, I was surprised at the distance we had covered. And when we finally made it to the top – it was so rewarding. Our efforts no longer felt that difficult and I was filled with a sense of satisfaction. We could have easily thrown in the towel, cut the hike shorter but we didn’t.
This experience got me to thinking. Our hikes were much like any challenge we take on in life. Whether it’s adopting healthy eating habits, committing to an exercise program, or setting out to lose weight – often times our challenge begins quite simply. At first, we are motivated and the change doesn’t seem that hard. Over time life jumps in, throws us some curves and can make our challenge seem more difficult. When we stop to think about how far we still have to go – it can be discouraging! If our goal is to lose 40lbs. and we’ve lost 10 to date – the next 30 can seem like a lot of work! Only looking at the distance still to cover can make us want to throw in the towel and give up. But if we focus on where we have come from – we’ve lost 10 pounds – that’s encouraging and something to celebrate! Just like on my hike – we often wish for a safety rail or some support and assistance along the way. We may have to go it alone or we may be fortunate to have a trainer or friends to help us along the way.
Just like the hike- there’s nothing better than reaching our goal. All our hard work becomes worthwhile. We are glad we stuck it out.
Next time you set out to take on a big challenge, remember you may hit a difficult section. You may struggle and question whether you can make it. Remember to focus on how far you have come and not dwell on how far you have to go. Celebrate and soak up the scenery along the way. And keep in mind how good it will feel to succeed! Happy climbing 🙂