A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend and I decided to climb Mt. Mitchell. It sounded like a great idea but we both had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. We started out in great spirits, high energy, prepared and ready to tackle 5.7 miles up 3600 feet elevation climb to the summit and back. Stopped to take pictures. Greeted a group of hikers. The sun was shining. What a beautiful day for a hike!
An hour into it I was wondering who’s idea this was. Mine.
Two hours into it, I didn’t know anymore why anyone would want to do this. I’m active, I run, I hike, I’m in good health. Why not? But this was HARD. By the third hour of unrelenting uphill climb in the middle of thick, lonely, never ending woods, up there, in the “no going back” land that gave the word “commitment” a whole new meaning, I had my answer.
I was doing it to challenge myself. And learn something about achieving a goal. Here’s what I learned:
Goal Achievement Rule #1. Commitment is everything.
Once you fully commit to doing something, your EGO will not let you quit. Hey, the EGO is good for something! Also, announcing your intentions and plans to the world and significant others will help you not give up. Everything you want to accomplish is like climbing a mountain – you have to commit to it.
Goal Achievement Rule #2. Be prepared.
Physically, mentally, emotionally. I don’t think I would have made it 6 hours and 9 minutes, 11.4 miles up and down a mountain if I didn’t have the following: an awesome companion, love for nature, information about the trail, hiking pole for support, layers of warm, breathable, non-cotton clothing, humor, a spirit of adventure, a hat, gloves, hiking socks, water, snacks…Details matter. Don’t underestimate preparation, it can make the difference between succeeding and failing.
Goal Achievement Rule #3. No giving up.
Tell yourself there is no going back. Someone once said that it is right after the moment you want to give up that the miracle happens. Remind yourself why you set your goal, what is your motivation, what drives you. Inspire yourself every moment of the journey and don’t let negativity creep in. On the trail, I was hot, I was freezing, I was sweaty, tired, irritated with slippery leaves, wobbly rocks and pesky roots, scared by sudden snow falling and loud wind blowing. I didn’t let that get me down. I kept on going.
Goal Achievement Rule #4. Visualize.
Imagine what it will be like when you reach your goal. When you get to the summit (so to speak). What will it feel like? My experience was somewhere between wanting to throw up and crying. But I also felt exhilarated, accomplished, proud, humbled, changed. Visualize what it will look like once you achieve your goal, how it will change you and what it will mean for future endeavors.
Goal Achievement Rule #5. Work hard.
Accomplishing anything is hard work. Prepare yourself for it. Be patient. Know that hard work will pay off in the end. It will be unpleasant and uncomfortable at times. Stop with the laziness, excuses, procrastination. Just do it. Sacrifice short-term pleasures for long-term achievements. Imagine what it will feel like when you reach your goal, what it will mean for your self-confidence and hope for the future.
That’s me enjoying the rain on our climb down. It was exhilarating!