Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monday Morning: Do Something Amazing This Year

Settling isn't always a bad thing, buying a Volvo for example instead of a McClaren F1 is probably a smart decision in the long run. A more realistic trade-off might be settling on watching "13 going on 30" (I may or may not be speaking from experience here) with your loved one instead of "Touching the Void". Settling is often about bridging our wildest hopes and reality and is an absolute necessity. It's when we get into trouble that settle for lowered expectations and settle for our own excuses. Dreams are not easy to make happen, but that's exactly why we shouldn't settle for anything less.

It's hard to plan a trip across the John Muir Trail, or the AT, or climb Mt. Everest, or Denali, or Rainier. It's hard to get time off from our responsibilities, hard to organize the logistics, and hard to get up the motivation to make it happen, and learn the skills nescessary to make sure you don't die trying.

Mt. Rainier Clouds
My New Goal: Climb Mt. Rainier

If it's your dream though, it's worth it and it's the hard work that makes it worth it. It'a hardly ever the destination we remember, it's the journey. By pushing ourselves physically and mentally, we find our ceiling raised just a little bit each time. For most it takes a lifetime to be able to climb Mt. Everest, but it's within the ability of almost anyone depending on how willing they are to dedicate themselves to the task.

You've got to start somewhere

If your goal is climbing Mt. Everest start by climbing something, anything, take a class over a weekend on mountaineering. If your goal is backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail, go out and backpack a local trail. The important thing is to do something towards your goal, taking the first step is always the hardest part and breaking up the big tasks into manageable parts makes the whole thing seem less overwhelming.

Understand it's okay to fail

When I was in college I thought climbing Mt. Whitney would be hardcore. Last year I climbed it and failed but I had a blast doing so and I'm going back this year to try again. When my climbing partner backed out a couple days before we were set to depart it could have derailed the trip. In the end it free'd me of expectations and allowed me to simply have fun taking on a challenge. Suddenly the motivation came to me easily and before I knew it my boots were on the trail.

Don't settle for your own excuses

You have to be honest with yourself to know the difference between settling with something realistic and settling because something is difficult. If your greatest dream is to own a McClaren F1 (Okay, that's a pretty shallow goal) perhaps it's not best to settle and instead concentrate on ways to make the money needed to by a million dollar car. Just because very few people do something does not mean it should not be done.

What are your goals for 2011 and what are you doing to make them happen?

Pssst: You might have noticed this was posted at 12:00am EST, it's something new I'm trying so if you like the new post time (or hate it) feel free to send feedback to


  1. My 2011 goal is to get onto the PCT, one way or another. Not the whole way, not a partial way, but someway, somehow.

  2. My goal is to just find more time for the trail. Oh, and to win the lottery so I can by the McLaren.

  3. @Peter (ADKinLA) - If your goal isn't to do a major art of it I would think it would be fairly easy. A big run of it goes through the San Gabriels by you. Personally I've ended up on 3 parts of it, without even planning to do so in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Mt. Lassen, and Crater Lake.

    @Jake - One of my goals as well. I'm very into achievable goals so I marked on my list: Hike 10 10+ mile trails and visit 10 new parks. It helps me motivate myself and is very satisfying when I'm done however it's not typically limiting. Last year I had a similar goal to hike 15 new trails and ended up hiking more like 25.

  4. That will be an awesome adventure. I know what you mean about the settling. It's so hard to maintain that motivation to still go for your big goal over the long haul, especially if it means overcoming a lot of little obstacles in the meantime. I like to concentrate on the smaller obstacles while also keeping the bigger goal in mind, maybe with a photo, desktop background or related movies. Keep the stoke up!