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The hardest part of reaching any peak begins long before you’re even at the peak. It begins in bed. When my alarm assaults my ears at 5:30 in the morning with a bleep, bleep, the last thing I feel like doing is going hiking – no matter how excited I am about the peak I’m climbing.
To overcome this, I changed my alarm to hear the uplifting tune Today Is Going To Be The Best Day of My Life, by American Authors. Still, I’m not thinking today is going to be the best day of my life.
No. I curl further under my warm duvet. I listen hopefully for the sound of rain – the perfect excuse for staying under my covers. Well, I planned to go hiking, but the weather didn’t cooperate, so I couldn’t… that way, I can stay in my warm bed with my cats Coco and Yolo cuddled up beside me guilt-free.
When I don’t hear the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof, I lazily get up to look out the window – maybe it’s silent rain. That could be a thing, right? At 5:30 in the morning, I’m looking for any excuse in my sleepy state.
No rain, well then, time to check with my partner. He looked a little flush last night. Maybe he’s not feeling good enough to hike, and being the loving, understanding partner that I am, I wouldn’t force him to go if he’s not feeling well.
When I ask him, and he assures me that he feels fine, I grudgingly realize that I’m out of excuses and that I am going hiking.
I remind myself that I choose to do this for fun since our thoughts are so important. Yes, some people choose to linger in bed all morning or plan to meet friends for brunch at the much more reasonable hour of 11 am, but I choose to do this. My mood improves, but only slightly.
Even when I start hiking, I usually question my sanity for the fun activity I’ve chosen for the first 15 -20 minutes or so. My lungs are on fire. I gasp for air, never feeling like I’m getting enough in. I consider turning around. That slightly far-off grey cloud in an otherwise blue sky could turn into a massive thunderstorm.
But then, I start to get into the rhythm of it. Hearing the sound of one foot, then the other crunching on the trail below me. The endorphins start to kick in. I start to feel like maybe this isn’t so bad after all. And as I start to get my first views of the mountain, I’m climbing and start building momentum my motivation increases.
As I climb higher and higher, I realize that I’m enjoying this. That it’s actually fun. And then, when I finally reach the summit, I feel absolutely euphoric. I pose like SuperWoman if the peak is empty. OK, well, even if the peak isn’t empty. I’ve earned it!
But then I do it less dramatically and only shout I am SuperWoman silently in my head. This feeling is why I hike. It’s why I strive to reach new peaks, to find more and more challenging mountains to climb.
Your Secret Superpower
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I know that once I get started, the rest will be easier because I have a superpower. But fortunately, I’m not the only one with the superpower. You have it too.
It’s called momentum.
It’s Newton’s first law of physics; An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion.
The hardest part of hiking for me isn’t the steep inclines. It’s not the sections where I cling perilously to the mountain wall as I gingerly take one step, then the other, while simultaneously hanging on for dear life.
It’s not even hiking for 7 or 8 hours straight.
Nor is it hiking with a heavy backpack containing all the stuff I’ll need for a week if I’m doing a multi-day tour like the Tour du Mont Blanc.
No, it’s getting out of bed at 5:30. And then it’s taking the first few steps up the mountain. Because I have yet to build momentum. I’m literally an object at rest.
But once I’ve got some momentum going, after the first 15 minutes or so of hiking, I keep building it. And the more momentum you build, the higher you go! Until finally, you’re at the peak.
OK, so now you can see how building momentum will help get you up at a mountain, but how does it apply to achieving your other life goals?
The ones that take place off the mountain?
The hardest part of almost everything in life is getting started. You don’t have to look very hard for excuses; your brain will magically invent some for you, trying to protect you from venturing into the unknown.
Well, I’d love to write a murder mystery about killer plants taking over the planet and enslaving humans, but it’s been done SO many times before; there’s really no point in me even trying to write another one.
Or perhaps you’ve always dreamed of starting an online business and working remotely on your own schedule, but then your brain conveniently reminds you Mmmm, that sounds like a bad idea. You don’t know how to create a website, and you might get lonely working all by yourself.
Despite the fact that there are a ton of resources to teach you how to create a website or that you can hire someone. And if you get lonely, you could join a co-working space or go work in a cafe. Or meet friends for lunch.
The solutions are endless, but we focus on everything that could go wrong to avoid getting started in the first place because an object at rest stays at rest.
Whatever your goal is, it’s hard to get started. And the bigger the dream, the harder it is. But starting is the hardest part. So if you can just start, you’ll begin building momentum, and building more and more.
Until eventually, it will become more difficult for you to stop than it would to keep going. You don’t have to know how you’ll do it. That will evolve along the way. As you progress, you’ll find the resources, the tools or the people you need who can help you achieve your goal.
Building momentum is how big life goals and dreams are achieved both on and off the mountain.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What’s one thing I’ve always dreamed of doing but keep putting off?
- What’s one action step I could take today to get started so that I’m no longer an object at rest?
It doesn’t have to be a big step; a tiny one is A-OK. You just want to start building momentum. In the aforementioned starting an online business example, a first step could be googling how to create a website for dummies or reading a book about how to start your own online business.
Just take the first step and see how once you start building momentum, you’ll be climbing new peaks and reaching life goals you previously didn’t think possible.
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