Ever wonder why goals seem so impossible to reach at times?
In 2011 I travelled to Peru to hike the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu. It had been a personal goal of mine for some time to visit the ruins, hike the trail and to fully experience the country and its people.
To hike the Inca Trail you have to be in good physical shape. Our trek was 42km over 4 days, which seems easy enough. However, climbing over 3 mountain passes at high altitudes reaching over 4200 meters above sea level at 60 degree inclines is no small feat, especially for an overweight middle aged woman. But, I was determined to do the trail and to overcome any mountains in my way.
Here’s what I learned about reaching goals while hiking the Inca Trail:
1. Have a clear vision. My goal was to hike the Inca Trail and reach Machu Picchu while fully enjoying the process of getting there. Often we are not clear with our goals. This causes us to meander without a clear sense of purpose. The more clarity we have on the goal the easier it is to stay focused on what’s most important.
2. Maintain focus on the goal. As I hiked those 4 days I kept telling myself that the view from the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu would be worth it. I kept telling myself that completing the trail would be a great sense of accomplishment and pride. These constant reminders really kept me grounded and on task.
3. Keep moving forward. Day two of the hike was the hardest part of the trek; 12km on a steep angle up towards appropriately named “Dead Woman’s Pass”, the highest point on the trail. One minute of hiking, two minutes of resting all the way up the slopes until I finally reached the peak. Admittedly, I was slower than most hikers but, the important thing was to keep moving forward in the direction of my goal. Eventually I would get there on my own time. What’s important is that you continue to take steps forward no matter how big or small.
4. See obstacles as opportunities. There could have been many obstacles real and imagined along the trail if that was what I had chosen to focus on. There were steep slopes; difficult rocks to climb, breathing issues and blisters on my feet. I chose however to focus on the opportunities. My very slow but steady pace meant that I met lots of wonderful and interesting people from around the globe also hiking who stopped to chat with me and encouraged me to keep going.
5. Enjoy the views along the journey. My son raced forward and took a nap along the trail at one point. I on the other hand, got to see many varieties of birds, interesting plants and flowers and magnificent vistas as I slowly progressed forward.
6. Celebrate milestones often. When I finally reached “Dead Woman’s Pass”, the rest of my hiking group was already there to greet me and cheer. Each member of our hiking group remained at the top cheering as the rest of the members also reached the peak. It was only the halfway mark of day 2 but a great milestone to celebrate. Once all of us had reached the top, we took photos to enjoy the moment and capture it forever.
7. Stop to revel in achieving your goal. When I finally got to Sun Gate and saw Machu Picchu in its full glory I instantly felt emotion bubbling up inside me. The trek gave me a peek into the history and culture of the people and the country, experiencing the same trek as the great Incas. It also gave me a great sense of accomplishment for being there in that moment to enjoy what I was seeing and experiencing and a feeling of “I did it”. Many of us get to our goal and don’t stop to revel in accomplishing it, but rather go onto the next goal or the next challenge. It’s important to take a moment, be in the joy of achieving the goal and celebrate it fully.
Have a goal and need help accomplishing it? Contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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