It takes courage and motivation and a certain madness to set up to achieve a goal that is challenging enough to take you out of your comfort zone. But once you have your motivation in place, there’s hardly anything in this world that can stop you from achieving it, if it’s humanly possible to achieve. Let’s go through this process a bit – the process I’ve figured out through the journey to achieving a personal, very challenging goal for myself.
Step 1: figure out the big goal
Can be a professional goal or a personal one, an ambition to achieve something or become a pro in a profession or a hobby. No matter what, what’s crucial is to really want it and understand you’ll have to put a lot of work into it. And that you’ll probably get uncomfortable, need to figure out things, learn something new and in the process, discover what you’re made of and what you love and hate. Sounds kind of risky, right? You might not like what you’ll discover, it can terribly shake your self-confidence, but you might as well become a so much better version of yourself, and gain a level of confidence and strength you never though lies within yourself.
My big goal
I’m nervous and excited while writing this blog post as it’s the last one before I embark into a journey that will probably challenge me as nothing did so far in my life: both physically, but also mentally and emotionally. My next big goal set to be achieved in the next 3 weeks is the trek to the (South) Everest Basecamp (5,364 m) and ascension to the Kala Patthar Peak at 5,644 m. Altitude sickness, dust, temperature difference between day and night – just some of the things I’m nervous about.
Step 2: explore the why that comes with the what
While thinking about the goal, make sure you’re set on the why, or at least have an idea of it. Why are you doing this? Is the why strong enough to keep you going when it will get though? Because it will get though, if the goal is big enough. The way can be anything from trying to achieve something no-one has done before, or you haven’t done before. Or it can be something around becoming better at something as you just love that and want to do more and more of it, without having to worry about money anymore. Or the why can be extremely personal, a journey to your soul, to self-discovery, to detach, to put things in order.
Taking on a journey to such a different world is for me a personal challenge to test my limits. In terms of endurance, comfort, mental strength, balance and discovery. They say such a journey is 20% a physical challenge, and 80% mental. But besides seeing a place I have never seen that is stunningly beautiful and encompasses my love for the mountains, I am in awe to discover the culture and their believes. I heard Nepalese people are friendly and simple and I want to discover them, I read a lot about Buddhism and been practicing yoga and meditation at certain points in my life. Now I want to be there in such temples and experience it fully. There are many why’s and maybe the biggest one is about figuring out my present self. Away from the world I am so comfortable in right now and in which I believe I am in general happy.
Step 3: the plan to achieve the big goal
I’m not a believer in lengthy, detailed plans. What worked for me so far was having some milestones and figuring out the details on the way to achieving those milestones and the big goal. I think that with every given day and any given human interaction you might learn something new or find out something you weren’t aware of. Therefore, allowing yourself to have a flexible plan gives you the chance to utilize these new learnings and incorporate them into the plan. But as flexible as you might be on the details, as strict you should be on the milestones. Or the crucial things that must happen in order for you to get to the goal, in the time frame you wanted it achieved.
I had 3 key milestones: climb all 14 peaks above 2,500 m in my country (Romania) for hiking training and learning what equipment and food I need, get in shape through cardio and strength training and be healthy from a nutrients point of view. Time and weather were a constraint for climbing all 14 peaks – I “only” climbed 10. My knee is a bit injured so despite the hard training started I had to do a lot of recovery and mobility training too. Learning to breathe correctly and stretch were amazing things to learn too. And now, a few days before the beginning of this adventure, I feel in shape and confident I can make it. The only thing I’m a bit afraid of is how my body will react at the lack of oxygen above 3000 m, the temperature difference (plus degrees during the day and -20 during the night) and being 10 days on the road, walking 5-7 hours/day (ascent or descent). Despite these fears, I am confident my why(s) will keep me going. If all this fails, I know for sure a friend in there won’t let me give up 🙂
Step 4: the doing
And this is the hardest, but in the same time the most beautiful part of the journey. Start doing. Struggle with the downs, celebrate the ups, learn, fall, rise up again and always make one step ahead towards your goal and the why. At the end, you’ll be another person and you’ll most probably figure out the real why your intuition was telling you to follow that goal…
I’ll share it here, while it happens, during the next weeks.