This morning I headed down a canyon trail that was listed online as 9 miles in and out. I wasn’t feeling entirely confident in my energy today and wanted to respect my boundaries so I planned on going as far as felt satisfying and then turning back. Leaving the rest for another day. Incomplete but enjoyable. Leftover with a remaining goal. Curiosity left to explore.
Those types of hikes usually feel just as good in the moment. Zero pressure, complete freedom in nature. Incomparable, however, to the feeling of reaching a peak or having the confidence that I saw it all, did it all. But today, about 2 miles in, almost ready to turn back to my car, I ran into a couple girls. I asked them if they came from the opposite direction and they said it’s only about a mile further. This new knowledge was all I needed to complete the entirety of the trail.
Far out goals can seem hard to reach. Excuses seem excusable and the checkpoint is vulnerable to neglect. Leaving too much time unknown and unorganized can be intimidating. Overthinking, doubt and worry kick in. This is why I always try to come up with mini-goals along the way. Realistic but challenging goals give me the opportunity to succeed in a way that inspires continuation. Achievements that carry momentum, reaching me to that final destination. Sparks of motivation, reminders of the glory that comes with each win, no matter how small. The effort feels more worthy when I can envision results. And sometimes, like today, those long-term goals can surprise you and come sooner than imagined.
The realization I could complete something with just 2 extra miles round trip was all it took for my journey to keep going. Uncovering new territory within reach. Sure, I might be 2 miles more sore or 2 miles more exhausted but I’m infinitely more proud of myself. I even got a blog post out of it! So next time something seems far away, and the thought of turning back comes into play, I will set a marker “2 miles” further. An extra push into the distance. A metaphorical trailhead sign to reach that feels worthy. Not just a walk to walk, but a walk to achieve. I’m already out there, I might as well take a little extra air. Might as well feel the purpose of my steps.