Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Setting Goals for Yourself (and Writing Them Down)

Back to training today for my hoped-for climb next summer to the summit of the Allalinhorn in Switzerland. The climb will take three days. From the village of Saas Fee (accessible by train) we will take a cable car to the Felskinn Station. Then the plan is to hike to and overnight at the Britannia Hut at 3,030 meters. You can just make out the hut in the top right of this photo. 

The rocks and boulders in the Alps never cease to amaze me. It's like if you to move a single piece out of its place, the whole mountain will come falling down on you! From the hut you can see the Allalinhorn and its magnificent glacier. 

We will get up early and set out for the summit. 

Even though this is considered an "easy" 4,000-meter peak, I know I will be exhausted if I do make it to the summit. 

Hence the plan is to descend, not to Saas Fee, but back to the Britannia Hut and spend the night there relaxing (and, hopefully, celebrating) before coming all the way back down the mountain. Part of training obviously involves cardio, so I was up early this morning to get in a run at the High Bridge Trail. 

When I left the house the temperature was 16 degrees. The trailhead wasn't much warmer. My run may have looked like this. 

But it felt more like this: 

Because mountaineering in the Alps requires so much upper body strength, I also got in a short lat workout at the Y before returning to the farm. 

Why, if everyone already knows all this, am I telling you? Research has shown that the act of writing down your goals makes it infinitely more likely that you will pursue them and even achieve them. Goals are meant to make you a better, more focused person. Goals can focus on anything: climbing a mountain, running a race, getting your weight under control, reading your Bible every day, becoming a better parent or spouse, etc. Goals must be reviewed every day. It also helps to break down your goals into small steps (daily, weekly, monthly). Thus every day is an opportunity to take action toward making your goal a reality.

Unless and until the Lord shows me otherwise, I will keep chasing down my goal of summiting one last 4,000-meter peak in the Alps. I know it won't be easy. But that's the point. If running a marathon or climbing a mountain were easy, everybody would be doing it, and you would not be doing anything out of the ordinary. In my estimation, it has to be hard for it to be the accomplishment it is. To be the best version of you, you've got to push the envelope. It's just that simple. I believe there is a way to push yourself hard enough to test your limits without sacrificing your health, safety, or relationships. In all honesty, I sometimes push too hard. On the other hand, there is nothing quite like achieving a goal you've worked your tail off to accomplish, right?  

Are you pushing yourself too hard? Too little? Or just right? There's only one healthy answer (Goldilocks allusion :-)