Seeing as I'm a bit of a planner, I like to get ahead of myself. A lot. Sometimes I look ahead a bit too far, planning into the distant future as to what things will be like. But we all know that life throws curve balls our way, and it's possible to predict what will happen.
This is true when it comes to achieving goals, too. I like to think about how much weight I'll have lost in three weeks, six weeks, two months, etc. While it's motivating, it's not entirely helpful. Because inside, I think it has been overwhelming me. When I think about how much weight I need to lose overall, it starts to feel a bit impossible.
When I hiked the Inca Trail in Peru a few years ago, I remember it being one of the hardest physical challenges that I had ever undertaken. Four days of hiking mountains in really high altitude. I was probably about 40-50lbs overweight at that time, too. But it was something that I always dreamed of doing, and I didn't want to let my weight stop me.
We hiked and hiked and hiked - for about 12-14 hours each day. Every step, every climb, every slip of the foot was both amazing and difficult. I was at the back of the group, sometimes about 1-2 hours behind everyone. Taking my time, determined to get to the end. All I could think about was reaching Machu Picchu (the beautiful lost city at the end of the trail). I saw some of the most beautiful things in my entire life. But there were moments when I threw my sticks to the ground, and perched on the rocks, wanting to cry. I didn't have physical energy left at the end of a long day, and I didn't think I'd ever make it to the end.
There was a voice that kept me going for the entire four days. "One step at a time, don't focus on the end". "Concentrate on that next climb - don't worry about that next mountain ahead". "We'll cross the next bridge when we get there". "Keep your head down - don't look ahead". It was my husband. He kept me going when I had nothing left. There was one particular moment when I threw myself onto the ground, and surrendered myself to the mountains. It was raining, it was cold, it was dark. The rest of the group had already made it to the campsite. I couldn't take another step, I was exhausted. It was 7pm at night, and we'd been hiking since 6am that morning. I remember my husband telling me that we were going to count steps until we got to the end, and not focus on how many steps there were altogether. In the dark, we climbed the rocks one by one. I didn't think about the warm tea waiting for me. I didn't think about collapsing into a heap in my tent. I just concentrated on each step. One at a time. Soon enough, I saw the campfire at the top of the mountain.
I think about that experience a lot. It's nice to think about myself in a size 8 or 10. It's amazing to think about how I'll look, how many kilometres I'll be running, and how many clothes I'll have in my closet. But when I see myself now, it's just a reminder of how far I have to go. While I'll use the future as motivation, I need to remind myself that taking one step at a time is the key to succeeding.
So today: focus on eating well, and getting to my spinning class tonight. All of these days will add up very soon, and the light at the end of the tunnel will start to shine. Just like the sunrise over Machu Picchu the morning I finished the biggest climb of my life.