DAILY STEPS TO GET TO YOUR SUMMITS
“Our imagination is struck only by what is great; but the lover of natural philosophy should reflect equally on little things.” -alexander von humboldt
Almost every day, I find myself on a mountainside; almost every week, I find myself on a mountaintop. It’s easy for me to take the first steps on a trail; it’s not so easy for me to take those mid-steps or final steps when I’m tired and hungry and cold. However, my endurance has everything to do with daily training, and the way I pace myself in the beginning. If I get too excited and try to run to the summit, I burn out and end up hating that stupid ol’ mountain anyway.
The little things matter.
Because the little things create the muscles we’ll need to get to where we’re going. If you’re like me, it’s much more pleasing to look at the majesty of a summit, rather than my feet that I’ve seen every day of my life. So, here’s to looking right in front of you, and cultivating rituals that will gently get you to the place you’ve been longing for.
Identify the goal, the summit, the destination. If it’s a new job, write it down. If it’s a crazy idea, you should really write it down and take it seriously–so very seriously. If it’s climbing Denali, write it down. If it’s starting your own business, write it down.
Then, identify the first step. Take the first step every day until it becomes natural. If you want to be a writer, write one page every day until one page feels easy. Then step it up to a page and a half. If you want to climb a mountain, start by walking on a trail or around your neighborhood. Every day, go a little bit longer–one minute at a time. You don’t have to do an ultra marathon tomorrow.
Make the first step a part of your morning ritual. Begin with the first steps every day.
Acknowledge the work you did–especially the tiniest of steps. Give the little things more weight, more value than you have in the past. You’re that much closer to your summit. Even if one day takes you around a corner you didn’t expect, you’re still that much closer. Declutter every evening. Did you get distracted or take on too much? Overwhelm sneaks up on you. Bite-size is the name of the game. If you find you’re feeling really good, try not to overdo it and exhaust yourself by the time you get further along your path.
Once you feel ready to take on the next step, stop and enjoy the view. Acknowledge where you’ve been. Wasn’t that pretty?
Ya. It was pretty.
And so is the summit. Take it nice and easy. And take along a friend or two.