I wanted to give up.
I barely made it to our destination on this hike. A cirque on a Colorado mountainside.
Did you spot me in the lower righthand corner of the photo surrounded by expansive mountains?
It felt incredible to get to this spot, sit down, breathe normally, refuel and take some time to enjoy nature while scanning the mountain for bear and elk. I was also SO done with hiking uphill on a rocky trail.
Hiking up to a 12,080-foot cirque wasn’t a walk in the park for me the way it was for my husband. He wasn’t even out of breath, ????!
Trekking in the mountains isn’t new to me. I’ve completed a lot of hard day hikes during my lifetime and I usually feel like quitting at one point or another.
Here are my strategies for NOT giving up on reaching my goals, even when I hate it.
1. Support. I’ve learned to lean into it and accept it. If I hiked all alone, I’m positive I would give up before reaching my destination. My hiking partner husband doesn’t rush me and he hands me water and snacks.? He’s patient and stays near me even though his hiking pace and long legs are much faster than mine.
*Be sure to reach out for support from your nonjudgmental friends or a professional to help you with your organizing/decluttering projects. It’s way more fun or at least bearable to have a supportive partner by your side.
2. Good equipment and preparation are key. I own 2 sturdy hiking poles, hiking boots, and a quality backpack. We carry plenty of water and food as well as extra clothing for possible weather changes.
*Gather some essential organizing supplies to prepare for a sorting session. Things to have on hand include water, snacks, labels and a marker, trash bags, and recycling and donation containers. You might want extra boxes or bags. Use these to hold categories of stuff.
3. I had to make an effort to not compare myself to my husband and other hikers. To tell you the truth, this was nearly impossible. I let my emotions get the best of me (there may have been some?).
I felt embarrassed about my snail-like pace–I believe a snail would have passed me. Then I started wondering what was WRONG with me because everyone else appeared to have no problem walking uphill at a high elevation! My internal dialogue went something like this……WHAT’S WRONG with you, I HATE this, and You’re TOO OLD to do this!
My LEGS were on fire! I tried to remind myself that I was doing my best and that it’s normal to be out of breath (the kind of out of breath where you hear your heart pounding in your ears) and feel sore while hiking over boulders at a high elevation.
*Set your own pace and timeline when organizing. You are doing the best you can. More importantly, YOU STARTED. Acknowledge any and all progress (I would do this by looking back down the trail and marveling at how far I hiked). A “before you begin photo” will help you track your own progress. Sorting will take time so be patient.
4. I felt extra emotional while hiking. Doing hard things, beyond our comfort zone, brings up all kinds of feelings. Anger, sadness, jealousy, embarrassment, guilt, fear (did I mention I’m afraid of heights) relief, joy (I felt this when a dog walked by with its owner), gratitude (for nature’s beauty) and astonishment. I wanted the bad feelings to stop. They wouldn’t stop circling in my brain so I processed and talked about them.
*Organizing will be emotional. This is one reason we tend to avoid letting go of stuff. Find a way to feel, deal and heal as Tiffany Roe, a therapist I follow on Instagram recommends. You’ll learn that you will be okay even when you feel sad, guilty, or fearful. Having a supportive partner with you who is a good listener will help you process any emotions. I’m here for you if you are looking for a professional–click for my rates.
I completed 5 hikes in 5 days where we experienced the awesomeness of nature. Mountain hikes will still be my #1 choice for a vacation but I have a new strategy going forward. I’ll take a rest day between each hike to let my mind and body recover. You may want to do the same while organizing. Again, be patient and don’t give up.
I’m here for you!