Life full of obstacles? Read this NOW.
What do you think of the view you see above? It’s gorgeous isn’t it?
That’s the view from my cousin’s house. But for the purposes of this article, this view represents where you are trying to reach, where you are trying to get to.
That view represents how you will feel once you have achieved the weight loss; the new partner; that raise or new job. Whatever it is that you are striving to achieve, you believe that once you get to the top, ‘the view’ will make everything worth it. All the hurt, all the pain, all the suffering, all the rejection, all the millions of times that you felt that you weren’t good enough.
We want it to be worth it. We want our pain and suffering to lead us to our version of heaven. We want to get to the top, survey our new kingdom and to bask in the feeling of having our goal.
However, before we can reach the top, we need to learn how to climb. All of us as human beings have a series of steep, long ass, hills to climb.
It’s called life.
I’m going to tell you the 3 things to help you ace climbing those hills, no matter your circumstances or obstacles. But first here is an important photo,
here is my hill.
This is the beginning of the path up. It may not look very steep but given the view from the first picture, you can imagine that it is steeper, longer and windier than it looks. I’m in St Lucia. It’s pretty mountainous. In fact it is famous for having two gorgeous mountains called the Pitons. Most residential areas are built into the hill sides. As a Londoner I am frequently amazed at the houses that are located up steep paths that I never would have thought could have houses there. My cousin lives on one of these steep hills.
The first time I went down the hill I was scared that I would fall forward and do a roly- poly down the hill. However my seven months pregnant cousin walked down the hill in sandals and I managed to shuffle down behind her. I’ve been lucky so far that I’ve been convalescing/ writing a book/ been picked up by a car in the week I have been here. But today, restless and not keen to write, I decided to walk to the beach. In order to get there, I needed to brave the hill.
Here’s the 3 crucial pieces of knowledge to help you ace climbing those hills we call life, no matter what obstacles are in your way:
1. You need to be able to climb down as well as climb up
When trying to achieve a goal, you may need to be flexible on how you attempt to achieve it. You may need to try more than one method…
When I was walking down the hill, I had to use shorter steps, keep an eye on the ground and walk slower. I occasionally had to stop just to prove to myself that I could. When I looked at the bottom of the hill, I felt a wave of vertigo, so I focused on walking from one electricity pole to another. Finally I could see the main road in sight! However the road was still uneven and steep so I continued to use small steps. There is an art in going down safely. I was so pleased when the road finally levelled out and I could resume my usual pace.
In contrast, when I was walking up the hill, I was able to walk faster and take larger strides. However, I had to pace myself considerably when I felt my heart rate start to rise in response to the incline. Again I had to focus on walking from electricity pole to electricity pole, taking regular breaks to regulate my breathing. I was a hot sweaty mess by the time I reached the top.
What 10 methods can you use today to achieve your goal?
Start with one, and if that doesn’t work, use a different method. Keep trying them out until you find the one that works for you. Do not let obstacles such as temporary failure hold you back. Fail, fail and fail again.
It doesn’t matter how you get there — just that you get there!
2. Mark out your electricity poles
What are the small achievements which mark that you are on your way to achieving your goal? Have you stopped to acknowledge where you are at?
When I was walking up and down the hill, the electricity poles became very important. When going down I felt vertiginous so I focused instead on walling slowly from pole to pole, know that I would eventually reach the bottom. Similarly, when walking up, I kept focusing on the electricity pole in front of me, taking a break once I got there and then walked to the next one. All with heart beating so loud you could hear it in the next province. At different points and for different reasons I would stop — to take a breather or just to prove to myself that I could.
The moral of the story: know what your mini goals are and keep them in focus until you achieve that mini goal, TAKE STOCK, then you move on to your next mini goal, TAKE STOCK AGAIN and then before you know it, you are there! You’ve done it!
Don’t be fooled by people that seem to achieve things effortlessly.
Anyone that has achieved anything of any worth has had to work hard, and more than likely had some idea of what it was they needed to do. What separates them from the rest was the willingness to put a plan into action, or taking one simple step towards their goal.
If there is a tangible, concrete goal you want to achieve, you need to know what you need to achieve on the way there. You also need to appreciate how far you’ve come!
For example, I want to write a book.
I decided to do the creative challenge that is NaNoWriMo .
The end goal is to have written 50,000 words by the 30th November.
I need to write 1,667 words each day in November to get this done.
If I had told myself to write a book in a month, I probably would have freaked out/ procrastinated wildly/ not got shit done.
But by having a clear overall goal — to have written 50, 000 words by Nov 30th.
And knowing my mini goals — to write 1, 667 words each day.
This makes ALL the difference.
It means that I keep focused on the smaller mini goal, feel a sense of achievement that I have achieved that, which keeps me motivated for the next day, which means that I am slowly but surely working my way towards my much larger and grander goal of writing a book.
However, writing 1,667 words a day is challenging. Lack of motivation has become an obstacle and I knew that this would happen before I started.
So I asked my best friends to support me on each day of November with a voice message/ what’s app or facebook message. Seeing or hearing words of encouragement from people that love me has helped to keep me motivated.
What are your mini goals? When do you want to have achieved them?
Have you taken stock at where you are right now? That where you are right now is an achievement whether you realise it or not?
What potential obstacles are there to achieving your mini goals? How are you going to navigate then?
Get planning now!
3. Think of where you are now as acclimatisation training
At the moment, going up and down the hill is challenging for me. However after another week of doing this each day, I know I will get used to it. It may not be easy for me to walk, but it will become easier. The more I walk up and down the hill, the more I will acclimatise to it, until I will wonder why I thought it was so scary and challenging. I had a moment where I looked back, but I realised it was a waste of my energy to look back down the hill — I needed to keep moving forward up the hill!
Think of your challenges on your way to your goals as acclimatisation training. If your goal is challenging you to do something different — you are definitely in acclimatisation training. Yes, the going is rough now but one day, you will look back and see that this time was putting you in training/ preparation for the next stage of your life.
Be so focused on working towards your goals, you don’t have the energy to look back.
Focusing only on moving forward.
I’m in a period of transition. I’ve quit my job to go travelling in the Caribbean; discover my roots and write a book. I chose to leave the UK and not to stay in a job that wasn’t totally fulfilling me. I’ve had sleep wrecking anxiety about what will happen when I get back to the UK. But something keeps whispering to me that this time of my life, where everything appears destroyed and empty, is preparation for the next stage of my life. I’ve got much more knowledge than before that will help me build a new life.
If this article has resonated with you, let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to clap! Clapping means more people will see my writing :)