This Is the Year That I Will ____________ .

This Is the Year That I Will ____________ .

“This year I’m not going to be exhausted and stressed all the time.”

“This year I am going to get in shape and lose 5 pounds.”

“This year I am going to finish my book.”

“This year things are going to change with my husband.”

“This year I am going to quit my job and find work I enjoy.”

“This year I am going to have a good relationship with my daughter.”

“This year I am going to thoroughly enjoy my life!”

Wouldn’t it be great if this was the year?

What do you really want to happen this year?

Do you get excited about the possibilities for 2016 or do you find yourself a little cynical about this being the year since you made the same promise last January.

But what if this was the year?

I believe it can, but you need a new strategy.

I’d like to share some strategies that have worked for me. They have helped me climb many mountains (both metaphorically and literally) in my life.

A couple of decades ago or more (that’s scary) I’d take teenagers backpacking for a week in Colorado. Every summer for 10 years I would go out in the wilderness with 14 kids from Houston. This was quite a change for big city kids especially some of the girls who had never gone one day without makeup.

At some point during the week we would climb up to the Continental Divide and climb a 14,000 foot peak. I learned many life lessons from these trips that I would like to share with you.

8 Strategies to Climb Your Mountains in 2016

1. Your Attitude Determines Your Energy Level

The first day on the trail the kids would NOT stop moaning and complaining. “My pack is too heavy.” “When can I get a shower? My hair is gross.” “How long do we have to hike?” “I’m tired. I’m hungry.” “Seriously, where is the bathroom?” Complaining made the time move slowly and all of us were completely drained by the end of the day.

But by the second day the kids got a new attitude. They got to know each other on the trail. They relaxed and had fun. The kids were energized and moved at a great pace.

* When you complain and whine you shift your attention from what you can achieve to what is wrong. This will drain your good energy. Shift your focus to what you enjoy about life. Imagine reaching your goal. Hang around uplifting people. This increases your energy.

2. You Need a Detailed Map

We had a detailed topographical map that let us know exactly where we were. We checked the map frequently throughout the day to make sure we were going in the right direction. It gave us perspective and it also comforted us to know we were on track.

* You need a detailed map to achieve your goals. You want to check this map frequently to make sure you are going in the right direction. You need this reassurance and perspective.

If there is no map you will give up. Your goals will feel unrealistic and impossible.

3. Step by step

We climbed the mountain by taking it one step at a time. If we looked at how far we had to go we would get discouraged and the complaining would ride in. But if we focused on taking the next step, we kept moving. This was especially true on the very steep and challenging parts of the mountains.

* It can be discouraging and overwhelming to see how far you need to go to reach your goals. Focus on taking the next step. This is especially true where it feels the most challenging. You want to make sure the next step is doable. Each step you take will build your confidence. The goal is to keep moving and not stop.

4. Expect Obstacles

Sometimes we’d get caught in rain, sleet or snow. One time I was hiking and the soles of my boots came off when I was hiking through snow. After the entire group managed to stop laughing at my mishap we found a creative solution by wrapping a rope around my shoes to hold them together.

* There are going to be obstacles but don’t let them stop you. You might have to wait and let the storm pass, but keep moving. Obstacles are opportunities for creative solutions.

5. You need a Guide

I was not the guide on these trips, I was the counselor. I didn’t know the terrain and would be a frightening thing if I was guiding the kids through the wilderness. (We’d probably still be there.) You need a guide who knows the way and has the practical skills to get you there. You also want a guide who is encouraging and supportive.

We had fabulous guides. Because they knew their stuff we were able to do far more than we thought was possible.

* Having a guide who knows the territory with the practical expertise to navigate you through it is invaluable. Because of their guidance you will end up accomplishing far more than you thought was possible.

6. The Rest Step.

The way you climb to the top of the peak is by using the Rest Step. The Rest Step is a very steady pace in which you rest your leg each time you take a step especially on the steepest parts of the climb.

* Don’t burn yourself out by pushing too hard. You don’t have to do this frantic and overwhelmed. You can do this rested and at peace. It’s important to find your own steady pace. Find a pace that works for you and your family.

7. Enjoy the scenery

I will never forget the beautiful streams, mountain flowers, meadows, aspen groves and rock formations on the trail. Because we were taking it step by step I could breathe in the beautiful scenery and enjoy the rich relationships.

*If you take it step by step you can enjoy the scenery. You will enjoy your life and the relationships on the path. You don’t have to wait till you reach your final destination to enjoy your life.

8. Celebrate

It is an amazing feeling to stand on top of a 14,000 foot mountain. We would be blown away at how far we had come.

But we celebrated the small victories too. We would celebrate when we would make it to the meadow for lunch. We’d celebrate when we crossed the river. And on the steep places we would celebrate when we took 10 steps.

* It’s important to celebrate every step no matter how small. One of my clients said this week, “It’s the small things that make a big difference.” Each step matters because it is one more step closer to your goals.

Complete this sentence.

This is the year I will____________________ .

1 Comment
  • Denise Murphy

    Colleen, thank you so much for this reflection of your experience! It is helpful, real, advice that everyone can apply to many aspects of anyone’s life. It puts things into perspective and also makes me feel I capable of reaching some lifelong goals I didn’t really feel were possible! Thank you, thank you, thank you! ?

    December 31, 2015 at 1:59 pm

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