While reading the book Appalachian Trials, by Zach Davis, (see my Book Review here!) one of the big items Zach writes about and stresses is mentally preparing yourself to answer the “why am I doing this?” that will seep into your head when things get tough, boring, or painful.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Yogi Berra
To focus on this, he suggests (more like demands!) that you create three lists. These lists are created to remind and reinforce your “reasons” for hiking the trail, and will be extremely helpful when you have struggles on trail… and everyone will have some struggles on the trail. By reviewing these lists during low points, you will hopefully be reminded of why you are out there to begin with, and be motivated to continue to pursue that purpose. I plan to review them from time to time in an attempt to minimize my low points.
Zach also encourages (again, more like demands…) that you make these lists public, so that others can help keep you accountable to them. It is much harder to forget (or ignore) something that lots of others know about. So with that in mind, here are my three lists:
I Am Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail Because…
- I have wanted to do it since I first learned of the trail.
- My life needs a “restart”.
- I need to reevaluate my life, my career, my choices, my direction.
- Where I am is not where I want to be.
- I am almost 37 years old, I already have arthritis, and according to Dr. K, it is only going to get worse for me. It is “now or never”, more or less.
- I want to do something wild and outrageous, with no regrets, just once in my life.
- I have the rest of forever to be lazy.
- I am tired of being lazy.
- To prove to myself that I can.
- I have a lot of gear and need to use it more.
When I Successfully Complete the Appalachian Trail, I Will…
- Have found a deeper respect and confidence in myself and my abilities than I have ever had.
- Have found a direction for my life and the momentum to continue forward.
- Have one amazing story (or a million small ones…).
- Be one B.A.M.F. who can accomplish anything he sets his mind to.
- Have a great excuse to get another tattoo!
If I Give Up on the Appalachian Trail, I Will…
- Never believe in myself.
- Feel like a complete failure.
- Have to face my parents, my friends, and my coworkers, and explain why I quit.
- Be lazy for the rest of my life.
- Regret it.
These lists are still evolving, and I am sure will continue to change even after my hike starts. Perhaps I will repost a more finished version just before my hike, but for not, they are public. If you have any comments, advice, or topic suggestions, please use the comment box below or use the Contact Me page up top.
Until next time, remember to “Spin the Compass.”