Where Have I Been?

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written something for myself, in fact, my last post I wrote for Mind & Matter Fitness was on February 28th.

That’s quite an anger-inducing amount of time.

Now I haven’t been silent due to lack of caring about this website or my thoughts, ideas, and motivations. I’ve been silent because I was experiencing one of the busiest times of my life to date.

From personal training at a big-box gym, to a promotion at my day job, to writing for The Well Path, (latest post HERE), to exploring new business ventures (more to come on that soon), things were hectic.

Now without complaining too much, I’ll get right into why this post to me is so important. I was really busy. I couldn’t even make time for my family and friends due to my schedule, and it was drastically affecting my mood, behaviors, and outlook on my life. And it wasn’t for the better. I’ve written about the choice to be happy, but as I got busier and busier this choice became harder and harder.

It really showed me how negativity can be so incredibly toxic. While laugher is contagious, negativity is infectious. It takes over you and it can spiral out of control.

It also opened my eyes to the importance of maintaining a list (even a mental one, at best) of my priorities. This list should serve as a means of asking yourself, what are the top 2 things I want to accomplish in the next month, 3 months, year, and what are the steps, people, and things I need in and out of my life to get there? And even though during this time, the activities I was pursuing kept me busy and felt like they were helping me to get where I need to go, I found that the tradeoff of doing too much and not thinking about my priorities outside of my jobs was not an advantageous one for my mental health and happiness.

Having priorities is extremely important to goal attainment, however priorities cannot exist in silos. While I was very busy and seemingly working towards what I ultimately want for myself and my career, other priorities like my own workouts, my friends, and my family, got put on the back-burner. This led to a feeling of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction. Our priorities must work synergistically. Because just like a well oiled machine, if one piece is malfunctioning, the entire system suffers and does not perform at maximum capacity or ability.

There’s a reason why we have priorities. And there’s a reason why they are priorities in the first place. They are the most important things in your life. And if you aren’t working to satisfy or accomplish those priorities as a whole, then they either aren’t actually priorities, or your life is not in balance, and you are choosing to put those priorities on hold which can lead to unhappiness and a sense of stagnation.

No matter how full our lives feel, or how much other people may tell you what you’re doing is right, it is extremely important to align priories with actions. If we aren’t working towards goals we set out for ourselves but also are not giving the proper time to the things we truly care about, it won’t take long before you start to feel unsatisfied and unhappy.

We need to always be working towards something. Striving to attain what it is we want. For those that already have the fire within them know that any activity not working for the vision is a distraction. For those that are in a smolder, waiting for a gust of oxygen to invigorate you into a flame, be honest with yourself and make an assessment of your activities and how they align to your goals and priorities. Are you doing everything you can to make you happy? Are there people, jobs, physical things in your life or in your way that are setting you back? More importantly, are there people or things in your life that must remain in your life in order for you to truly be happy and who will encourage you to accomplish your goals?

It is often more important to think not about what you can give up in order to accomplish your goals, but what you must keep in your life. I made the mistake of only thinking about what I could give up (personal time and sleep), and not what I needed (time with friends and family) in order to remain happy and help me accomplish my goals.

So when thinking about your priorities and setting and accomplishing your next goal, try to spend as much time (if not more) thinking about what you need to keep versus what you have to give away. This will allow you to make smart decisions about the true sacrifices you are willing to take, and who or what in the end will help you to achieve more.

Hiking and the Journey of Success

Hiking is a great form of exercise. It clears the mind and can also be physically challenging. But I think what is most important about hiking is the lessons we learn from it, and how we go about hiking, that can stand for and relate to many things in life.

I would say around 75% of the hikes we take are to reach a certain point or destination. And what I find so fascinating is that the goal of these hikes is generally to get half way. What I mean is that the destinations we set out to reach are only half way along the hike. We go toward some lake, mountain top, valley, etc., but that is almost always just the half way point. We go to great lengths in order to reach these destinations, and when they are reached, we temporarily forget that we must make the journey back towards where we started. Which often times means turning around and going back the exact way we came.

I think there is something profoundly sad about this. That our goals, in hiking and in life, are to reach the half way point. To reach the “pinnacle”, and forgetting the journey afterwards. We set goals that really are only just half way there. And usually, the journey back is never as exciting, because you’ve seen all of the same trees and trails before because it is exactly how you came in. We really end our hikes and our goals 50% earlier than we should. Which often leads to disappointment and leaving with a sense of being underwhelmed. We forget about the glory and the grandeur of our successes because we must push on past them and travel back into the familiar which becomes mundane.

What I mean is that we should not get so caught up on the successes and achievements of any single endeavor, that we forget about the journey, to it and thereafter. Turning around to go home should not be the mentality that we take when we hike or when we reach any goal we set out to achieve. In love and in life we must appreciate the hardships and troubles along the way in order to appreciate and enjoy the success of achievement even more. And we also must appreciate the journey to come after. You still have a few miles to go after you reach that mountaintop. While they will be down hill, they will still be trying and difficult times. Your perspective will change and you will be tired from the journey there, but you cannot become apathetic. Because you’re only half way there. And it’s time to work hard and enjoy the rest of the way.

Each new day is one to reach a new peak, a new destination, a new goal. But when we’ve reached that goal, there is still so much more to go until you can say that you have achieved it. Times will get hard, and it is always good to remember what it felt like to succeed and to reach that hilltop, but longing for the beauty of the past distracts from the beauty of the future. It leads to unhappiness and a loss of hope.

Set goals that will last a lifetime so that you’re constantly striving toward something, constantly climbing upward. So that when you reach that beautiful lake, that is where you will stay and live forever, instead of turning around, longing for the past with your head down, watching one foot step in front of the other and forgetting to look around you to see the wonder of the journey to come.