It’s not a Race – Appreciate the Journey

It's not a Race - Appreciate the Journey - Peak
Your health and fitness Odyssey is not an x-month event, it’s everlasting.
Your goal isn’t the destination, it’s a milestone.
And your effort needs to be kept up long-term to be successful long-term…
You’ve heard statements like “appreciate the journey” before, I’m sure. But let’s break down what that really means, and a common mistake so many people still make.
A mistake that has already cause most New Year’s Resolutioners to fail.
It’s rushing the process, thinking it needs to happen FAST – for which we can blame marketing and social media (though only partially).
If you’re someone who thinks you need to hit a certain weight loss goal before a specific date, this one is for you.
If you’re someone who’s obsessed with the goal, and constantly focuses on the scale, this one is for you.
If you beat yourself up because you feel like your effort and time invested isn’t worth it because you don’t see results fast enough, this one is for you.
Now, let’s get into part 3 of our mini series ‘Lessons From the Himalayas’. If you haven’t checked out part 1 and 2 yet, I’ll make sure to link them at the very end.

It's not a Race - Appreciate the Journey

The second trek during my time in Nepal, the Annapurna Circuit…
I had reached the end point of that day’s acclimatization hike, a lake called Kicho Tal, or ‘Ice Lake’ (4620m/15,157ft elevation). Knowing that this was going to very likely be the highest lake I’d ever visit in my life, I decided to take a swim.
(One of those ‘when in Rome’ moments.)
Although as you can imagine the water was colder than a polar bear’s toenails, it felt great to be one with nature.
Plus, having taken only one single shower over the course of about 2.5 weeks, it was a welcome opportunity to rinse off. As my guide on the previous trek told me; “If you don’t return from the mountain smelling like a donkey, you haven’t really been to the mountains”. I lived up to that statement.
Soon enough, this moment of stillness was interrupted by a group of (loud) fellow travellers who came walking up, iPhones in their hand pointed at me.
I won’t lie, in my mind I kinda wished they weren’t there. But who was I to claim this beautiful mountain lake to myself? They had as much right to enjoy this spot as me. Plus, knowing how popular the Annapurna Circuit is, of course I was going to see other people there.
It did feel extra awkward when one of them asked to take a photo with me. But then again, who jumps in an ice cold lake high in the Himalayas? I guess I understand…
They told me about their trek, and how they paid for a Jeep to take them most of the way so far.
(Unfortunately people have been building more and more roads along this legendary pilgrimage, but that’s another story…)
They then asked me about my time in Nepal, how the trek had been so far, and if it was my first time. Thrilled, I shared that it was my first time, how much I loved it, and that I had just finished the Everest Base Camp trek the previous week.
“We also went to Mount Everest Base Camp”, they answered. “We took a helicopter from Kathmandu. It was beautiful!”
It's not a Race - Appreciate the Journey - Lake
Before we continue, let’s recognize that everyone has a different perception of pleasure, challenge, accomplishment… and that I’m not here to paint a down-looking picture toward my fellow travellers.
It would be easy to compare and go; “They took shortcuts, and I walked! It’s not the same, they cheated”. But let’s not forget we’re on OUR own journey. Our values, the things we do, what’s important for us, etc. don’t say a thing about what others ‘should’ do or appreciate.
That said, I’ll stick to my personal perspective on how a much shorter trip, without having done most of the walking, would have been a much different experience. Remember too that these travellers were still super excited about their trip. We can’t not acknowledge that.
Along both treks though – the Annapurna Circuit, and Everest Base Camp – I did see many people who paid locals to carry their bags, or even rode a donkey.
Again, we’re not judging here. But I need to bring some of these things up because they stood out and had me think about what it would do for ME. As the saying goes; you do you!
We’ll tie this into health and fitness soon though…
Then every now and again, someone would cut in front of us (sometimes putting their poles in front of mine to take over on a narrow part of the trail). Maybe I was slow, maybe they were in a rush… But 9/10 times, we’d meet those exact same people 10 minutes later, on the side of the trail catching their breath.
Lastly, I met a fellow traveller who lived by this trekking app that looked similar to Google Maps, but for mountain trails. I met them multiple times along the circuit, and it seemed they were more obsessed with how long it was supposed to take than really soaking in the experience.
It was all about getting to the next place within a certain timeframe. Later, they got hit with altitude sickness and had to stay back for a few days.
There’s a few things to unpack here.
It's not a Race - Appreciate the Journey - Peak
– Comfort & shortcuts.
It’s something we’re inherently drawn to. It’s in our nature.
In the Himalayas, you can get helicopters, jeeps, donkeys, and locals to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, and even shorten the trip.
While modern-day comfort does make life better in many ways, it’s also something many of us can’t get enough of. Everything needs to be more comfortable, cost us less energy and effort, and we need it faster! We’re ADDICTED to comfort.
Though reality is; comfort does not breed growth.
In health and fitness, you HAVE to do the work yourself and invest the time. You must carry your own bags, walk the path, and put in the your own blood, sweat, and tears to reach your goal, or better said; milestone.
Other than mentorship, there are no ways to shortcut the path to self-mastery – we talked about this in part 2 of this mini series.
I know… You want to lose the weight now, build the muscle now, whatever it is you want to achieve in life… NOW.
It’s OK, we all have those thoughts. Oftentimes it comes from excitement.
But here’s the thing…
The lessons learned;
skills acquired;
experience gained;
the most memorable moments lived…
All happen on your way TO the goal.
Think about it for a moment.
The person you wish to become… The healthier, stronger, more resilient version of your current self. Future-you, who’s in full control and well on their way to self-mastery…
That person did not get to that point by skipping or rushing the process because they were so obsessed with the outcome.
They did the work, learned the hard lessons, gained the experience because of the journey.
In Nepal, it wasn’t just the moment we finally arrived at Mount Everest Base Camp or the completion of the Annapurna Circuit that made the trip. Far from!
You know what my most memorable moments were?
The uncountable beautiful landscapes we passed, playing cards with my guide, exploring the little mountain villages, sleeping in the most random tiny little tea house where a lady told me her dog would show me the way if I gave him cookies – the dog then spent 3 full days of trekking with me.
The people I met along the way, swimming in that freezing cold lake, even the moments I had to push myself in order to make it to the next stop.
Don’t expect comfort or shortcuts.
Effort and time make the journey worthwhile.
– Rushing the process
Throughout these 3 articles so far, I’ve shared many instances of people trying to rush the process, and how it backfired on them.
The same thing happens every
We’re obsessed with how long it’s ‘supposed’ to take, how much time there’s left, or why we’re not there yet… So much so that we don’t appreciate the journey. We may even miss out on small, yet impactful personal wins along the way.
One reason many fail their New Year’s resolution, is a lack of patience. Years of bad habits and lifestyle choices need to be reversed in weeks. And if it doesn’t happen fast enough, we lose interest.
On your health and fitness Odyssey, it’s not the act of reaching a goal that makes you successful. It’s what you learn along the way – and by learning I mean learning by doing – that leads to long-term success.
It’s the act of messing up, and trying again. Just to mess up again, and again, just get a little better, and a little better again, until you’ve figured out how to overcome a certain obstacle.
It’s the habits installed through endless repetition. The work done both with, but especially that without motivation.
It’s going through the difference seasons required to reach one milestone after the other. Reaching new levels, that come with new challenges.
That, is the stuff that makes the journey, not how long it took.
The goal is not the destination.
It’s merely a waypoint on your journey.
A marker, a milestone.
The journey IS the goal.
Thank you for reading another one of my blogs. If you enjoy reading these, please feel free to also check out my podcast, Talking Nutrition. I appreciate you for sticking around!
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This article is part of a mini series called ‘Lessons From the Himalayas’.

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