Set Yourself Up for Success

Running a hiking blog, I get a lot of interesting emails.  I love hearing people’s stories: learning about why they’re hiking in Israel and where they’ve come from.  Getting to know the people whose lives I’ve touched is one of the most rewarding parts of what I do.

Most of the emails I receive are from people who have gone or want to go hiking.  Some are from people who haven’t hiked at all but have been inspired with the desire to get to know the Land of Israel better.  Several months ago, I received an email which seemed to be a combination of the two topics:

I’ve been very inspired by your website and we have done some of your hikes as a family and really enjoyed them. Soon I will be turning 50, and I’ve been dreaming to do Yam LeYam. I’m probably at my least fit time ever.  We’re not real hikers in great shape. That being said, I would love to find a way to do this hike.  Do you have any suggestions for me?

I replied to this woman (let’s call her Sarah) with a few ideas of hikes she could take to get into shape and learn some skills.   I explained that Yam El Yam is quite a challenge, but if she started hiking more frequently and slowly began to take longer, harder hikes, she would definitely get there in time!  And after I sent my reply, I forgot about it completely.

A few months later, I was leading a hike when one of the women in our group approached me.  “Remember me?” she asked, “I’m Sarah.  I emailed you about getting ready for Yam El Yam.”

Our email exchange came back to me right away.  I was so happy to see that this woman was making a real effort to follow her dreams.  That day we hiked about 5 kilometers together, with a significant uphill. Talking to Sarah, I could see that she had a really positive attitude. Although she was nearing 50 and not in the best shape of her life, she believed that she could achieve her goal and was committed to the process.  This was a small step on the way to a 4 day, 70 kilometer adventure…but it was a step.

Weeks later, Sarah and I crossed paths yet again, when she signed up for a much more strenuous group hike.  I was touched and impressed. 

Sarah had taught me a valuable lesson.  Much of the time in life, we explain why we can’t do things.  But Sarah was different.  Although a 4 day trek was a daunting, far away dream, she was taking small steps in order to reach that incredible experience.  She wasn’t impatient.  She wasn’t jumping in unprepared (although she really would have loved to be there already!). Instead, Sarah was setting herself up for success by working towards her goal in small and manageable ways.

We all have the power to do what seems impossible.  Setting small goals and tackling them one at a time is the most dependable way to achieve your dreams. 

Small steps towards success.

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