I recently returned from Peru. No trip to Peru would be complete without visiting Machu Picchu – the Inca city of stone on top of a mountain. Wanting to experience the Inca Trail, we opted for a one day hike to Machu Picchu. I felt pretty strong at the beginning of the trek. It helped that it was cloudy as we were high up on a mountain with little shade.
Hitting the Wall
About three hours into the hike, I silently thanked God my boyfriend talked me out of the four day hike. One day was hard enough with all the steps and climbing. I kept telling myself, I can do this, until we hit a spot where the steps went up as far as I could see. Inca trail steps are not the symmetrical type I’m used to. Instead they were deep and high stone steps literally forged into the mountainside, which means, you have to hoist yourself up onto them. I struggled to the top of the steps. But I made it!
My celebration was short lived. Less than fifteen minutes later, we hit a wall of steps called the Gringo Killer. An appropriate name as I was ready to collapse when I made it to the top. Our guide assured us we were close to the Sun Gate, the entrance to Machu Picchu. In my mind, once we hit the Sun Gate, the journey was complete. So I gave it all I had to get there.
A Ways To Go
The view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate was absolutely amazing. It was a sight I’ll never forget. My euphoria faded once I realized, we still had a ways to go before reaching Machu Picchu.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been in this situation. Maybe you have a ways to go to reach your goal of losing weight, getting in shape, eating better, finding the right relationship, or growing in your profession. The way I see it, you have two options when you have a ways to do- you give up or you dig deep and keep moving in the direction of where you want to go. Just focus on taking small, practical steps that move you in the direction of your destination. You won’t close the distance in an instance, but eventually you will get there.
Think Big, But Act Small
The idea of small wins originated in the seminal paper, “Small Wins: Redefining the Scale of Social Problems,” published in 1984 by psychologist Karl Weick. When confronted with a complex task or issue, Weick recommends breaking it down into bite-sized, achievable actions that lead to tangible results. Instead of trying to figure out your entire game plan when faced with a huge task, focus on what you can do in the next week to move in the direction of your goal.
Small steps build momentum. Momentum can be a powerful force that can move things. Once you get going in the right direction, things often have a way of falling into place. So if you have a ways to go, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. Dig deep and take the next step!