Thursday, December 11, 2014

Don't Blow-up your Goals!: 2634.8 to 2653.6 Miles: 12/11/14

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Animated Street View
Today's weather

The route continues along Route 12 in eastern Montana. The road has wide shoulders. There are some places for stealth camping. I don't see a fence along the side of the road.

Consider walking many of your miles before sunrise. This is the type of road where you can see headlights for miles. In a future post, I'll explain how to get two days of walking into one day with no added fatigue

Don't Blow-up your Goals!


This week I had an opportunity to blow-up my goals. I tried to increase my mileage more than reasonable and it wasn't working. What have you observed others do in similar situations when they raised their weekly goal too much?

What happened?

I decided to increase my weekly miles from 86 miles to 92 miles.  I thought this was reasonable as I've walked 98 mile weeks before. 

On Monday, disaster struck. Something happened that legitimately stopped me from walking the miles. 

No problem, I thought. The system was designed to make up miles later in the week. It worked on Tuesday when I made up a couple of miles.

However, I realized if I continued trying to make up miles during the week, I'd become fatigued and not able to complete the goal next week. There were a couple options. I could accept the short day and not meet my goal this week. I could gradually try to make up the miles over a couple of weeks. That might have worked, but....

The System Blew Up!

Why did the system blow up? I was behaving like a person who budgets only for expected expenses. When the expenses are less than expected they frivolously spend the extra money. When the expenses are more than expected, they put the extra expense on their credit card.

I failed to create a "rainy day fund" of extra miles. There wasn't a good opportunity as this is only the second week of attempting to walk 10 million steps in 12 months. 

How did I fix it?

I used the saying, "If you don't hit the target, then move the target!" That way I get perfection every week as perfection is defined by what I accomplish. On the surface, it sounds crazy, but I'm crazy, so let's see what I did.

All I did was reduced the goal for the week until I could meet the goal without walking any extra miles the rest of the week.

As it turned out, the new goal increased my mileage from last week, so I still came out ahead.

Now, I'm starting to gradually build a contingency reserve which points out another error.

In the past, when I walked a few tenths of a mile extra in a day, I walked less the next day. Now I'm carrying the extra miles forward until I need to use them.

Aim High for Success Failure

The same books that tell people to aim high for success often tell people to make goals attainable and realistic. Attainable and realistic implies certainty. The key to success is not aiming high. It is improving the process that allows a person to realistically achieve a higher goal with certainty instead of luck.


This week reminded me to focus on the two things that will blow up a 48 state reality hike: fatigue or injury. Either one of these can force a long break that can last weeks. If I start to feel fatigue or an impending injury, I'll reduce my weekly goals even though it means I won't complete the hike. Randomness happens both ways, so most likely it will eventually work in my favor. 

What usually happens with long-distance hikers is they get their trail legs and start walking more miles than they dreamed possible.  After reading many journals, I realize they improve their process and use the extra energy for miles instead of doing other things.


No comments:

Post a Comment