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Overcoming Mountains to Reach Your Goal

Overcoming Mountains to Reach Your Goal

Ever wonder why goals seem so impossible to reach at times?


Last month I travelled to Peru to hike the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu.  It has been a personal goal of mine for some time to visit the ruins, hike the trail and to fully experience the country and its people.  So, last fall I finally booked a family trip to Peru after a few years of planning and organizing.


To hike the Inca Trail you have to be in good physical shape.  Our trek was 42 km over 4 days, which seems easy enough.  However, climbing over 3 mountain passes at high altitudes reaching over 4200 meters above sea level at 60 degree inclines is no small feat, especially for an overweight middle-aged woman.  But, I was determined to do the trail and to overcome any mountains in my way.

To ensure I had the physical capability to complete the trek, I began my physical training six months prior to the trip.  My goal to hike the Inca Trail turned out to be more than just a physical challenge.  Completing the hike became as much a mental and an emotional challenge as it was physical.  Needless to say, you learn a lot about yourself and your capabilities when you take on an adventure like this.


Here are the top 7 things I learned about reaching goals while hiking the Inca Trail:


1.  Have a clear vision

My goal was to hike the Inca Trail and reach Machu Picchu while fully enjoying the process of getting there.  Often we are not clear with our goals.  This causes us to meander without a clear sense of purpose.  The more clarity we have on the goal the easier it is to stay focused on what’s most important.


2.  Maintain focus on the goal

As I hiked those 4 days I kept telling myself that the view from the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu would be worth it.  I kept telling myself that completing the trail would be a great sense of accomplishment and pride.  These constant reminders really kept me grounded and on task.


3.  Keep moving forward

Day 2 of the hike was the hardest part of the trek; 12 km on a steep angle up towards appropriately named “Dead Woman’s Pass”, the highest point on the trail.  It was not easy to breathe, which meant hiking was slow.  But taking it slow and easy was a strategy.  One minute of hiking, two minutes of resting, all the way up the slopes until I reached the peak.  Admittedly, I was slower than most hikers, but, the important thing was to keep moving forward in the direction of my goal.  Eventually I would get there on my own time.  What’s important is that you continue to take steps forward no matter how big or small.


4.  See obstacles as opportunities

There could have been many obstacles real and imagined along the trail if that was what I had chosen to focus on.  There were many steep slopes, difficult rocks to climb, breathing issues, blisters on my feet, steep mountain drops, mosquitoes, etc.  I chose, however, to focus on the opportunities.  My very slow but steady pace meant that I met lots of wonderful and interesting people from around the globe also hiking who stopped to chat with me and encouraged me to keep going.


5.  Enjoy the views along the journey

My 19 year old son raced forward and took a nap along the trail at one point.  I, on the other hand, got to see many varieties of birds, interesting plants and flowers and magnificent vistas as I slowly progressed forward.  You hike through 15 ecosystems while on the trail so there were lots to see and enjoy.


6.  Celebrate milestones often

When I finally reached “Dead Woman’s Pass”, the rest of my hiking group was already there to greet me and cheer.  Each member of our hiking group remained at the top cheering as the rest of the members also reached the peak.  It was only the halfway mark of Day 2, but a great milestone to celebrate.  Once all of us had reached the top, we took photos to enjoy the moment and capture it forever.  The rest of Day 2 was downhill and a welcome relief for me.


7.  Stop to revel in achieving your goal

When I finally got to Sun Gate and saw Machu Picchu in its full glory I instantly felt emotion bubbling up inside me.  The trek gave me a peek into the history and culture of the people and the country, experiencing the same trek as the great Incas.  It also gave me a great sense of accomplishment for being there in that moment to enjoy what I was seeing and experiencing and a feeling of “I did it”.  Many of us get to our goal and don’t stop to revel in accomplishing it, but rather go onto the next goal or the next challenge.  It’s important to take a moment, be in the joy of achieving the goal and celebrate it fully.


Linda CattelanLinda Cattelan, Career & Life Coach and the President of Results Catalyst Inc. – a professional coaching and training company focused on individuals and teams to maximize human potential and to achieve personal and professional success.  Linda shares over 25 years of corporate experience, much of it at the senior executive level.  A superior track record coaching and mentoring senior managers, executives and entrepreneurs to consistently achieve outstanding results Linda is brilliant at using various self discovery techniques to facilitate getting at core issues instrumental for personal and professional breakthrough.

Holding a Masters Degree in Business Administration, Linda is a Certified Trainer and Master Practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.  Linda is a regular guest of radio and television and a Contributing Author of the inspirational and informative networking book, The Power of Women United.

If you are interested in closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in any area of your life or you are interested in learning more about Linda Cattelan or Results Catalyst Inc. then simply click here:


Further Reading on Goal Setting:


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  1. Great post here, Linda; I’m doing the trek myself in a month (aiee!) in honor of my 30th birthday, and a lot of what you wrote here echoes why I am doing this trek myself – thanks for sharing and congratulations on finishing the trail!

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