Yesterday, I hiked Koko Head Crater here in Honolulu, Hawaii with my boyfriend and some of his friends. Koko Head is one of the more challenging hikes on Oahu because it’s a really steep climb up about 1,000 steps on an old railroad path.
I don’t particularly enjoy hiking (or any form of exercise for that matter), but I have been wanting to go on at least one hike here on the island to see the amazing ocean views from the top.
Since I’m not a regular hiker, it was especially tough for me and totally outside of my comfort zone. But of course, with any new experience, you can learn some valuable lessons about life. Here are just a few that came up for me after this crazy hike!
1. It looks impossible until you actually get started.
We got out of the car and stood at the base of the crater, looking up at what seemed like a never-ending trail of steps to the top. In my mind, I was saying “hell, no!” but at the same time I felt excited about challenging myself to see if I could actually do this. It seemed like it would take forever, but about 30 minutes in, we were already at the halfway point! That’s when I really started to believe that I was going to make it all the way up.
Success tip: Don’t take yourself out of the race before you’ve even started running. Your goal may feel daunting at first, but once you start taking action, you will gain confidence in your ability to make it to the finish line.
2. Don’t compare yourself to other people who are going faster than you. Go at your own pace!
My companions were not new to this hiking game as they go on hikes (and runs) all the time. They were making their way up the trail pretty steadily, but I was the slow one in the group! I had to stop often for a few moments to rest, catch my breath and take a swig of water. I’m not used to being the weakest link, so it felt a little embarrassing having them wait for me every few feet. I had to keep reminding myself, “slow and steady wins the race!”
Success tip: Focus on YOUR progress, not on what everyone else is doing. It doesn’t matter how quickly you achieve your goal, as long as you ultimately get what you want. Your journey may take longer than it takes others and that’s okay.
3. Don’t look up at how far you still have to go. Instead, look back at how far you have come.
I was so happy when I got up to step #800, which was marked in white on the trail. But even then, we still had over 200 more steps to go, all on a steep, slippery incline! Whenever I looked up at the long trail ahead, I felt discouraged. But when I looked BACK at all the steps I had already taken, I felt inspired to keep going. I knew that if I could make it up 800 steps, I could certainly survive a few hundred more.
Success tip: Give yourself credit for how far you’ve already come. Take time to be in gratitude and give thanks for making it this far. And then, just keep going!
4. The view from the top is absolutely worth it.
After about an hour, we finally reached the top! I scrambled up the last hill and stood in awe at the horizon. The ocean sparkled below us. The clouds were opening to the sun above us. And God was all around us. After all the sweaty energy it took to get up the trail, I had to admit that the incredible view was the best reward. Being able to witness the sun rising up over the island was 100% worth the effort.
Success tip: Remember WHY you are pursuing your goal in the first place. Whether you want to build a business or write a book or lose the weight, think about how amazing it will feel to be able to reap the rewards of your hard work.
5. It’s easier when you have someone supporting you along the way!
It definitely helped to have someone cheering me on during the hike. My boyfriend is a natural motivator, especially when it comes to physical fitness. Every time I had to stop to take a break, he’d remind me that we were “almost there!” (Which I knew was a lie, but I went along with it anyway.) He even had to help me get back down the trail on the second part of the hike, after I slipped and fell a few times. At the end, we were starving, so we all went out for breakfast. In the car on the way to the cafe, he leaned over to kiss me and said softly, “you did great today.”
Success tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. It’s okay to seek out others who can not only support you in your journey, but also be there to celebrate with you!
I can’t say I’ll be a hardcore hiker anytime soon, but I’m grateful for the experience to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Because those are the times in your life when you learn the most.