Get off the treadmill and live life on your terms
The alarm goes off, shower, breakfast and out of the door, endure the daily commute, do work, come back, a few fleeting hours with the family, and bed before repeating the exact same thing the next day.
I live for the weekends, and the precious few weeks a year I get to spend with the family.
Is this it? Am I just working towards retirement as fast as I can, hoping I’ve done enough to get through my twilight years?
Life flows in a seemingly endless rush of routine and expectation to conform and do what someone else is telling you to. That is until you make the conscious decision to stop and say “No”, I will not conform to what other people expect, I will live my life as I want to.
If you’re looking to add an extra element to life, this can be the hardest yet most important decision to make, to take yourself out of this loop and make the effort to get up and go and do something different.
There are whole piles of obstacles to overcome. People questioning why you bother (just be the same as everyone else), your own confidence (can I achieve a goal I’ve set myself?).
There’s nothing to show you what to do or how to do it, you just know that you need to do something more to awake your inner sole and feel the surge of excitement.
The answer to all of this is – Go and do whatever it is that makes you happy – Why? – Because you can.
Push against the barriers to open a whole new world of adventure
Sometimes the very thought is enough to stop you trying something different. Stepping out on what seems like your own can be overwhelming. Until you realize there are other people, feeling the same way and doing the same thing. Then it suddenly becomes a lot easier.
The same is true for me – Why would I want to go out in the rain and wander the woods or climb mountains – that’s mad (not to mention wet cold and generally horrible)
But forcing myself out of the door clad in a waterproof and wellies, I suddenly realise why I do this. The gentle drip of water on my coat, the intense quietness of no one else being around, and the scenery. Even in the busiest of environments a river full of water after (or during) a rain storm can capture the imagination.
Inspiration can be a great tonic that helps us to take that step and embark to explore what’s around the corner. Like most things in life we usually rely on other people to inspire and cajole us into action, to get us motivated and overcome the doubt, and anything else that stops us from getting up and going.
I’m a dreamer, I dream a lot about adventure, most of which is inspired by books and films. Stories of heroes climbing lofty peaks, suffering beyond measure. I learn from these stories making sure I have the same sense of achievement and find the same jubilation, in my own adventures, be that climbing a hill or wandering through the woods.
This is all good, but I must keep reminding myself that these “heroes” are written about to create a story that will sell. I need to be very careful not to measure my own achievements against theirs – I measure the success of a trip by how much I enjoyed it and what I learnt from it.
Learn what doesn’t work – enjoy what does
I can’t remember what my very first adventure was, but I know I was taken somewhere to do something, and I didn’t make a single decision of my own. I do remember how much I enjoyed it and the feeling it gave me, which is the exact same feeling I chase after today. So clearly that was a huge success.
Set your own goals, crucially decide what makes them successful then go and achieve them.
Learning from these experiences is just as valuable. On my very first trip, the only thing I probably really learned was that I needed a different coat when it rains. Contrast that with today where I am confident to take myself off for the day, and climb in the mountains, or grab an hour to myself and wander around the woods, and you can see that only by getting up and doing something bigger than the last time can I learn and be inspired to do go one better and greater in the future.
Once you start – don’t stop
Don’t get too complacent about life. Even though doing all this helped me escape routine and add a new and exciting aspect to my lifestyle, this was always going to be the start of much bigger step.
One trip out is not going to change your life. Don’t be satisfied with achieving a small one-off goal – this is just the start. Decide what it is you want to achieve, whether it’s to go for a walk in the fresh air, find some peace and quiet in the woods or really challenge yourself – whatever it is plan and go do it.
Whilst living by this principle, I always look for the next opportunity, to go longer, bigger, higher or do something that might just push the comfort zone a little tiny bit more than last time.
Let me know what you did this week to excite you. Where did you go and what did you do?