While on a challenging hike today, I questioned whether I wanted to finish it several times.
To help myself overcome the temptation to turn back, I framed each moment as a choice to pick between becoming one of two versions of myself:
The version that pushes a little further, or the version that recedes (and ultimately turns around) — either way it was totally up to me and what I choose do next.
This framing proved to be a powerful and motivating tool because it turned every second and every step of the hike into a sort of micro-challenge where every thought & action that helped me progress through the trail became its own kind of rewarding victory.
Looking back, think conquering the hike was too macro a goal that left me focusing exclusively on how much of the hike was remaining.
In contrast, there’s something powerful about the idea of just focusing on conquering one moment — a tiny unit of time — after the next. It offers access to a quick sense of victory, and that sense of victory has a way of propelling you into the next moment with every intention to conquer it, and the next one, and the next one after that.
Do this enough times, and it seems you’re all but guaranteed to find yourself at the end of whatever goal or challenge you set out for yourself.