You don’t have to be a full time adventurer to live an adventurous lifestyle, but you do have to search for your adventurer within. Learn to develop healthy habits on a day-to-day basis, and you’ll find yourself in the right physical state and mind-frame to reach your fullest potential. That balance of passion for adventure and healthy mind and body will make you the best partner, parent and professional you can be.
Set Audacious & Achievable Goals
Most professional athletes will tell you that the trick to achieving anything is to set one massive, audacious goal, and then work diligently with smaller daily goals to reach it. Let’s say, for example, you’ve always wanted to hike the 2,659 mile Pacific Crest Trail. The first thing you’ll need to do is make one big to-do list. Start ticking off items each week well ahead of your hike–such as setting hiking milestones 6, 3, and 1 month out, organizing food drops, saving extra income before you take leave–you name it, the list will be big. When you get in the habit of knocking out these mini-goals incrementally, you’ll suddenly find yourself a month away from the hike, well prepared, with nothing else to do other than to pack your bag. That’s how you build confidence and success one step at a time.
Always be Preparing
Similar to setting goals, what daily routines can you develop that will help you achieve your grand adventure? To prepare to climb Half Dome, maybe you start taking the stairs instead of the elevator to help train for the approach hike, you could put a squeeze ball in your car to work on grip strength. You could read up on proper fueling techniques and practice them every weekend to see what works best for you. Or it could be as simple as following a climbing blog you admire to help you stay committed. These are all habits you can establish so that when your upcoming adventure finally does roll around, you’re that much more prepared, both physically and mentally.
Knowing When To Stop
For some of us, knowing when to stop is perhaps the most challenging healthy habit of all. If you’re constantly aspiring to the next big thing, whether it’s summiting a new mountain, cycling longer and more difficult races, or competing in another local 10K, it might be time to take a breath and analyze your priorities. These achievements, while admirable and impressive, shouldn’t come before friendships, family or your personal well being. It’s healthy to indulge in your favorite food on Friday night with friends, and it is certainly healthy to listen to your body and cut a ride or a run short when something starts to hurt. Tap in to your intuition and take a scan–both mental and physical–and see if you’re ready for a recovery day. No adventure is worth sacrificing your health.
When I was running my first big tech company, ServerVault, in the dot com heyday I was out drinking nearly every night with employees, clients, partners, etc. I had more money than I’d ever had in my life, I was just married to a really fun woman, we didn’t have kids so could do anything at a moments notice. I took private jets to Kid Rock’s house for parties, we went to Vegas to see championship prize fights – flew out on a G5 and never got a hotel room, just flew back 24 hours later, I was hanging out back stage with Dave Mathews – it was a rock start life. At the same time I really valued being in shape, and wanted to keep my body strong; so I’d feel guilty about drinking, then get up early each morning (after being out late) and “sweat out” the five or six pints of Guinness from the night before and usually work a 12 hour day. It nearly killed me.
I ended up with a rare form of Leukemia and on the operating table fighting for my life. It took me a few years to learn truly healthy habits, and to really listen to my body, mind, and heart. That was all part of the journey of finding my adventurer within. I hope this starts you in the right direction too – tell me your story in the comments or what healthy habits you want to share!