Leveling Up

Almost every long distant hiker I’ve talked to says they have struggled with reentering into society, and I think it’s due to a loss of direction.  I’ve come to the realization it’s so easy and almost natural to lose site of where we’re headed in life.  We get caught up in the busyness of the western world and lose all our momentum.  We need to know where we’re headed or at least know what signpost we are headed to; otherwise we become reactionary in life, instead of engaging the world in a proactive manor.

Shortly after I returned home from the PCT I read a book entitled The Happiness of Pursuit which tells the tales of ordinary people who take on extraordinary quests.  Some of the quests fall in the epic adventure category such as running a marathon in every state in the US. Others’ quests focused on improving lifestyles, such as preparing a weekly meal from a different country with the goal of making a full meal from every country on the planet.

The author shared a story about a man who devoted his life to video games until one day he decided to get off the couch and live his life as though his life was an actual game with a plot and objectives.  The gamer created a whole system to work within, and after completed a certain number of tasks and adventures he would ‘Level Up’ and proceed to a new level with slightly more difficult objectives.

Defined goals help us make progress and live a proactive life. The other day, my running app told me I had run my fastest 10K, and I then noticed the app has a tab that shows all of the various “trophies” I had collected on my various runs.  Apparently I need to run six more miles and I’ll make it to the 250 kilometer ‘Level,’ and my app will change from the orange background to green…how exciting! Ok, so I don’t really care about what color my running app becomes, but I’m a true believer in setting goals and overcoming them.  

I’m all about the numbers.  If you have known me for any period of time you know I’m always sharing distances, elevation gains, and similar statistics. I’m not trying to brag, I’m just excited when I have tangible results to my hard work. No matter what you want to move towards in life, whether it’s a fitness goal or a healthier relationship you need some form of metrics to evaluate progress.  I encourage you to develop some analytics for the areas you want to work on and weekly evaluate your defined progress.

Where are you headed in life, or maybe more specifically what are you going to do in 2015? What are some levels you can create to help you make progress on your objectives?