Lists – Why Are You Doing This Again?

He’s making a list, and checking it twice,
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…

Even before I read “Appalachian Trials: A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail” by Zach Davis, I was an avid list maker and knew the power of making my intentions public, so these strategies were not new to me. In the book, Zach reinforced – no insisted, that all aspiring thru-hikers do these exercises and I agree. So without a lot of extra words, and without a lot of personal baggage attached, I will cut right to the essence of my of reasons.

Why Are You Doing This Again?

List #1 – I am Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail because….

  • Freedom
  • Adventure
  • Experience
  • Inspiration
  • Challenge
  • Retirement
  • Bucket list

List #2 – When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail I will…

  • Share observations and insights
  • Inspire others
  • Be an experienced thru-hiker
  • Move on

List #3 – If I give up on the Appalachian Trail I will…

  • Probably never have another opportunity like this one
  • Be disappointed
  • Be regretful
  • Probably have to start over and try again

Seriously, let your emotions run wild.

Yeah, I know, those lists are distilled, refined, and downright polite. I’m trying to keep this post “PG-rated”, but everyone has stuff that wears them down and even small things can become maddening after a while. Admit it, there are parts of your routine that drive you crazy. Dealing with toxic people, messy roommates, litter-bugs, waiting in long lines, rude and careless folks, overly competitive and aggressive types, people that are always right, over-crowded situations, and I could go on.

“The more emotion you invest in the lists, the more likely you will thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.”

But letting emotions run wild might get me in trouble… Okay, here’s an example. I hate the traffic in Atlanta and I am sick of risking my life among all those crazy a-holes. Yes, I have made a list of things that will happily be left behind, but for my eyes only.  You know the “carrot and stick” metaphor, the AT, and Katahdin is the carrot while the stick smacking me in the rear is the stuff on this list.  Just in case I need some extra motivation to get out of my tent and keep moving.

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