2023: A Year On My Feet

Lone Hiker on rocky cliff
Quoddy Head State Park, Maine. Photo by Max Fitzgerald

Last year, I set a personal goal to walk or hike 2023 miles. It was a last-minute decision, sparked by a desire to shape up before a five-day backpacking trip in Iceland. I didn’t want to be the guy holding everyone back. Despite the cold and snow, I was consistently clocking 5-6 miles daily by mid-February. My routine involved pitch-dark stumbles through our nearby woods, causing my wife concern for my sanity but keeping me on track even as many other goals slipped away.

The journey taught me several lessons. First, success often hinges on factors being within our control. Unlike some of my other goals last year, choosing to go hiking was entirely up to me. Second, embracing an identity rather than just a goal makes success more likely. I wasn’t just trying to hike; I was a hiker.

Flexibility was my third lesson. Breaking up walks into smaller segments allowed me to meet daily targets without being rigid. It didn’t have to be perfect, just done. The fourth lesson hit home as I saw others around me battle health issues. Staying healthy became a powerful motivator, pushing me forward even on tough days.

By year’s end, I logged 2356 miles – equivalent to 90 marathons or the distance from Portland, Maine, to Reykjavik, Iceland – underscoring my final lesson: the cumulative power of small, consistent actions. Not every day felt significant, but every step counted.

As 2024 rolls in, I’m ready for new challenges. Iceland, here I come.

Down East Maine forest


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