Last month, on Canada Day, I decided to bring John to Whistler with my friend’s family.  We had not been traveling since last year due to COVID-19. Now, many people have received the vaccine, including us, and the travel policy has been expanded to 6 people. So we decided to escape from Vancouver and visit Whistler. 

One of the important plans for the trip was to hike at Joffre Lakes. Joffre Lakes consists of a hike to 3 lakes and is located north of Pemberton. It is about a 55 minutes drive from Whistler.  I heard from my friends that it is a beautiful provincial park and I hadn’t visited it before.

On July 1st, we left the hotel for Joffre Lakes. It was Canada Day. The temperature was high, which was around 28-30 degrees. We were excited and looking forward to the hike. The pictures on Google look AMAZINGLY pretty with the pure blue water and the peaceful lakes.

The hike is around 10 km. Usually, it will take 3.5-5 hours in total, and it will take 1.75 hours to the second lake and 2.5 hours to the third lake. The first lake was not far from the parking lot. It took us a few mins to arrive there. 

However, the trail becomes steeper and harder to the second lake. It’s a steady uphill climb with lots of unpaved trails and rocks. John and the other 12-year old girl started to say that they wanted to go back to the parking lot, and they didn’t think they could finish it. 

I looked at the trail, and it seemed the trail was quite long and endless ahead. The climb was quite challenging for my level as well. I hadn’t hiked this long and at this difficulty level for a while. The last time I did a similar type of hiking was 3+ years ago with my MBA classmates. 

However, we wanted to see the beautiful lakes. And hiking was a bit of a challenge for that day. How could we stop there and go back to the parking lot? 

I started to encourage the kids by saying that we had finished 10% after 15 minutes, and we were 10% closer to the second lake. And then I reminded them another 10% every 15 minutes. The reality that we kept progressing was encouraging and motivating. We all felt hope from the 10% win every time I announced one. After 30%, we decided to take a water break for a few minutes.

I found that leveraging the “small steps” goals can make them easier to achieve. I also used the “small steps” for myself that day. I temporarily forgot the 10km but looked at a target ahead of me. It could have been a big rock 15 meters away or a giant tree that I could arrive at in a few mins. Every time I arrived at the target, I felt there was a small achievement I had. After lots of small wins, we finally arrived at the 2nd lake in 2 hours. Then the 3rd lake in another 25 minutes or so.

We all got the reward when we arrived by the stunningly beautiful lakes. The glacier-fed lakes looked spectacular!!! It took my breath away when I first saw them. How could we have seen these unique and beautiful lakes in person if we didn’t insist on climbing? 

Joffre Lake

After the hike, the small steps and nearer goals were a new finding that I learned from the journey.

In our lives, we always make goals, such as a 1-year goal, 3-year goal, or 5-year goal. One day I got inspired by an audiobook because people usually make lots of goals as new year resolutions before the end of a year. In the first week of the new year, lots of people carry out their new year resolutions just like flags on their plan. However, after that new year is coming to the end, people look at their goals and find the goals were poorly achieved.

I made such goals, too. At the end of the year, I usually wrote 8-10 goals for the next year. One of the goals was to read 12 books a year at a minimum, which means 1 book per month. Another goal was to write 12 blogs per year, which also means 1 blog per month.

However, one day I paused in the middle of the year and checked my goals. I found I was quite far away from achieving them. As of now, it’s the end of July, this is only the 5th blog I am writing now. It means I missed 2 blogs in the last seven months. 

The reflection from the hiking was that the good method I used was to break my goals down into quicker and easier goals, then I didn’t feel it was too difficult to finish the 10 km hike.

The “small steps” method could be reflected in our big goals or long-term goals. We can split our long-term goals into short-term goals, such as weekly goals, monthly goals, etc. 

It’s also easy to find out if sometimes our goal completion rate was lower, possibly because some of our small goals, such as monthly goals or weekly goals, were not done.

Let’s remember to make small goals and small steps in order to achieve our long-term or big goal. 

Small Steps
Small Steps