Start Now Where You Are

It’s Step One In Your Wellness Journey

“Are you crazy?!?

That’s the typical response I get when sharing with friends that I’ve signed up for the 29029 Everesting Challenge. This coming August, I’ll have 36 hours to climb the equivalent height of Mt. Everest in Whistler. I’ll hike up the mountain, take the gondola down, and repeat 8 times until I’ve trekked all 29,029 feet over the course of three days. I won’t be doing it alone, but I’ll probably be among a small handful of septuagenarians attempting this feat. At 72 years young, if there’s one thing I’ve learned through the decades is that the key to achieving seemingly impossible goals is to take it one step at a time. And to start long before you (think) you’re ready.

When I first heard about the 29029 Challenge from fellow fitness enthusiasts, I was immediately intrigued. I was IN. Not because I want to prove I can climb the same number of steps as Everest (although that’s pretty cool, right?). But because I knew preparing for and undertaking such an audacious goal would reignite my passion and provide renewed motivation on my personal wellness journey. As with many people, the pandemic left me feeling like my workout routines were stuck in boring autopilot. Don’t get me wrong, I was no couch potato even through the worst of the pandemic (and long, cold Utah winters). That possibility is not part of my DNA, but I craved to open a door to life in brilliant Technicolor again. I needed something to rekindle that zest, to have something to look forward to, and to practice what I’ve longed preached.

The very moment I heard about 29029 last year, my mind cast back to the thrill of running my first marathon in 1975 when I was among a scant group of women in a sea of nearly a thousand men trudging to the finish line. Through that brutal wall at the 18th mile and toward the end, it was about putting one foot in front of the other without thinking about the pain and the dreadful feeling that I wasn’t going to make it.

But I did. I crossed that finish line, and ever since, I’ve checked several more boxes in the adventure category—scuba diving into caves, sky diving from planes, walking the 500-mile Camino, and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro at 20,000 feet.

Now, I find myself again pushing limits in this Everesting Challenge. Will I make it? Can I cut through the mental chatter of resistance and doubt to reach the proverbial summit?

Here is my first little trick. I don’t focus on the uncertainties of it all because that only invites unnecessary anxiety, soul-crushing insecurity, and will not determine whether this will be the best four months…because it is so much more than finishing.

That first marathon taught me a lot and became a metaphor for my life and career. I discovered what all marathon runners know, especially the slow ones:  It’s not about the sprint. It’s not about how fast you’re going. It’s about being in it for the long haul…and adopting a mindset that will get you there. The wall is in your head, and you can do so much more than you think you can. But you do have to start—that first step is the hardest, most significant hurdle to clear. Push those fears and excuses aside. Have faith you can figure it out along the way. The day I signed up for 29029 and awaited my training instructions (oh my, what did I just enter?), my first step was complete. Now I’m in motion.

Over the next four months, I’ll be sharing my 29029 training journey with all of you through blog posts and newsletter updates. My aim is to inspire and motivate you, whether you’re taking on a big bucket list challenge of any kind, or simply recommitting to walking around the block daily. Even though my training days are just beginning, I’ve already noticed improved foot strength, reaction time, energy levels, and no joint pain. Best of all, I’m excited to get out of bed in the morning and focus on the things that will ensure my success, whatever that success means.

The Chinese proverb rings true: a journey of 1,000 miles starts here and now. No matter where you are or what you plan to accomplish, use these 3 basic tools to launch forward and keep you going:

1) Break It Down: The first step is to chunk your big goal into small, achievable action steps. Those steps should be specific and realistic based on your current habits. Rather than “lose 10 pounds,” your goal might be “stick to my sugar budget today.”

2) Practice Patience: Dramatic, profound change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience to build new habits and sustain them over time. Don’t get discouraged – adjust your approach as needed and celebrate small successes along the way. 

3) Don’t Think You Can, Know You Can: Having an unwavering belief in your ability to succeed is crucial. Voice your goals out loud (in front of a mirror!), write them down, and continue reinforcing and visualizing your endpoint. You CAN do this!

And remember, as that old adage goes once echoed by Martin Luther King Jr., you don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step. Just get going.


So lace up your shoes and let’s get started together! One foot in front of the other, making sustainable progress over time – that’s how we’ll all reach our wellness goals. I’ll be right here cheering you on and sharing my own hurdles, breakthroughs, and hopefully…a nice view.