How Training for a ‘Focus Goal’ Pushes you to Achieve Bigger Goals

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Everyone has big dreams.

People who live to see their dreams become reality usually achieve these things by changing the word ‘dream’ in their mind to ‘goal’, and get crankin. I dreamed my whole life of being healthy. I dreamed and I dreamed and I got nowhere, until suddenly it clicked (or maybe the gravity of being 272 lbs was enough to push it into place) and I set real goals and commit myself to them. My big goal has, for a very long time, been to reach 150 lbs. I’m about five lbs away now. By the time I hit that goal I will have dropped 122 lbs. That’s a whole human! (UPDATE: Achievement Unlocked!) I could not have gotten here if I hadn’t set multiple subdivided goals along the way. But most importantly, I could not have gotten here if I hadn’t set another large goal, unrelated but dependent, to push me along and keep my mind in the game. What is that large goal? How can it be both unrelated and dependent concerning my ‘main’ goal? How has it been a driving factor towards my success? Why and how can this apply to you? Read on, young padawan.

Training for goals will boost your life! Check out how at

So what have I been training for?

Well. I want to hike five hundred miles with upwards of 25 lbs on my back at altitudes ranging between 5,500-13,300 ft, in about a month and a half.

Excuse me, are you crazy?

Maybe. I prefer the term Tenacious (ahhh see what I did there?) To clarify, I intend to through-hike The Colorado Trail.
Colorado Trail

What is The Colorado Trail?

The Colorado Trail is a recreational trail running from Waterton Canyon (my young stomping grounds!) near Denver, Colorado to its terminus in Durango, Colorado. It runs for 486 miles through the mountainous center of Colorado, with an average elevation of over 10,300 feet (Low point: 5,520 ft, High point: 13,271 ft) It parallels for quite some time with the Continental Divide Trail. The average through hiker spends 4-6 weeks on the trail. Learn more details at

Photo courtesy of David Fanning of


What do you mean why? Why not is more like it! I literally cannot begin to fathom the personal growth this trip will spur me towards. Over a month of (mostly) solitary time testing my body and mind in the wild, mountainous regions of my gorgeous home state? If I could go now, I would. I’ve never done anything like this, it’s an incredibly motivating goal for me, and I believe it will be a suitable challenge

Photo courtesy of David Fanning of

How did this goal come to be, and how has it evolved?

I learned about the Colorado Trail in the late part of 2015. After reading up about it, I quickly set my mind to it. At that point I had gained thirty pounds back after losing an initial 70. I knew I could not start this endeavor so very overweight. I set my sights on starting the trail no more than 170 lbs. This goal completely revamped my motivation to get healthy. It may have been the biggest push to finally put me into the correct mindset. Knowing that I could not lose that amount of weight (60 lbs),or afford the trip for that matter, by the time the trail season came around that summer, I set my sights on departing for the journey in June of 2017.

Photo courtesy of David Fanning of

Late in 2016 I blew by 170 lbs and changed my goal to start at 160. 2017 rolled around and I have worked myself down to 155, so now I intend to start the trail at my goal weight of 150. . . Should be simple at this point, I only have five pounds to go. Recently, however, I’ve had to shift my plans to hiking the trail this summer to hiking it the summer of 2018. This is due to an exciting new prospect that I cannot take time away from this year.

Hiking the Colorado trail will be an amazing adventure for Charlie and I, a once in a lifetime for him…My plan is to take Charlie with me, though he is a special case and we will both have to train a little differently than most would. I’ll go over Charlie’s hindrance in detail with you all soon, but to sum things up; he has a mild growth deformity in his front legs that may (or may not!) pose an issue to his completing the entire length and duration of the trail. He certainly has the heart for it!

Charlie on the Colorado trail 2016
Charlie on the Colorado trail 2016

What have I done to train for this goal,and how has this helped me achieve my main goal?

Let’s step back a moment and rephrase – again my main goal has not yet been realized. But I’m something like 96.7% of the way there, and a huge portion of that has to do with training for the Colorado Trail.
As soon as I made the decision to hike the trail, I knew I had to begin training for it. What did that mean? Accumulating gear, getting used it, and adjusting to carrying it on my back. I researched what I would need for the journey and have slowly been picking quality gear up for cheap at clearance events and the like.

{Coming Soon – a working gear list for this, and other through-hikes. I’m working as an affiliate with REI and other great companies I believe in to bring you trust-worthy, quality gear for your adventures, at no extra cost to you! Read more about my policies here. In the meantime, I really recommend considering a , or browse and }

I grabbed an inexpensive day pack with a water bladder at Costco and started hiking small bits every day that I could. Then I picked up a Costco multi-day pack. It’s what I hike with now, I cannot say it’s great (and I definitely will have to upgrade soon) but it has done me a real solid as far as training goes. I started out carrying something like 8 pounds, then 13, I currently carry 19 on a daily basis. There isn’t much more room in this 45 liter pack, but I think with some creative mods I’ll be able to up it to around 25 lbs before I graduate to a more advanced system to continue upping my carrying capacity.       This past summer a close friend and I took a camping trip up to Clear Creek Reservoir for the chance to hop on a small section of the Colorado Trail. We ascended from camp for a small day hike from the north side of Clear Creek, southbound. At that point I had luckily picked up a clearance Osprey pack, and passed my Costco pack to her. I had dropped down to about 200 lbs by that time, but I learned very quickly, that was a lot of weight to drag up that mountainside, even with very little weight strapped to my back. This isn’t even a notably difficult section of trail.

I was very happy I had already picked up trekking poles, and divided between the two of us, they were of notable help assisting our inexperienced asses up (and back down!) that small section of trail. That little sobering experience taught me several things, but most importantly this; Very few things in my life have ever felt quite so right as being on that trail, and I had a massive learning and training curve ahead of me.

On the CT 2016
On the CT June 2016

I’m slowly attaining experience with the ins and outs of serious hiking and backpacking. I’m gaining confidence in my carrying abilities. Daily forays into nature with a purpose have kept my mind (mostly) clear through what has been a very trying and emotional year. My focus on this goal is perhaps the biggest reason I have been able to stay so on track with major weight loss. I have so much to learn, but I really credit finding this thing that I am so passionately geared towards for changing my life in an incredibly significant way.

My recommendation to you is this;

Make a big goal. Look through your dreams, or search around through your interests and focus on something that really interests you. Find out how it can challenge you, mentally, physically, emotionally – everything. The whole nine yards. Find that dream and change it from a dream to a goal. Maybe you want to complete marathons. Perhaps you want to summit mountains. Maybe you want to bike through your home state. It’s possible that you want to summit Everest. Whatever. Find a big dream, and make it a goal. That’s the first step.

Do your research!

Read about others who have undertaken this, or similar things. Read about their experiences. Find out how they prepared. Figure out what you need, when you need it, and why you need it. Decide where you as a person need to be before you make your official start. Set a game plan – how are you going to train for this? How are you going to set yourself up for success?

Photo courtesy of David Fanning of

Get the ball rolling!

Now that you’ve figured out the what, the why, and the how, you must do! Make progress everyday! Continue to research to keep yourself up to date and motivated. Get out there, meet your goals and turn your dreams into your reality. You literally have all the power to do this. Things don’t just happen to people. Work your ass for it. Make yourself proud. Create and build your life into something you can be proud of. Make it so that when you are a rambling old fool, people want to sit and listen to your tales. Make. It. So.

What do I do once that time has come and gone?

Do you mean what do you do once you’ve accomplished your goals like a hard-living badass? You set another goal, that’s what. Keep them coming! Don’t let your life pass you by, because it absolutely will. Time will pass, and it waits for no man (or woman)

Final thoughts

Dreams are just dreams until you make them happen. I hope you’ve taken away from this that you are in control of your story. I hope you understand that once you’ve really grasped this and take the lead, that amazing things will happen for you, as they have for me. That through trial and tribulation, if you just put your head down and drive yourself on through the torrent, you will push through to the other side. Dare to set your sights high, and just make that shit happen. Be Tenacious guys.

Charlie in Clear Creek
Charlie in Clear Creek

So what are your big goals?

What dreams are you aiming for? What do you think you’ll go forward and do? When are you planning to accomplish this? Furthermore, what have you already done? Be proud of your accomplishments, and be proud of your drive to reach them! Start a conversation with me and others below! We’d love to hear about it!

I want to say a special thank you to David Fanning at for allowing me to use some of his pictures from the Colorado trail! David and his website are an excellent source of information and experience on the CT. Check out his new book, Voices of the Colorado Trail!

Check out these articles, they shed more light on the various things I’ve done to change my life!




Now, for the disclaimer – I am not an adventure guide, personal trainer, doctor, nutritionist, or medical authority, this is meant to be only a source of information and inspiration, implementing these techniques into your daily life is something you do of your own free will and at your own risk.

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About Danielle

I'm a twenty something with a weakness for puppy kisses and horse breath, always seeking knowledge and adventure

2 thoughts on “How Training for a ‘Focus Goal’ Pushes you to Achieve Bigger Goals

  1. Hey Danielle! As a fellow adventurer who is just starting out, I have a few questions. What kind of gear do you invest in? What will you bring on the Colorado Trail? What kinds of training can I do to prepare for such a huge trail? Thanks for your time! Keep on kickin ass!
    1. Hello Candace, those questions leave open very broad answers ha. I'll answer as best I can, but a lot of it is variable. I tend to look for gear that is lightweight, but still offers the level of comfort I'm looking for. I generally opt for the second best option out there for a more economical approach. This is the type of gear I'll have with me on the CT. I'm still building my gear list for that trek, and changing it as my plans change, but I will write several posts as preparation gets more serious, so be sure to stay on the lookout for those. Preparation is key, start hiking with weight on your back at least once weekly. Build up your miles and weight as you go, and make sure to excercise at home! If you're doing the CT and you aren't from a higher altitude area, just know that you'll have to acclimate! Thank you for stopping in, I hope you stick around with us! Have a great day and happy training!

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