One Hill at a Time

Written By Bob Hunt
Image of the Terry Fox memorial statue in Thunder Bay, ON
Photo: Calypso Orchid via flickr Creative Commons

In March I had an opportunity to visit the monument for Terry Fox in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I walked up the hill and through the snow to see an incredible journey captured in a brass statue.

As I stood at the base of the monument, I thought about Terry and his accomplishments. I reflected on the man and on the movie that bears his name. One scene from the movie has always resonated with me. It's a simple conversation with a police officer who is accompanying Terry on his journey. The officer comments on what a long distance Terry has left to run. Terry's brother takes the officer aside and explains that a big part of Terry's ability to run day after day is that he doesn't focus on the far off finish line. Instead, he focuses on the goal of the day. He takes one day at a time, sometimes even just one hill at a time.

There is wisdom in this approach. The difficult part of any big goal isn't the start when you have lots of enthusiasm, nor as we are heading down the home stretch and can see the finish line. It's the in-between stage, the middle part, that seems to go on and on and on. Maintaining our enthusiasm and energy to finish is where the challenge lies.

Focusing all our attention on some very distant goal can leave us feeling overwhelmed or bored. It's the monotony of the middle that milks our motivation. We can learn from Terry’s approach. Having short goals transported Terry through the long stretches of distance and time.

The next time you’re facing a long journey or a big goal, ask yourself: What would a series of manageable short goals look like for you? Then do what Fox did so well: Terry on.


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