You can’t do it if you tell yourself you can’t…

Me, on one of our many snowshoeing expeditions. This wasn't a "moonlight" one, though... I don't have a night-vision camera.

Me, on one of our many snowshoeing expeditions. This wasn’t a “moonlight” one, though… I don’t have a night-vision camera.

The Sharpe Family likes to snowshoe. Many times Carrie and I use it to get some quiet alone time together. It is also a great way to stay active in the winter and is a fantastic workout, burning about 500 calories per hour. Carrie’s Mom and Dad have some great property for snowshoeing. Their property is full of trees and hills, so it makes for beautiful scenery and an insane sweat-inducing workout. Winter is long here in Northern Michigan, so there is ample opportunity for snowshoeing adventures.

One event we discovered is “moonlight snowshoeing” at a nearby state park. It starts around 7pm and takes you on about a 2-mile trek through the woods in the dark. Shortly after you get moving your eyes adjust, and you can see clearly around you. This makes for a really great experience and a great workout. It’s amazing how beautiful everything looks in the moonlight.

The first one we attended, we took all our kids. All seven of us made the journey, and I was our 4-year-old twin girls’ horsepower to get through the trails. I pulled them behind me in a sled as they are a little too small for snowshoeing. At one point on the journey, the girls picked up branches from the trail and were yelling giddi-up as they pretended to whip me like a horse. Of course, everyone around us thought this was so very funny. I feel for the boys that try to date these two in the future.

At the start, a large number of people showed up for this event. I estimate about 50-60 people arrived to take this walk in the woods by moonlight. We got things started, and Carrie took two of our kids with her, and I stayed at the back with my older son so I would not get in other peoples’ way with the sled. This is where things got interesting on two fronts.

The first were my thoughts as I was pulling the sled with my girls in it. It was not ten minutes into this that I started to get very tired and have thoughts of just turning around and waiting for Carrie and the kids to finish. Snowshoeing is tough on its own, and I was finding pulling the 60-70 pounds of girlpower behind me really started to wear me out. My excuse list for not finishing this began to build fast.

Secondly, I began to notice groups of people here and there that stopped, and I was passing them with my son and the girls in tow. Step by step, more and more people were stopping, and I could hear them saying out loud the list of excuses I had been going over silently in my head to justify why I needed to turn around and quit. After the third or fourth cluster of people I passed, my resolve kicked in and I just kept taking one step at a time. By the time I hit the halfway point, it was still hard but I knew I could finish and I really enjoyed the rest of the time out there.

To make a long story short, we met up with Carrie and the kids and a couple of other people, and we finished the trek, beating everyone to the end. The part that made me take notice was when we made it back to the parking lot. Out of all of those people who started, maybe 12-15 people actually finished that entire two-mile journey.

Not too long after that first event, Carrie and I joined with some friends without the kids to do this again. This time the event was packed with at least 100 people. This time we made sure we were at the lead with the Ranger who was breaking trail. We went farther this time, and we were in the lead for the entire journey. Just like last time, only 15-20 people completed the 2.5-3 mile trek.

The numbers at the end gave me a picture of perseverance.

I tell you this story to give you the reminder that regardless of the task or situation that lies before us, the principle of persevering will never change. The successful people in life are not necessarily the ones who are the most talented, gifted, or lucky. The successful people are the ones who just keep going regardless of how tough the situation they face may be. They believe they can do it, and they continue on until they do. Snowshoeing is tough, but it is mainly mind over matter. Our bodies can continue long after our minds think we can. I can pull 70 pounds of twins on a sled while snowshoeing 2+ miles if I tell myself I can. If I tell myself I can’t, then I can’t.

We just need to keep going.

How about you?

Is there something you think you cannot accomplish? Are you quitting on a goal that you really want to achieve? What kinds of conversations are you having with yourself in your head? If you want to achieve something, don’t give up. Tell the negative conversation in your head to SHUT UP, and then keep moving forward. Persevere. Be in it for the long haul. You are capable of more. We can all do better. Whether it’s snowshoeing or anything else in life, we achieve about as much as we tell ourselves we can.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are correct.”

All the best,

A positive thought for today:
James 1:2-4 – New Living Translation (NLT)
Faith and Endurance
2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.