How much attention do you pay to your age? Do you start to feel low in the lead-up to each birthday, or do you disregard the number and focus instead on what you’ve done over the past year and plan to do in the coming year?
The fact is that with each year that passes, the old adage that we’re only as old (or young) as we feel becomes ever more important. It has a bearing on just about everything in our lives, from how we see ourselves and spend our time, to our relationships with others.
The answer isn’t necessarily to behave in an age-inappropriate way: more a case of taking note of what we want and are still able to do and not to let those meaningless figures get the better of us.
So how do we retain a youthful approach to life? If the last year or two have left you questioning your mental or physical capabilities, read on for some tips on tackling some of the challenges that may lie ahead.
Have Confidence in Your Ability
How many of us have tried to instil in our kids or grandkids the importance of confidence? Knowing that we can do something – and we usually can! – is absolutely key to achieving that goal. Some of us manage to carry that self-assurance with us through life, but it’s not unusual to see confidence waning as we grow older. It’s easy to feel undermined in the workplace and to feel overlooked in society as a whole.
As a result, perhaps we undervalue ourselves, underestimating what we can actually achieve. Some of our hiking holiday guests are initially wary of the prospect of covering 10 miles plus a day, although interestingly, many who start out on one of the lower level tours gain enormous confidence from the distances covered and frequently return a second year for a more challenging itinerary which, yes, includes mountains!
Prepare Mentally and Physically
But of course, confidence can be gained in all sorts of ways. As with any problem-solving process, once you’ve set the goal and broken down the steps to get there, the bigger challenges somehow become more manageable. Sort out what you need to do, and over what period of time, so you can mentally tick off things as you go.
If you’re embarking on something that’s going to challenge you physically, then ensuring that your body is ready for the challenge is very important. For something like a walking trip, there are all sorts of ways to prepare but the important thing is to build up gradually in order to reduce any chance of strain or injury, and regular stretching and Pilates will certainly pay off.
Enlist the Help of Friends and Support Groups
Whether you’re starting out with a new interest or embarking on an unfamiliar challenge, there’s nothing like the support of fellow companions to sustain you on your journey. Tell your friends or family about what you’re doing, and there’s a good chance that they’ll offer encouragement during your preparation phase.
If what you’re doing is a group activity, such as a hike, you’ll find that your fellow walkers are a great source of support – time whizzes past if you’re chatting to someone as you walk and have plenty of gorgeous scenery to admire together. Of course, if you are planning a physical challenge – or indeed climbing that mountain! – you need to make sure that there is professional assistance in the form of a group leader and support network to help if needed.
Recognise the Value of Incentives and Rewards
Unless we’re extremely self-motivated, some sort of incentive, however tiny, can go a long way in helping us to achieve our goal. When it comes to physical challenges, getting fit and knowing that we’re improving our overall health is a wonderful incentive. Reaching the top of a mountain peak, glacial lake or other landmark will also spur you on.
And in keeping with the current fixation with the number of steps covered each day, checking your steps or mileage covered in a single day or over a full week is guaranteed to drive anyone forward!
But when it comes to rewards, the odd treat and a little indulgence also goes a long way. After all, who can resist the promise of a delicious lunchtime picnic with a mountain view or a hot bath followed by a gastronomic dinner at the end of a glorious day of walking?
If that sounds like your sort of thing, take a look at our more challenging gastronomic walking tours to some of Italy and Australia’s most spectacular peaks.
Does your age bother you? Is there anything you’d like to do but feel held back by your age? What motivates you to take on new challenges?