I love spending time in the mountains. So a few weeks ago, I jumped at the opportunity to join a friend, my son and seven of his friends on a trip into the Uinta Mountains. This range sits about an hour east of our home in Park City, Utah.

We planned the trip to last three days with hikes of 10 to 13 miles each day. All of us carried heavy packs. On the second day, we’d set a particularly big goal: 13 miles, three mountain passes, 6,000 vertical feet and a one-mile side trip to the summit of Kings Peak.

At 13,528 feet, Kings Peak is the tallest mountain in Utah, and the entire ridgeline trail sits above the tree line. We had a clear view of the whole path, and it was a daunting sight. We all felt a little overwhelmed.

My son Sam commented afterward that he managed the hike by focusing on what was right in front of him. Instead of focusing on the peak or the trail far ahead, he chatted with his friends and paid attention to what was happening around him.

His strategy worked so well that I think he was a little surprised at how good he felt when we finished the hike. Yes, it was hard. But what appeared impossible in the morning turned out to be very manageable.

I know it’s clichéd to say that the best way to accomplish a major goal is one step at a time. But the adage acknowledges something vital. We can control the next step, but we can’t always control what comes after the next step. So why get worked up about what’s way out on the horizon?

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Written By: Carl Richards, nytimes.com