Posted on August 3, 2014 by


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ac·cli·mate verb \ˈa-klə-ˌmāt; ə-ˈklī-mət, –ˌmāt\

: to adjust or adapt to a new climate, place, or situation*

I grew up in Jackson Hole, WY (I know, I know…poor me) which sits at an elevation of 6500ft above sea level.

When I would visit my hometown, be it a trip back from college in Ann Arbor, or life in the city of Toronto or Boston, I would always feel the affects of the altitude change for the first few days of my visit.

Fatigue, dehydration, shortness of breath, feeling like I’d consumed an entire bottle of wine when really I only had a few sips, were expected hardships the first few days of any trip home.

Moving from a lower elevation to a higher one is a shock to the system and can be a little unnerving, if you aren’t prepared for it.


Stepping out of your box, raising the roof on your potential, and stepping over your self-imposed limitations to reach your goals can feel much like acclimating to a higher altitude. You may feel disoriented, challenged mentally and physically to the point that you feel like something is wrong with you, or that your goals are too lofty…maybe…like…you don’t belong there. 

Not true, sweet pea.

Your mind, body and soul simply need time to acclimate to life at a higher altitude!

Stay while.  It will pass. You WILL adapt.

The air is thinner up where your goals are perched, and it will take some consistent conditioning at lower elevations to reach them, and then even more fortitude to keep them in your grasp.

There is no escaping discomfort when it comes to moving closer to the person you have always wanted to be. When you strive to “do better” there are going to be obstacles and shitty days that make it really freaking hard to do the work necessary to get to where you said you wanted to go.

But even on those hard days, especially on those hard days, your physiology is adapting.

There is a reason that many athletes train at higher elevations; their biology has to work harder to survive where the air is thinner, and when they eventually compete in their sport at lower elevations, they perform far better than if they had stayed training in the lowlands!

The longer you practice living at a higher elevation, the easier it gets to do the things you once deemed “so difficult” or to say no to the things that use to feel like “such a sacrifice” to say no to.

Eventually, moving your body, eating healthy, taking time out to play, managing your stress daily, become as important as oxygen to you because you simply aren’t willing to sacrifice the glory of your performance or the views you have witnessed from the top.

Healthier habits will test how deep the well of your desire really is, but the longer you stay committed to executing them despite the trials, the sooner you will be reaping rewards beyond your expectations. Your initial goals will eventually feel small in comparison to all you have gained by pursuing them. And you will laugh that you chose to live at a lower elevation for as long as you did.

There is a significantly lower mortality rate for permanent residents at higher altitudes.  (says

But you already knew that, which is why you are working to do better, to rise higher. You know that there is an infusion of vitality associated with strong and consistent EFFORT.

Keep going, friend.

Keep going.

May you never cease to challenge the elevation at which you can live.

Courtney Headshot
Courtney Townley
Genesis Coach