As I think back to this time last year I remember it was when I was heavily prepping for my JMT trip that coming July. I had just gotten the permit for the trip and over the few months before I had been planning, but once I secured the permit I started down the path seriously. I say I secured the permit, because it's very hard to get a permit for the JMT and once I achieved it I realized that this crazy endeavor was going to happen. So I buckled down and did what I had to do, to do what I wanted to do. This mindset has aided me in my other adventures, too. When planning for these adventures I focus on a few key things.
1. Have a Goal.
Make sure that after exploring the options of what you're next adventure might be, you commit to what it will be. Once you find one that inspires you, commit to it, and tell yourself that this is what I am going to do. Then start down that path and makes sure you start down it early, I wouldn't recommend starting your planning a few weeks before.
2. Research, Research, Reasearch!
This, probably above all, is the token piece of information that needs to be remembered. I spent hours and hours reading blogs, books, maps, and many other things to plan for the JMT. This is what you need to do to build the confidence and mental acuity to properly carry out an awesome adventure. First, start with a simple Google search for what you are going to do, then go from there. Once you read accounts of other people's experiences where you are going you can narrow down you searches to more specific questions and concerns. It is vital that you stay with it and over the months until the time comes research and refer to what you've read before everyday so that when you get out there on the trails you are confident and prepared.
3. Don't be afraid to ask.
Ask around always. Friends and even heroes who have done what you plan are great resources. Social media is a great way to get in contact with people you don't know and remember they were all once where you are.
4. Know what you're dealing with.
Be aware of who you and what you plan to do, from the research I realized the beast that is the JMT and trained and prepared properly. So remember that procrastination or laziness will never pay off in the end. Realize that the pain will come, you just have to be ready.
5. Record and Outline.
Save the websites you visit, bookmark them, refer back to them. Write out what you plan, writing out something creates a direct connection to your brain and memorization. So make sure to outline and update your plans.
If you remember and follow these steps, trust in your own experience, no matter how limited, and train hard you will successfully and awesomely execute a beautiful and amazing experience wherever you're going. So go onward toward adventure!