As the ball drops ushering in a new year it seems that we silently forget our unfinished goals with the prospect of making new resolutions, but sadly those too are often left undone. I know I have made plenty of “New Year’s Resolutions” that have lasted months, weeks, and sometimes even unfortunately short as days. I believe we all want to do better and we all want to be better, but making that happen is not always an easy process.
For me running and fitness has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember. Thankfully I can say that I have never found myself starting a new training plan or joining a local gym on January 1 only to lose interest by March. However, I’ve been far from perfect! Yesterday while out running I decided this year I would set some running goals, among other life improvement resolutions. I began thinking about what I wanted to accomplish through my running in 2014 and in doing so I realized that it had been 4 years since I had run an actual race (a Half to be accurate). I regularly log between 28 and 33 miles per week, but always with the intent of staying fit for mountaineering and backpacking adventures. I decided to make three goals that will hopefully add another dimension of purpose to my running: run another Half, run my first Marathon and run my first 50k Trail race.
I realize that some reading may see these as difficult goals, others may see them as easy, and others still may have made very similar goals already. However, the distance is really not what I want to discuss, it’s the finishing of the goals we set.
Each year seems to get shorter and shorter. For me it feels like I have less time to get done the things I want to accomplish, and that rings true with New Year’s resolutions. Now I have to add once again that I’m not perfect, heck, one year I resolved to stop eating candy; I lasted about 16 hours. Here are some goal setting tips to help you get out there and get things done.
- Write it Down! If your brain works like mine, then sometimes it’s difficult to remember what you ate for lunch yesterday, so remembering a goal for 365 days can seem like an impossible task. Make a space in your yearly planner or calendar for your goals and write them down so you see them often. You can even have your kids help you spice them up with glitter and paint, whatever helps you get them on paper.
- Break it Down. If you have never run a Half and your weekly mileage is 0-5 miles, a 13.1 mile race might seem like an impossible goal to attain, but it’s not! Look up some training schedules and choose a race later in the year that gives you ample time to build mileage. Then break it down even further. Write down what benchmarks you need to hit every month to reach your goal. Personally I like to set small goals each and every week that help me towards my monthly goals which feed my yearly goals.
- Work, Work, Work. Setting the goal and making the resolution is the easy part. That is probably why we are so good about resolving at the start of each new year, but by the same token, why we seem to be so good at not finishing. Just like building your dream home you start with an idea that gets put down on paper in the form of the a plan, or blueprint (that’s step 1). Those plans are then divided into smaller portions of work that need to be accomplished in a particular order (that’s step 2). Then comes the most difficult and most time-consuming stage of building your dream home, the work! Without working, and working hard, your dream home will never be built just as your goals and resolutions will forever be left undone.
These three steps have been the key to accomplishing many things in my life. I picked up a new planner yesterday (because I still like writing things down outside of my Google calendar), and my goals will be written and broken down to manageable benchmarks over the next few days.
So what do you want to accomplish in 2014? The only person stopping you is, well after all, you. Let’s get to work and not just start on our goals, but smile with the satisfaction of knowing we succeeded when we count down with the world as the big ball drops a year from now ending 2014.