Happy New Year Everyone! So here is my first post of 2014. And yes I am, like so many others, reflecting on the past year and preparing myself for the new. I have to say 2013 was… not awful. I know some people who had it pretty tough last year, so by comparison it wasn’t too bad for me. For me it was just…meh. No major milestones to report. Some small victories. Some minor disappointments. No biggies. I stayed very much in my comfort zone all year. I got Netflix and got caught up on lots of shows. I didn’t say I was proud. I’m not bragging here. It was a pretty ordinary year and I did very ordinary stuff.
I ran one race last spring. It was a 5k through cow fields and it was cold and muddy and I didn’t feel ready for it. I planned to run a 10k in the fall, but bailed on the training program about 6 weeks into it. Why??? Seriously. That’s the question I need answered. My motivation came and went all last year. And I noticed that when I was in a low-motivation period it might take me a good month to get back on track. That means I had to keep starting over again and again. That is no recipe for success.
Last year I wrote down a few suggestions (because I didn’t get around to actual resolutions):
- Pick a word to focus on (my word was mindfulness)
- Don’t go more than 2 consecutive days without exercise (that’s adorable! In that I never actually followed that one)
- Box in workouts (i.e. don’t look too far ahead on the training plan or else get overwhelmed). Just deal with the workout of the day and if it sucks then don’t let it discourage me from tackling the next one
- Exercise must be at the forefront of my mind. I cannot put it at the back of my mind, bottom of the list. I have to figure out how to exercise despite other people’s schedules
- PLAN. Plan meals, workouts, work stuff. Plan. Plan. Plan.
Those were pretty good suggestions. I still like them, and I wished I had been more mindful in following them in the past year. I had the best of intentions, as we all do. So, this year, 2014, I am feeling hopeful and optimistic. As I was last year, and the year before that, etc. Those of us who make new year’s resolutions, or suggestions, tend to be optimistic folk.
Believe it or not I happen to know a thing or two about setting goals. I help students set goals all the time. To set a good goal, one should follow the SMART acronym:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-based
That’s all well and good, but I need to figure out why I stop myself shy of the finish line, at least with my fitness goals. Well, I tend to focus on my own motivation, willpower, and self-control (or lack thereof). But maybe what I should focus on instead is setting smaller goals with smaller wins, finding ways to facilitate my goals, and monitoring myself better – checking in to see if I’m on track or not. And if I’m starting to stray how do I get back? I tend to be a relatively passive person, so I have to start playing more offense, so to speak. Plan, plan, plan. Use my times of high willpower to get me through my times of low willpower. I am a creature of habit. I like my routine, mostly. What I need to do is surround myself with the tools that will ensure my success. I mean they are my goals after all. Don’t I want to be successful? Just because I have mashed potatoes coursing through my veins doesn’t mean I can’t achieve a fitness goal or two. I just need to make some new routines and new habits.
Mindfully contemplating new goals,