I’m not quite sure what it is about the beginning of a new calendar year that makes people want to overhaul their lives. Why not do this on our birthdays, when we really are beginning a new year of our lives? Is it the idea that we all sort of start the new year together with a blank slate, ready to fill with new experiences and memories? Or perhaps it is the feeling that it’s easier to measure our accomplishments (and failures) in a calendar year and gives us a little something extra to do and reflect upon during the holiday season. Regardless of the reason, I, too, participate in the practice of setting goals and making changes in my life every January first. Society tells us that January is a new beginning, so therefore it feels like one.
As such, I’ve established another year’s worth of goals which I’d like to accomplish this year, my 35th. I’m a week late, but as the saying goes, better late than never, right?
I’ve tried to avoid the quintessential weight loss and money-saving goals this year. After all, I don’t have a (paying) job and I’ve actually lost ten pounds in the last three months. Instead, I’ve tried to focus on self improvement, my relationships with people, and of course, running.
And now, the list:
Self-improvement / Personal Goals:
Waste less. This goes for food, time, money, and resources. I try to use all of these things wisely, but I know I can do better.
Read more. I love to read. Yet I don’t do it nearly as much as I used to. It’s time to change that.
Stay in touch. A friend of mine once told me that even if you only have ten minutes, it’s enough time to make a phone call. Write an email. Write a card. My friends and family are worth it.
Explore. We are pretty limited in our ability to see much beyond a few miles’ radius here in Matamoros, but we also know that our time here is limited. With only seven months left, I’ve made it a goal to visit at least three places in Mexico before we leave for good in August. First up on our list: The Yucatan peninsula, next week.
Find something meaningful to do once we leave Mexico. Our time here will come to an end before we know it, and along with that, my current teaching position. I am not yet sure what I will do in Washington, DC, where we will as of September 1st, but I know I want it to be meaningful. This is a vague goal and I know it… but I’m keeping it on the list as a reminder to myself.
Running / Fitness Goals:
Stay healthy and injury-free. This goal speaks for itself.
Track every mile. In a typical year, I decrease my mileage for a month or two between major races and sometimes take a little break altogether. During this time, I usually get lazy about tracking my miles. The result is an inaccurate number of miles that I have run in a year. Why does it matter? I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t. But I like to count my miles, and this year I’ll be counting all of them.
Build strength. Admittedly, this is one of those goals that makes the list every year and often gets shoved to the wayside. I want this year to be different. The fate of my bum left knee depends on it.
Run a strong Austin Marathon in February. Yes, of course I want to run a personal best. Of course I want to qualify for Boston. But in order for either of those to happen, I first have to run a strong marathon. To me, that means feeling well throughout the race, leaving everything I have that day out on the course, and still being able to smile at the end of it. Based on my training so far, I think I am on the right track for that. And if I end up with a personal best or a BQ, that would be a dream come true.
Run a personal best at FANS. FANS is an ultramarathon that takes place in Minneapolis in June. There is a 24-hour option and a 12-hour option. This year, I see that the race organizers have added a 6-hour option. I have run the 12-hour race twice, in 2011 and 2012. The idea is simple: run as far as you can (or want to) in twelve hours. It’s a low-key event with great support and tasty snacks, and was actually the genesis of this blog, back in 2011 when I started training for my second FANS race. So there, I’ve said it. I intend to run the FANS 12-hour race again in 2014, and I’d like to run a personal best. For me, that would be anything more than 50.79 miles. More importantly, I’d get to see my friends in Minnesota.
Eat to run. I’m not 20 anymore. I’m not 25… not even 30. I can no longer eat cookies for dinner and “run it off” in the morning. I’ve spent the last three months (with a little leeway during the holidays) trying to improve my diet, and I intend to continue. Small changes, like replacing potato chips with homemade kale chips, limiting alcohol, and eating egg whites instead of whole eggs, have resulted in a ten-pound weight loss and faster running times. I like it.
And there it is, my official list of goals for 2014…. or at least the ones that I feel comfortable sharing in a public forum. Putting these goals in writing will keep me accountable to them. I’d love to look back on this list on December 31st having accomplished all of them, or at the very least, knowing I made my best effort.
Thank you for reading!