Happy 2024! I hope you ran, swam, biked, or paddled your way into the new year safely and enjoyably. I know I did. I was able to run the traditional New Year’s Day local 5k, then worked on some finely crock potted pork-n-sauer kraut. It’s gonna be a good year!
I’d like to start the new year by asking you a question – did you establish any new year’s resolutions? You know, the thing where you pledge to make wholesale changes in the way you eat, work out, interact with others, don’t interact with others, etc… And did you notice who was the title sponsor for this year’s Rockin’ Eve celebration? Planet Fitness! I smell a resolution for some corporate folks.
Now, my next question – as a runner, did you establish any goals for the coming year? You know, break the world record in the 5,000m or win the Pikes Peak Marathon, OR something somewhat sane like try a new race distance or setting a PR in the mile? By the way, those personal goals rarely have corporate sponsors. Pity.
I’d like to ask you a favor. Please give up that resolution now… right now! Replace that pesky pledge with an achievable goal that gives you something to work towards and a sense of accomplishment when you get there. And if you don’t get there? It doesn't smack you as a failure but rather asks for you to work harder or smarter, or both.
In my 60 years, I have never established a resolution. I’ve been asked to be a part of joint pledges by friends and family, in the hopes of the ‘teamwork makes the dreamwork’ mentality. Personally, I think it was more ‘misery loves company’ for when the failure hits (not if but when).
But goals… ah, I could talk about goals all day long. My past goals have included running the Boston Marathon (my first was in 1987), participating in the Hood to Coast Relay (did it in 2015 on a team of other 50+ geezers… we placed 26th out of 1,100), and breaking a 5-minute mile when I turned 45 (I kid you not, I ran five races between 5:00 and 5:02 that summer… never quite made it).
To me, goals have a life. Goals have a give and take. Goals have a pathway to success. Resolutions don’t. As a lifelong runner, I want that pathway to success, not the road to failure. Of course, I could probably run on both.
So be kind to yourself this year. Establish some well-thought goals AND the plan to get there. Without the plan, it really is a glorified resolution, after all. Failure to plan is a plan for failure, I believe is the mantra. Setting a goal is setting yourself up for success. And after all, isn’t that was our running journey is all about?
Oh, and I did once make a new year’s resolution that I have kept. I resolved to never make another new year's resolution.
I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails.