Let’s Try This Again: New Year’s Goals

by Rebecca on December 29, 2011

The last New Year’s resolution I remember making — and keeping — was in middle school, when I resolved to never yawn with my mouth open again.  What?  It’s rude to throw out a big-mouth yawn when someone is talking!  I succeeded with that resolution — until I realized that when I yawn with my mouth closed, I look a little bit like my face is about to peel back, soon releasing from my mouth an alien who has taken residence in my body.

I now simply cover my mouth when yawning.

Since that pre-adolescence resolution, I have made a few attempts at more worthy New Year’s goals, — like exercising more — but like 99 percent of the nation (I’ve never been good at statistics, so I just make them up), I always end up falling short when I make New Year’s resolutions.

So I hadn’t even considered joining the ranks of my fellow resolution-making Americans this year — until a few days ago.  My friend Alina, who is now a fitness coach after amazingly transforming her body with healthy lifestyle choices, asked Facebook friends about their New Year’s goals.

One of her friends said she plans to run 1,000 miles in 2012, which averages out to about 20 miles per week.  When I read that, I guffawed.  I wasn’t guffawing at her friend (that would be rude — and I certainly wasn’t yawning with my mouth open at her either).  I guffawed simply because that sounds like insanity to me and my abilities.

But it got me thinking.  I am a new runner, and I really, really, really love it.  Plus, I finally got some new, attractive running shoes.

So why not make a running goal for the year to keep myself motivated?  I’ve made a gazillion fitness goals over the years, and have never stuck to them.  But I like the idea of setting a mileage goal.  Normally my goals are more along the lines of, “I plan to run X amount of times per week.”

Inevitably, something comes up: a holiday, a vacation, a kidney stone from Hades… and all of a sudden, I’ve fallen off the goal wagon.  Once off that wagon, I find it incredibly difficult to get back on.  It’s not logical, but when I miss a goal, it makes me want to give up completely, rather than try again.

So instead of committing to something that will most definitely not happen (i.e., running three times a week every week), I’m going to try and run 300 miles in 2012.  That averages out to about six miles a week, which means two miles three days a week.  If I get sick or feel lazy one week and don’t end up running, it will be ok because my goals won’t be missed.  I’ll just have to adjust my mileage in the weeks to come!

I’m working on a fancy schmany sticker chart to hang on the wall by the treadmill to track my progress.  Stickers helped my daughter learn to use the toilet, do her chores and stay in bed at night.  You can tell me a sticker chart is juvenile, but I’m pretty sure something that can produce those results in a toddler has magical powers.  Abra-cadabra — wish me luck!

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