The Best Time of the Year!

I know that Christmas gets all the good press for being “the most wonderful time of the year,” but personally, I prefer New Year’s.  It’s a time of fresh beginnings, a time for “do overs.”  It’s a time to challenge myself and set some fresh goals or a time to up the ante on an old goal.

Last year (2011), I set a fitness goal for myself: I aimed at walking and/or running at least 700 miles for the year.  In 2010, I had recorded over 500 miles of running or walking and so I thought 700 miles was a good number to properly challenge myself while still being realistic.  I have a habit of recording my mileage in an Excel spreadsheet, so it was no big deal to keep up with my miles.  I had even gone so far as to figure out how many miles a month I needed to run in order to reach my goal.

For some reason that I cannot account for, however, it was not until a couple of weeks ago – the middle of December – that I checked my mileage total and realized that I was over 50 miles short of reaching my goal!  I was quite surprised, as I had thought I was right on schedule.  Apparently, I had fallen way short of my monthly goals on a couple of occasions and had not realized that I had not made it up.

I reviewed the situation and decided to go for it.  I knew that my body would not tolerate running that 50+ miles in a two-week period, so I started walking every other day.  I even threw in a couple of hikes to get in the mileage.  And on December 30, with a day to spare, I finished my 700 miles down to the hundredth of a mile!

If I hadn’t set that 700-mile goal, I would have continued on at the same comfortable–aka, non-challenging–pace of the previous year(s).  But because of my goal, I stretched myself a little (even prior to the last two weeks of December!).  I added some significant miles to my weekly regimen, I improved my pace (speed) by a few seconds, and I maintained my weight throughout the year.  Besides the physical benefits, the consistency that I built in the running part of my life overflowed into practically every other area of life, as well (i.e., I became consistent in areas that are not related to running).  I could literally feel the benefits of the activity in my body, mind and emotions.

Some people are skeptical or downright critical about New Year’s Resolutions and setting goals, saying things like, “Resolutions are made to be broken,” and “I don’t set goals so I won’t fail at them.”  But here’s what I have experienced: I increase my capacity and accomplish more by stretching towards something that is just a little beyond my grasp than I do  by plodding along in my same-old-same-old routines.  Even if I had totally forgotten about my 700-mile goal until the end of December, I would have still logged 150 more miles this year than last.  My goal would have still stretched me even if I had “failed.”

So this year, as always, I have set some fresh goals for myself.  Of course, they’re not all related to fitness and exercise.  I have spiritual goals, mental goals, business goals, financial goals, and even goals related to this blog.  You might have guessed that; this is New Year’s Day and this is my very first post.

How about you?  Are you a resolution-maker?  Do you set goals every year?  Do you find that you accomplish more even if you don’t necessarily fulfill your goal completely?  I’d love to hear your feedback.

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6 Responses to The Best Time of the Year!

  1. Sue W. says:

    You’ve challenged me. I would say I am one that falls into the category of ‘if I never fully try, I never really fail’ ..don’t quite know where that came from but I’m sure it is linked to performance and it is a robber, to say it mildly, and a totally inaccurate way to live. If you never set a goal, you really have no benchmark to compare your success or accomplishment to and therefore you never really fail. How chicken is that!! In considering goals, I would say that keeping a focus on the overall benefit and not the tick list, that’s its good for my life and not just something I need to accomplish would put proper perspective to it and keep my motivation going. If I really try, then I don’t really fail regardless of what the ‘tick list’ says.

  2. Diane says:

    I agree, Sue. It’s not so much about the ticking off a “to do” as it is about stretching myself so I don’t become complacent. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Cindy Lofton says:

    Diane- Can’t begin to tell you how challenged & encouraged I am by your process. I just need to buckle down and set some goals. I have ALWAYS avoided setting goals in the past, I think due to fear of failure mixed in with plain old laziness. I’ve been asking God to increase my capacity lately, so when you mentioned that in relation to the benefits of goal-setting, that was my sign that I must do it. I see the need now more than ever to reach beyond my comfortable routine. Thank you for paving the way. I still can’t get over 700 miles! (btw- love the tree lined drive pic at the top- that’s one of my favorite things)

  4. Diane says:

    Cindy, Thanks so much for the commenting. I apologize for just now responding. I wasn’t aware you had commented. I’m still learning the ins and outs of this blogging stuff! 🙂

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