On with the New Year, Easy on the Goals

Only 11 days inside the New Year and many of us are already stressing 2018 Goals. If you mean to begin how you want or expect things to end, then this does not bode well for those of us indulging this early in a stress fest. This is why I’ve opted to do things a bit differently this year; instead of my “a million things to-do list,” I’ve opted to keep it simple by having one over-arching goal of managing my time and finances wisely to be better able to do things that really matter (this year) and add value to my life. This has cut down a typically sizeable list to two main goals with strategic steps to get me there with minimum stress.

I am mindful that managing my time and finances wisely doesn’t necessarily translate into success but will require a steadfast and systematic approach to acquiring the art of saying no. No to things that seem appealing, desirable, and irresistible even. No to things that do not add value and gets in the way of me achieving financial satisfaction and causes me to spread myself too thinly across an array of feel-good, do-good obligations. This systematic approach involves noting where I hope to be when December rolls around and listing tactics like: making monthly spending budgets, Starting a savings plan, and utilizing a calendar approach to keep track of my training, races, gym work, hours of sleep, and overall health.

I am not fooled into thinking this is an easy switch. On the contrary, this concentrated effort is probably going to impose constraints on my otherwise free-spirited lifestyle. But, I’m convinced this is the way forward if I stand any chance of achieving a sense of purpose and self this year. I’ve dedicated this month to etching out my plan and to enlist ways to hold myself accountable, thus creating some breathing room to allow me to focus within the limits I have constructed. I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say I’m a tad intimidated by the whole affair. On the other hand, I recognize it as necessary as running. While I’m not one to dwell, the lesson learnt last year RE the limits to my super powers (I’m still getting comfortable with this notion that I’m simply human and can only do so much and not all at once) is one I intend to make work for me this time around.

Here’s to making it happen this year, one goal at a time! ūüćĽ

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It’s Running Goals Time

Body I0

  Body I0

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this:

To rise above the little things.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† – John Burroughs

Each year we put ourselves through the wringer establishing goals that are all too often dreams we wish would come true. I’m so guilty of this. I figure why settle for the stars when men have walked on the moon, only, they would have had just that one goal in mind when planning. Not so I. Rather, I’m one to have many spoons in different pots – so to speak – and well.. honestly, that never has turned out quite right. In other words, being an overachiever is not such a good thing most of the time. You would think I’d know better, hell I write about SMART goals every year! What is it about not being able to see your faults but being able to identify the shortcomings of others? I’m hoping this new year will inspire me differently, that the goals I aspire to will ground me, keep me focused and ensure the wise use of my time.

If my record is anything to go by, I’m a tad bit out there and in dire need of keeping it real. I’ve tried to stay as simple and attainable as I can and in so doing aim to get the following done:

1. Run a 2:30 finish at the Boston Marathon
2. Develop my strength and fitness by completing a cross fit program
3. Finally get into a swimming program RE summer sprint triathlon
4. Log my miles daily – really stick with it this year
5. Run the NYC Marathon as a charity project
6. Run at least one destination marathon
7. Qualify for the NYC Marathon 2018 and PR with a half marathon
8. Volunteer running time once a week from the Spring
9. Develop a better sleeping pattern: bed by 11pm during week days and…
10. Read more running literature to gain more knowledge of the sport
When coming up with this list I’ve tried to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) as in the past, only this time I’ve carefully considered the factors that could hinder me from following through. And, save death, illness, injury or some other inconceivable threat, there’s really no obstacle that can get in the way of my success. I’ve got faith, determination and the endless will to succeed; this year is gonna be ridiculously amazing! May it be the same for you.
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New Year, New You or Clich√©?

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No one puts aside time and make the effort every year’s end to come up with a set of goals that they plan on never seeing to fruition. Truth is, by the time January 1st comes along we’re totally excited about putting the old year behind us and stepping into what we perceive as a new opportunity, another chance to make some changes or get it right – if you will. And why shouldn’t we? The new year does indeed provide an opportunity for a fresh start for many of us. The startling, but then, not-so-startling, thing is why when fostered by so much determination, strength of purpose and the personal drive to realize our goals at the beginning of the year do they fall through? And oftentimes when we’re less than halfway into the year. Survey results show that an average eight percent of our new year goals are achieved by the year’s end. What is it that causes us to fall by the wayside leaving goals, resolutions, determinations – however you see them – as dissapointing slivers of what-could-have-been-if-only-I-had-the-wherewithal-to-stick-with-it.

Chances are we may already have a fair idea for the reasons behind our inability to follow through, but I’ll go ahead and posit anyway that those very said goals that we are bent on achieving at the beginning of the year need to be mainly two things: realistic and subject to time constraints. This is the reason why many psychologists and other professionals agree that goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. I particularly latch on to realistic and time-bound because we need to be clear on the difference between dreams and goals as this can mean the difference between success and disappointment.
Dreams fall somewhere along the lines of fanciful and wishful. While many dreams do and can come throug it may not be prudent to set a dream you have as something you would like to achieve in a year’s time. Because a dream is inherently lacking in direction, focus, strategy, planning and sometimes even in reality it does not fulfill the “SMART” criteria and can be viewed as setting oneself up for failure. For example, I dream of running the World Marathon Majors Series; however, the chances of me fulfilling that next year is akin to impossible due to varying factors such as opportunity and money. Thus, that wikl not be listed as one of my goals for next year; maybe in a few years but not in 2016. See, goals need to be realistic. I can dream of doing many things, even talk myself into thinking I can do those many things but if at the end of the day there are insurmountable obstacles to prevent them happening and they remain unachievable then they are unrealistic. Realsitc goals are goals that can be achieved with resources you either have or can obtain in the time-frame needed. In addition to realistic, goals must be bound by a period of time. This way they’re easier to manage and provide you with the focus to get it done. An example would be to say, “next year I will run 4 marathons, 1 in each season.” From this you can tell I am pacing myself and providing ample kopportunity to run a marathon every 3 months.
While I could go on about goals being “SMART,” we’ve been over that so many times already I feel it’s important to point out that if you remember anything in setting yourself goals for next year it is to try to do it with someone – a buddy – ¬†who can hold you and you can hold accountable. We, humans, respond better when we are held accountable to someone. We tend to be more committed, more focused, more motivated, we’re all-round better at performing or even out-performing when we have someone supporting, encouraging, demanding and providing insight. It is¬†no secret we were never meant to walk this life alone nor should we have to face challenges alone. Life is better in twos or threes or fours or… you get the picture. Your Happy New You depends on you.

A Peek at my Running Diet

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It’s been said, you are what you eat; there maybe some truth to that. ¬†Nine out of ten runners will tell you that food is a very important part of their lifestyle, it dictates how they are able to perform and even if they run at all in some cases. ¬†Starting off the year on the right foot demands that we not only address the issue of exercise, but also that of our diet, as both are equally important in helping us achieve our health goals. ¬†Rather than go the way of a long list of suggestions of do’s’ and dont’s, I’ve decided to give you a peek into what foods work for this runner girl.

healthy-breakfast-120516Breakfast: my best and most important meal of the day. ¬†I get an early start at 5am but don’t get to have breakfast until about nine by which time I’m so hungry, I could eat the proverbial horse. ¬†I tend to go a little cereal crazy here and generally have a bowl of some type of whole grain and granola mixed with oats and banana. A slice of toast with either peanut butter, cheese or margarine often follows with a glass of orange juice.

Snack: generally¬†consists of yogurt with granola and nuts and fruit. Because I’m not a big snack person, I often miss this part to my detriment as I don’t have lunch until around 1pm. Of course by then I’m entering starving mode and a build up of gas threatens. This is a recent and very uncomfortable occurrence, which my doctor explains can be remedied by eating throughout the day. According to him, my high metabolism burns calories at a faster rate than most, therefore I need to eat at least six times a day – obviously not huge amounts – to make sure that I have the proper amount of calories my body needs.

l956566279Lunch:¬†I love food. By which I mean home-cooked meals. A Caribbean girl at heart, I’ve inherited the practice of having full-blown meals for lunch and I generally walk with my lunch which would often include vegetables ( my favorite), chicken breast of some kind, or ground beef or turkey, some type of grain such as cous cous or brown rice, or whole grain pasta or soup ( a Caribbean soup consisting of a multitude of roots, vegetables, seasonings, meats and dumplings) now that it’s winter, peas or beans or a combination of any of the above and salad.

9-10_9999_54hummus-sandwich-appleAfternoon Snack: Most times this includes a fruit such as banana and part-skimmed mozzarella cheese or apple and humus or, sometimes and, an organic peanut butter and jelly whole wheat sandwich.

fotolia_1607767_XSDinner: may include whole grain spaghetti and meatballs with veggies or some variation of a pasta dish with either a seafood or type of meat or even salami and a fresh salad.

images (2)Quick Snack: I usually have an apple or trek mix on my way home from the gym or from running.

 

Supper: consists of cereal and milk or hot chocolate, now that it’s cold, with crackers and margarine or cheese.

Of course I’m not perfect and so this is a typical day. There are those crazy days, which happen far too often for my liking, when I fall off the wagon and have to make do with some version of the above; but for the most part I stay on course during the weekdays. On weekends, I allow myself to go off schedule somewhat to satisfy the party animal in me but never to the extent that I’m left with consequences to deal with. As a runner and health enthusiast, I try to always make healthy choices, fully aware that those choices are the reasons why I look and feel great, and perform so well.

Dress for Success in Confident, Goal-getter Running Gear this Year

exerciseDuly noted, our goals remain the one thing that stands between us and us being persons of our word.  It is not enough that we’ve made a list, written it down and stuck it somewhere; it remains our greatest challenge to realize those plans of ours.  How do we remain fitted in the zeal, confidence and enthusiasm, that surely had us in its grip on the onset of planning, during the succeeding months of reality which can oftentimes be brutally harsh and unyielding.  I posit that there are a few key ingredients to realizing a successful 2015.  While a big part of success in any area of life depends on planning and execution, another just as or some may argue even more important part, depends on our attitude and perspective.  In running and exercise, attitude really is everything.  It is the one thing that will keep you going when everything else and everyone says you can’t.  The course of history has been changed on the account of its movers’ and shakers’ attitudes.  Your health and lifes’ ambitions are no different nor are they any less important in terms of their ability to change your world and thus impact the larger world.

Dress for success with:

  • Preparedness; there is no goal killer like having a plan without preparation.  By definition it is what planning entails and so it is super important to not only dress the part but be mentally, physically and emotionally ready and able to carry out your plan.  If you’ve decided to join a gym for example, then getting gym oriented and learning about the services, classes, equipment etc. that are available will put you in a better position to plan your activities and time around what you decide to do thus affording you the opportunity to maximise your participation and the benefits which can be derived.  Talk with a personal trainer, an instructor or even sign up for a trial to see if it’s a good fit.  If it’s running, then start of with small goals and even a running group, get a couple of books and read up on beginning running techniques or even watch a couple of videos.
  • Confidence; a big part in carrying out any physical goal is how we perceive ourselves.  We are sometimes our worst critic, while this is not always bad, it is our worst attribute when directed at our perceived flaws and shortcomings.  It is important to be able to face yourself – take a long, hard look in the mirror – and like what you see.  It is because you love yourself, you want better for you. Don’t chaff at that.  Meet your eyes and tell yourself what you are going to achieve together..yes it’s a mind and body effort, one you must continually be engaged in encouraging and uplifting.  While it is important to get this affirmation from others as well,  it would mean nothing if you didn’t believe it first.
  • Passion; I’m sure you’ve heard it said that if you like something it’s easier done.  Discovering your passion, something you really enjoy, is a key part to realizing your potential and being successful.. whether it’s running, a cardio class, yoga, swimming, whatever you decide to love -sometimes it has to be a decision- do with passion, enthusiasm, commitment and diligences, you will reap the benefit.
  • Focus and Wisdom; it is better to stick with what you know and apply yourself to perfecting it than to be divided among competing interests where you can’t get anything right.  Let’s say for example co-ordination is a challenge, then skip the dance class for a spin or yoga class.  That being said, there’s nothing wrong with challenging yourself to try different things and acquiring different skills, on the contrary, more power to you.  In all things apply wisdom so you never end up biting off more than you can chew.

A Happy, Successful and Goal-Achieving new year is up to you.  Have so much fun!

Hit the ground Running in 2015

imageWow… to think that a new year is here. Last year seems to have run away and along with it all our hopes and dreams of winning the lotto, shaking off the weight, visiting Rome, going on a safari, running an ultra (shh..some of my dreams) and all the other very ambitious goals we had set in what seems like yesterday of Jan 1, 2014. Have no fear though, this is a new year with an opportunity to do it all over again; not the same things obviously but to continue where we left off, to start what we never begun and to try again where we have failed.

We welcome 2015: we welcome the chance to live, to love, to run , to grow, to become the very best versions of ourselves. Each year we try and oftentimes we don’t succeed completely but I’m big on putting one’s best foot forward and if that was you last year, then kudos to you. If for some reason you fubbed up, then this is especially your year – your opportunity to make right by you. No pressure except what you outline for yourself. We’ve spoken before, rewind to last year, about SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound) and I feel that if we really stick to that model, we will accomplish more and so be happy with the results. Being overly ambitious can be seen as setting ourselves up for failure where we end up feeling dejected, stressed and unfulfilled; no good to ourselves or others.

A simple, objective and honest approach is to consider our health, happiness and that of those we care about, to try to enhance each of these in a pragmatic and focused manner. As per always, I encourage you to:

. List your SMART goals, place them where you can see them daily
. Seek God’s direction and guidance in setting and carrying them out
. Share your goals with a friend who can hold you accountable and viz a viz
. Do a journal so you can track your progress
. Be thankful, appreciative and conscious of cultivating the right attitude and perspective every day. I believe this counts for at least 75% of goal attainment

While it may sound cliché, above all, remind yourself of the gift you have been given of another year and do not take it lightly. Many did not make it and many others are in a sad place, you are loved and have been given the gift of life Рmake it count.

imageHAPPY NEW YEAR!

New Year’s Running Goals

imageWow! It’s already January 3! And I just couldn’t let another day go by without sharing my goals for this year.

For¬†most of us, New Year resolutions give us an opportunity to begin afresh, dream big, have a meaningful purpose and/or do something we’ve always wanted to do. ¬†There’s something about a new year that gives us guts and passion, fire and determination and everything else that is needed to make us feel that we can conquer the world. ¬†Never mind that midway during the year one would be hard-pressed to find that well of positivity, but hey let’s not get ahead of ourselves and¬†be content to run, no pun intended, with all we feel. ¬†For this reason, among many others, I think setting goals are important while doing our best to fulfill them; reviewing and revising as life circumstances permit.

With that in mind, my running goals and it’s affiliates for this year include:
. Running the Miami Marathon
. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon 2015
. Doing a Mud Run in Summer
. Exploring new running territories in the NY area and Expanding my running base
. Running at least two other out-of-state marathons, hopefully one to include the Chicago Marathon
. Running a PR of 1:30 in a half marathon
. Logging my mileage

I think I’ll stop here. ¬†Oftentimes, I’ve fallen into the trap of having too many goals, which can be either unrealistic or too constraining. ¬†This year I’ve decided to set wisely and save myself a lot of stress by making them achievable and time-bound.

Cheers to 2014 & fulfilling Running Goals!

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