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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Happy New Year: 13.1 reasons to stay running

new-year-2017-fitnessTwo Sunday’s ago despite my best intentions and feelings that day I couldn’t pull of the goal time needed to qualify for NYC’s marathon next year. Off the top, I could come up with a few reasons as to why – as there are always excuses when a run doesn’t go our way. However, this time I’m owning my failing and moving on. While I have yet to figure out how I’m getting into said marathon – you didn’t think I’d just give it up, did you? I’ve already set my sights on ways/runs to keep me on point with training for my next big goal in 2017. I figure if I ever needed to keep my running mojo happening during winter, then now is the time to focus and get my game face on. Perhaps you too may have found yourself stranded in the valley of indecision as it pertains to running in the cold weather. Here’s why you need to stay strong and focused:

  • Running this winter provides an opportunity to add cross training and other versatile methods, encompassing the treadmill among others, to improve performance.
  • Less crowded streets and parks to get your workout in. Amen!
  • Easier and more flexible schedule over the holidays to employ a training plan that will bring about the desired results.
  • A consistent running schedule and/or plan ensures maximum fitness for racing in the Spring.
  • Running is a great way to off-load those holiday calories and then some.
  • Running is convenient and mostly accessible to provide stress relief or as a means of getting away or even when seeking inspiration.
  • It’s a good way to meet people and make new friends, especially now to help carry out your new year goals.
  • If you ever needed motivation to get outfitted and be fit and healthy running is it.
  • Despite the cold weather associated with winter, running generates enough heat to give you a good sweat and keep your temps at a comfortable level leaving you better off than when you started.
  • They say summer bodies are made in the winter, they’re right. Put in the work now and reap the rewards when it counts.
  • Running is a great escape for winter blues. What better way to give it a well deserved kick than getting some miles under those shoes.
  • In a time that often comes with so much change and ups and downs, running can provide necessary routine and balance to your life.
  • Just in case you didn’t know it, people who exercise and run are known to be, aside from healthier, happier, more confident, driven and successful. Now this definitely is the way you want to step into this new year.

There’s no denying challenges abound, in society, our lives and the world at large. Our best chance at getting this right and making the most of life is to give it our best shot and we can only do so if we’re healthy and happy. Don’t think me bias if I say running may be the way to get you there.

A Check-In with our 2016 Running Goals

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“The trouble with not having a goal is that you could spend the rest of your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland

We’re back in “running” business! It’s always a struggle to get runners to rest up, mainly because we’re too afraid of losing momentum. We often think that we will have to fight our way back in as the body can become quite use to being on vacation. There may be some merit to that but only to the extent that a break amounts to weeks or months off. Surely it can’t mean one will suffer a setback if he or she takes a well-deserved couple of weeks off? In fact, struggle or not, coming back from my two weeks off feels great and based on my running this week, its all good. You can breathe and rest easy now; two weeks will make you not break you.

Also, we can get ready for better running weather, for it’s May and we’re on the brink of summer – how did that happen? In any event, this is a good time to stop and reassess or check-in regarding our running goals for this year. Yep, the very same ones we were all excited and up in arms about around January 1st of this year. You’re totally entitled to a bit of guilt if you’re nowhere where you want to be, but know that it’s ok. You’re here, healthy (hopefully) and so happily you can give it another shot.

A big goal of mine was running the Boston Marathon so.. check – not the desired result – but it’s done. Even so, there are other races on my agenda, others I still have to do. What is interesting to note is that as I cross one item of my list, it actually has bearing on my other goals in a real way. Take for example Boston, I have now decided to run it again next year, to earn my medal this time, if my registration is accepted. As a result of this decision, I’ll try for a better qualifying time in Chicago this year. It’s a little crazy how it never stops with me; it’s as though there will always be another goal, another race. Maybe there always will be, but goals do many things, chief among them is to inspire us to give of our very best and even if we fail, we get up, stomp the dust off and try again. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

In the upcoming months, (half the year is almost up, unbelievable), I have two, maybe three, big races and a few smaller ones while I have my heart set on a 5k and Half-Marathon PR. Additionally, I have a charity goal to fulfill which I will do at the Chicago Marathon. Because summer is usually an all-round hot time, I will be limiting my runs to fun, short ones with one destination marathon in July.                                             

I jokingly say that my life is a scatter plot, with my running all over the graph. But despite how it seems, it keeps me focused and happy – the world could go to pieces around me, as long as I’m running, it’s fine. LOL! I’m kidding! It’s really not that bad, just a tad bit crazy (my friends would say). Regardless, I’m no fine running example as I¬†have fallen off the goal wagon a time or two. For yet another year, I’ve been terrible with keeping count of my miles while I can’t seem to start the tri program just yet. I try to convince myself that maybe I will in the summer but in the meantime between getting a handle on my health ( making sure I’m fit as a fiddle) and getting coached to improve my time, and working and keeping up with my volunteer activities, I’m a little stretched for time. While I’m not complaining, since that’s the way I like it, I would love time to slow down just a tad and maybe someone up there can add a few more hours to my days? Just saying.

2016 Running Goals

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This year I’ve determined that less is indeed more. Far too often, I’ve found myself striving to keep up with me – if that makes any sense. Admittedly, I’m sure I’ve said this before – I can be a bit much at times and do tend to want to do it all but just as goals need to be realistic so must I, which means scaling back on some things in order to maximize the opportunity for success in others.

As a result, thanks in large part to my year of growth and experience last year, I’ve found myself setting just a few running goals this year, which I’ll share with you – the privileged few who I keep up-to-date with all things running as it pertains to me.¬†Here they are:

  • Complete the Boston Marathon in a time of 3:35:00.
  • Train hard and consistently, which means running at least 5/7 days of the week and doing a weekly long run (It is not by chance that this goal follows completing Boston)
  • Run two destination marathons
  • Add meaning to my miles: run at least one of my big races for charity
  • Begin training for a triathlon in the Spring, which means practicing swimming and biking (A triathlon was one of the things on my list last year that did not happen)
  • Run at least 2 races for fun in summer
  • Keep a daily log of my miles ( For shame I have attempted this in the past with no success)

To my way of thinking, I should be ok having set the foundation, insofar as my goals are “SMART,” but more importantly, realistic & time-bound, as we discussed last week. There is no inordinate amount of pressure to perform other than what is inherent in the activities outlined in order to present some challenge and momentum to do at my best. In the past, as recent as last year, I would always set way too many goals and end up not making at least two on my list much to my dismay and disappointment. This year I’ve realized that I don’t have to do it all “today” and even if I did fall short that would be ok too. What matters is that I’ve set about my year with realistic direction and purpose with the means and resources, as far as humanly possible, to get the job done and have some fun while doing it. No more self-recrimination for me.

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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