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I don't have any New Year's resolutions. I have goals, as I do most years. Goals for running and life. But an article I recently read, Finding your Life Purpose, made me think about goals and resolutions a bit differently. There are a lot of gems in this article and I encourage you to read the whole piece. I'm going to focus on one piece that stuck out for me, especially as I started looking forward to my race calendar for 2015; what will you give up?
Any resolution you make, or goal you write down means something has to give. There are only 24 hours in a day and assuming you spend some of that sleeping, some of it working, perhaps a bit of it blogging, there are not many hours left for the other stuff. So when you take on a new hobby or want to excel at a current one it's going to take the spot of something else.
So I challenge you not to focus on some abstract resolution for 2015. It's too easy to just make a list : lose weight, get a better job, find a life partner, buy a house, run 100 miles, etc. If there is something you really want to do better or new, whether you decide January 2015 or October 2015 really think about what it is you're doing, how you're going to do it, and if what you have to give up to accomplish it is worth it.
I made a commitment to myself about 3 years ago that I was going to run a 100mile ultra marathon. I've been working towards that goal ever since. Although sadly I just found out I didn't get into Leadville (I'm woefully behind a posts but will devote one to that rejection at some point). Leading up to that decision I found I really had to think about how doing this would affect me. Not just physically the day of the race, but leading up to and after the race. Running Leadville meant: not playing ultimate frisbee at the club level, missing a wedding of two of my good friends, foregoing a lot of ski weekends to run, foregoing a lot of everything to run, likely not being able to do much after the race for a month or two. I was at a new brewery down town talking with some of my good friends about this goal. That day I had drafted a training plan and doing that really made the whole "running is your life" doctrine sink in. It really is just a shitload of running. I looked at some weeks and did rough calculations of how many hours a week I would be running and in all honesty some weeks equated to a second full time job.
If you are one of those people who like to make new years resolutions go for it. I am 100% behind anyone and everyone striving to be a better person in the upcoming year and if the date 1/1 helps you vocalize it then do it. Just make sure you take that hopeful exuberance and pepper it with some real world allocation of that precious resource called time.
Whether we sign up for a race or get a gym membership writing down that "goal" is just one part of the whole pie. It does take a lot of courage to admit to yourself and your facebook friends that you are going to do something. It takes a lot more boring day to day planning and sacrifice to actually accomplish it. Just because I didn't get into Leadville my goal is still alive and well. It just means that my training plans have shifted to more 50 milers this year and maybe more happy hours too.
I want to delve more into the concept of choices in a later post, but since January hasn't ended yet I decided to sneak this post in while I can still call it a "new years resolution post".