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March 01, 2015

It’s time to revisit your goals for the New Year

Written by Dena Evans

We're 2 months into the New Year.  Seems like a good time to revisit the goals we set on 1/1/15.  Here's a look back at a great article by Dena Evans from 2010.

Goals seem like a good idea at the time.  They motivate us to start, they provide good fodder for conversation, they keep us organized.   However, if they are truly going to be accomplishments we look back on with pride, these goals must also include the risk that we might not pass the test.

 

Matt Lane, twice a fourth place finisher in the 5000 meters at the Olympic Trials, and therefore no stranger to the need for positive self-talk in the aftermath of a narrowly missed goal, once described to me a particular mid-race thought he would have from time to time where he’d gone out so fast that he wasn’t sure if he would completely blow-up or have a huge personal best.  At that particular time, it was a toss-up.  It could go either way.

Have you ever been there?  I have, and it has gone both ways at times, which makes it the sweetest and more fearsome spot imaginable.

As we get one more hour of daylight in the evenings (sympathies to the morning bunch for now), and the day opens up a bit more to allow more regular attendance at your usual group, track workout, or tempo run haunt, I encourage you to reconsider your January 1st goals, however fleeting those thoughts were, and see if you can put some teeth into the procedures needed to get there.

Many of those who observe Lent at this time of year choose to either make a change to their personal routine that may appear to be a huge sacrifice but indeed is “no sweat” for them personally, or change a outwardly insignificant element of their lives that is privately excruciating.  Similarly, let us examine the dusty, hidden corners of our own athletic pursuits.  Are we willing to risk enough to stand at least one moment this year on the precipice over the chasm of disaster, but just within leaping distance of the land of breakthrough?    Let us resolve not to sabotage ourselves by hiding behind the protection of excuses and situational distractions: the weather!  The course!  Incorrect splits!  My sock was slipping into my shoe under my heel!

Of course I am not talking about ignoring your body’s limitations and health situation, or letting your running or racing take center stage over the truly important people and things in your life. Instead, I’m referring to the willingness to do what’s hard for you – pushing to hit a difficult pace in your workout, trusting enough in your training plan to go easy when you should, sticking with the long runs instead of snipping a mile or two off each time because “that is when you got back to the car,” taking steps to cool down, stretch, and fuel appropriately, cutting out all the tangential stuff you do in your running that is not directly related to your goals.

What you get out of 2009 is a story that remains to be written.  Tonight you could make a Facebook page proclaiming, “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I am going to run the XX marathon.  Won’t you encourage me on my goal?” only to find that your mom is the only one who joins and the group still has two members a year from now whether you did it or not.    Instead, treat yourself after the fact and make the group that declares, “I did it, and so can you…here’s how.”  You and your mom might still be the only members, but once you have written the playbook for yourself on how to follow up and stick with your goals, you might just do it again, and even take a friend along for the ride next time.

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