Last year I learned a lot about the importance of goal-setting. I started the year pretty non-committal about my goals, but mid-way through 2009 I realized the value in actually writing them down. When you write them down, you're more likely to commit to them. And when you post it on your blog for the world to see, well then you sure as hell better try your darnest to achieve them! :)
Last summer I bought a journal where I've been writing things down that I want to do at some point in my life - my own private bucket list I guess. But I haven't (yet) set any due dates or created any action plans for them, so for now, they are more like aspirations.
During this holiday season, I spent a lot of time contemplating about what things I want to do in 2010. It was hard because there are so many things I want to do, but I need to be realistic about what will actually be achievable. Then there are the generic things that we all say we want to do every year like - the "lose weight", "save money" types of goals. I've narrowed my resolution list down to a combination of both.
Running 2009 was a breakthrough year for me in terms of running. I realized how much I truly love it and I ran more races than I ever have in my life. I was also delightfully pleased to find a whole online running community out there who speaks my running language! As I've mentioned before, I don't have a lot of people in my life who share a love for running so having this online support is a gift!
Now that I have 3 half-marathons under my belt, I think its time to take it up a notch. My BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) for the year is to run a full marathon. I started thinking about it a few months ago and have spent months researching which race would be the right fit for me. There was so much to consider - course, location, timing, etc. I scoured resources like Active.com, Racevine, Daily Mile, Runners World and other marathon Web sites.
Then one day, as I was getting something to eat out of my fridge, I noticed a postcard that I had stuck on there.
It was a card promoting the Marin County Marathon that I had gotten from a race swag bag last summer. At the time I thought it would be a fun half-marathon to do so I put it on my fridge and had not thought about it since.
I went to its Web site, which at the time, didn't have much information (too early I guess) so I began scouring for online reviews. There weren't much reviews of it, but the ones that I did find had positive things to say. I also emailed the contact person listed on the Web site with some questions and they responded back almost immediately. Based upon this and the following factors, I've officially registered for this race.
1. Its local - I don't want to travel for my first marathon 2. Its in the Spring. I'm an impatient person and I don't want to wait to next Fall to run a marathon. I also don't want to train over the summer, so if this is going to happen, it has to be in the Spring. 3. The course - I don't know much about the elevation, but its Marin - the scenery is going to be breathtaking. 4. Lululemon is a sponsor. I told you I'm a total groupie. 5. This event offers a 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon Relay in addition to the marathon itself. Its rare for an event to have so many races! I am trying to recruit as many friends and family members to join me on April 25th.
I admit, having battled injuries for most of 2009, I am nervous about training for this, but I am not going to let it stop me. I just need to be really smart about my training and "listen" to my body (its an evolving process). I have no time goal for this race - just merely to finish! My 16-week training program starts today!
As for the rest of the year, I've scheduled a few 5K's and a half-marathon as part of my training for this full marathon. We'll see what happens once I finish this. Should things go well I'd like to run the 1st half of the San Francisco Marathon in July and then another half in the Fall, with a few 5K's and 10K's scattered in the mix. What can I say, I am much more focused and motivated when on a training schedule.
Triathlon My second BHAG for the year is to complete a triathlon. No, not a crazy ironman one; not even a half-ironman one. Just a little mini one. Some people call it sprint triathlons, but having not participated in one before, there will be no aspirations of sprinting for me, just finishing.
Being that I don't own a bike, nor have I ridden one since my BMX when I was 12, this really is a BHAG. However, I do spin...I know, not the same thing, but at least its a start...
The event I would like to participate in is the Mermaid Triathlon scheduled for September 29th in Santa Cruz. Its a 400-meter swim, 11-mile bike ride and 2.5-mile run - all of which I think this is very doable.
My plan of action is this:
1. Swim more now. I've already started on this by joining 24-Hour Fitness (my 3rd active gym membership) because they have an indoor pool. I got a great holiday deal on membership and have already started swimming. This will also be a good cross-training activity for me as I train for the marathon.
2. Run local races and save money to buy a bike. This is one reason why I selected the Marin Marathon - no costly travel. Once that race is completed, I'm going to invest in a bike (so I have 4 months to save, research what kind of bike to buy and look for deals) and start bike training in May. This gives me 5 months to learn to bike 11 miles.
3. Learn how to swim outdoors and how to transition. Again, will start in May.
I am so excited for this mainly because I love the Mermaid Team and I know its going to be a great event! As they say on their Web site,
"Its a journey to discover my full potential."
The rest of my goals are:
1. Lose 10 lbs. - I find that I am successful with weight-loss when I track what I eat. I'm already active enough where I don't really have to worry about burning calories, but its my eating that I need to get a handle on. Two words - portion control! I'm hoping the Daily Burn program will help me with this.
2. Practice yoga at least once a week. - One of my doctors always reminds me that the key to aging is flexibility. I already have a yoga class that I love so I just need to commit to going to Yoga Tune-Up every Monday night. Maybe I'll make a deal with someone where if I don't go I owe them $5 or something like that.
3. Stick to a budget. - I have a budget; have had one for a long time. I just tend to go over-budget. A lot. So I've signed up for an online program that I am hoping will help me stay within my budget this year. The key thing for me to succeed with this is that this online program has an iPhone app so before I make a spontaneous purchase (as most of my purchases tend to be), I can check-in to see if its OK for me to do so. I also downloaded the BillMinder iPhone app so that I get a reminder to pay my bills on time.
4. Curse less. - In our family, we had a rule that whenever you cursed around the baby you had to put a quarter in a jar which would go towards her college fund. That thing was full in no time, in fact, some people just put in $20 to cover them for a few weeks. I need to do something like this to help me with this one. Need to think about this some more.
5. Travel internationally. - Its been 27 months since my last passport stamp. Its time go abroad again. Paris is calling me back. I am thinking of a destination holiday next Christmas season. Hey, maybe I can start a curse jar to fund my international travel!
6. Visit a new ballpark. - Every summer my cousin Shari and I usually take a baseball trip. Our last one was Chicago in 2008. We skipped 2009 so we are due for a trip in 2010. I am thinking it should be a city where I can get 2 parks in with 1 visit. I'd love to get to New York to see the 2 new parks. I could even turn it into a 3 park visit by taking the train to Philly. The only thing is the humidity...
7. Volunteer. - I am already a weekly volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House so this one isn't too much of a stretch but definitely something I want to continue in 2010. I'd also like to volunteer at a race.
8. Support others with their health goals. - Six weeks ago I started the Life Change Challenge to help my friends and family. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback that it's really helping them so we're definitely continuing it into the new year. The goal is to keep it up. (By the way, if you'd like to join in on the fun, message me).
9. Make new friends but keep the old ones. - I have been known to be somewhat anti-social at times, but I really, I do love to meet new people. There are so many interesting people in this world and there have been random people that I have met that have truly become life-long friends. Facebook and blogs have made it easier to keep in touch with people but nothing can ever replace the joy in receiving a phone call or a hand-written note in the mail. I am going to try to do this more often this year.
10. Find at least one thing each day that makes me happy and record it. - This can be a new add-on to my posts.
All of these goals support the one thing I want to do most -- Simplify! Remove the clutter, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially!
As I mentioned earlier, I want these goals to be achievable and to have a plan of action so I'll be setting smaller monthly goals to help me achieve these annual ones that I've set. So for January I will:
- Run the Lyon St steps in San Francisco (as recommended by Anotorias on her Web site) - Run 4 times each week, with one being a long run on each weekend - Swim 3 times each week - Sundays, Thursdays and Fridays - Go to Yoga Tune-up each Monday this month - Try 4 healthy recipes this month (this means Sunday dinners are back!) - Go to sleep by 9:30 pm on Sundays - Thursday - Clean my desk (the avalanche has plagued me for months now) - Have the photos from my 2007 Europe trip framed (they've been on sitting on my shelf for 2 yrs!) - Send a handwritten card to 4 friends (1 per week)
To start with goal #10... Today I received a Christmas card from my cousin Jonathan that made me so happy!
He's on a church mission in Norfolk, VA. I feel so bad that he writes to me and I never write back to him. So he can be the recipient of my hand-written note for this week!
Photo of the Day: One of the ways I learned about goal setting was through the Lululemon blog. A recent blog post talked about creating a "vision board" of your goals. Here's mine.
I am going to hang it above my dresser so that I'll look at it every day and it will remind me of the things I am aspiring to achieve this year.
PS One more goal to add - Be On Time! Oh and I'm tracking my goals at 143Things (again, iPhone app...). How are you tracking your goals?