New Years Resolutions are funny things. When I was younger I’d fully subscribe to the “New Year, New You” notion, make my list of all the things I wanted to achieve in the next 365 days, believe that with the turning of the calendar from one number to the next, everything would change.
Starting today, I’m going to be completely different.
I’ve since come to learn that the world, and human nature, doesn’t work that way. Change and improvement is a slow process. It takes time to build on who we are and become who we want to be – and it’s ever-evolving. Sometimes we are able to use extreme willpower to make a sudden change, but more often, it’s a marathon of turning small shifts in habit to bigger ones.
So, the New Year isn’t necessarily a time to say that tomorrow, and every day after, will be different. But it’s a good time to reflect on the trials and triumphs of the previous year and set goals for the upcoming one, recognizing that baby steps are more likely to stick than giant leaps, and maybe next year you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come.
With that in mind, here’s what I’d like to focus on in 2018, with my goals in mind, as well as a plan for how to get there.
1. Be more deliberate with my time.
I cannot believe how easy it is to get sucked into mindless scrolling through my phone, hours of watching Netflix and trying to multitask at work to the point where nothing gets done because I keep flipping from tab to tab on my Internet browser. I know everyone needs to chill out and there’s nothing wrong with some Netflix bingeing every now and then, but I’m often appalled at how much time I waste not doing much of anything at all. If it’s time to relax and watch a show or two, I want to do it, shamelessly. But if there’s actually something else that I want to be doing that is going to ultimately give me more satisfaction, I want to learn to overcome the inertia of laziness and deliberately spend my time doing something meaningful, rather than wasting hours of my day only to become stressed later about having too much to get done.
Along these same lines, I also want to procrastinate less and be more mindful with what I’m doing. More singletasking!
2. Write more for ME.
Five years ago, when I started this blog, it was a project of passion. I loved to write. It was what inspired and ultimately led to me pursuing a career in journalism. But since I’ve been getting paid to write on a regular basis, I’ve stopped writing for myself much. I’ve stopped posting regularly on this blog. The very thing that fueled my passion and ultimately got me to where I am now professionally has fallen by the wayside. So much computer time for work leaves me longing to step away from the screen whenever I can, but I am determined this year to make time to bring back the recording of my own adventures. Ultimately, one post a week on this blog is my goal.
3. Incorporate more stretching, yoga and strength practices into my daily routine.
I ride my bike a lot. I’ve been running a lot. I’m really good at getting out there and doing stuff in the woods. I’m less good at remembering to stretch afterward and doing things like yoga and bodyweight exercises to help build my strength and flexibility to improve my stamina, stay comfortable while engaging in these activities and prevent injury. But as I slowly get older, I’m reminded how important these practices are as an athlete. I’m also pretty unbalanced when it comes to leg strength versus core and upper body strength. Bonus: I also want to eventually learn how to do a handstand (Evan says, “What for?” Personal gratification, that’s all).
4. Do more long rides.
My favorite type of ride is the long kind, the kind that takes all day, the kind that pushes you to your mental and physical limit. When you’re not sure if you can keep going but you do. I want more of this, but finding the time to maintain the physical ability to do so is my biggest barrier. For this reason, more longer rides have been my goal for the past several years. Same goes for 2018. By the end of the year, I would like to ride a double century (yeah, I did it once on the tandem, but I want to do it on my own).
5. Maintain and improve my fitness as a runner.
One of the things I’m most excited about as one year turns into another is the fact that I’m back into running regularly again. I’m being careful to not overdo it or increase distance too fast for fear of overuse injuries (the whole reason I got away from running in the first place), but so far my body parts have been feeling great and I’m looking forward to some trail half marathons this spring, including Mile Run and the Greenwood Furnace Trail Challenge.
6. Cook more.
I have multiple Pinterest pages full of recipes that I find and then never make. I love to try new foods but when I’m at the grocery store I tend to buy the same things all the time and make the same types of meals. They’re healthy and delicious, but I want to mix it up and do something different at least once a week. Working from home means I can take advantage of time in the middle of the day to throw something in the crockpot or do other prep work that makes the actual dinner preparations after a ride less laborious.
What’s your favorite recipe? Please share!
7. Adventure with Dinah more.
D’s getting too old to keep up with bikes, but she still loves to run with me. I often opt not to take her on my quick from-the-house run as it’s on the road (albeit a little-traveled back road) and she’s a PIA on the leash. The 3-5 mile run that I normally do when I’m too crunched for time to get to a trail is also where I typically work on my speed or get lost in my head. Dealing with an energetic pit terrier on a leash doesn’t seem conducive to intervals, speed work, or relaxing thoughts. But she won’t be around forever and ultimately, running with her makes me happy, despite any initial grudgingness.
2017 wasn’t the year I’d hoped it would be. While I cannot control external circumstances, I am determined to make 2018 a whole lot better. It’s all about a positive attitude and baby steps towards change.