Happy New Year!
As we embark on a shiny new year, the “New Year, New Me” concept is everywhere and the temptation to set resolutions irresistible. I have to say, I’m not really a big fan of resolutions, not because I erroneously believe everything about my life to be perfect already, but because the pressure of resolutions tends to doom them to failure from the outset. How often have we seen it happen? The good intentions falter within a couple of weeks because of an unrealistic, often health or fitness-related, goal e.g. to lose a huge amount of weight, to go to the gym before work, to cut out all unhealthy foods. It’s all too much too soon and at the first sign of a hurdle (struggling with an unfeasible diet, sleeping in and missing a gym session, pigging out on junk food, etc) or the perception that no progress is being made, the resolution is abandoned and normal service is resumed.
But that’s not to say that having a goal is a bad idea, in fact it’s a positive thing and something I’ve written about before. I like to set myself a variety of goals throughout the year, but these are based on realistic, achievable aims that I know I can commit to. Those goals should empower me, rather than hinder me; they should be a focus in my life, not a millstone around my neck; they should be something I want to strive towards, not something I seek to avoid. With a SMART goal (a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time specific) I’m all set with a clear and sensible aim which is feasible for me and with which I can track my progress within a set interval of time. Rather than look at a daunting bigger picture, it’s easier to break those goals down into more manageable chunks and plan what I’m going to do at each stage.
Well that’s the theory anyway 😉
So what are my goals for the months ahead?1. Overcome injury and return to running
Right now, I can’t run and it will be another couple of weeks before I can even consider a few short, cautious running sessions. While I await the official confirmation that I have suffered a stress fracture in my foot, I have been maintaining some fitness with cycling, swimming and strength work in the gym. When I do get the go-ahead to try a little running, I will be very careful not to get carried away and expect that my foot will withstand returning to the sort of running I was doing before I got injured – after all, that injury occurred for a reason and if I repeat exactly what I was doing before, the end result will be more time on the sidelines nursing an injury. Instead, I will listen carefully to my podiatrist (and to my body!) and do EXACTLY what I’m told in terms of re-introducing running. If that means short, slow intervals interspersed with longer bursts of walking, then that’s what I’ll do. The important thing is to make a healthy return to running and ensure I don’t suffer any further setbacks. I’ll need to be flexible with any other running goals I might have had, and remember that being able to run at all is the most important thing for me.
2. Work on learning the front crawl
This one has been hanging over me for a while now and I never really get to grips with it. I had a couple of lessons to get me started, but since then have simply been turning up at the pool about once a week and spending around 20-30 minutes attempting lengths in the hope that my body will eventually “get” what it needs to do. As a result, progress has been slow, so I’ve signed up to the Swimathon in March to give me the motivation to finally take this seriously. After all, signing up to daunting running and cycling events has previously given me the oomph to take my training a bit more seriously, so I see no reason for this to be any different. If I’m to be ready to swim 1.5km in March, then I think I need to commit to some more lessons. I’ve also downloaded a training plan from Swimathon and I’m determined that I’m going to do it. Watch this space!
3. Get out on my bike more
Training for the Etape last May meant that I spent a lot of time in the saddle in the early part of last year, but then my cycling faltered. I had planned to cycle more in the summer, but the atrocious weather we had put paid to that and I never really got back to my cycling at all. The thing is, I do enjoy being on my bike and I know that using cycling as a form of cross training helps to keep my fitness up and makes me more robust in terms of avoiding injury. Hopefully in 2016 I can log some more cycling miles and improve as a cyclist.
4. Be more organised
This one may come as a bit of a surprise as in general I am a very organised person, but I do find it really difficult to keep on top of “life” during busy school terms and it’s easy to let things slide. So just like I plan when in the day I’m going to train and what that training will be, I need to look at how I can best use my time to ensure that other things like doing the housework, cooking healthy meals and simply relaxing don’t get overlooked. Perhaps it would also help me to publish more of the posts I have in draft (or safely stored in my head!) that I never quite get to. This goal will probably be a bit of a challenge, but I know I need to try and sort my life out so I’m going to do my best with it.
5. Read more books
I’m an English teacher, I read plenty, in fact I read every day – essays I’m marking, news articles, blogs – but I never get enough time to read books any more and it’s something I really miss. I do read a book in bed every night, but I’m usually so tired that I only manage a couple of pages before I fall asleep so it takes me ages to finish each book I start. If I work on organising my life better, then this should allow me a bit more time for reading books and it won’t only be the summer holidays when I zip through lots of books while relaxing on my sun lounger. I really have no idea how many books I manage to read in a year these days, but I’m going to set myself the target of 15 books in 2016. It doesn’t matter if they’re fiction or non-fiction (by which I mean running/cycling books), real books or ebooks, it’s high time I started working my way through that pile by my bed and stored on my Kindle! And by stating my target here, I’ve just made myself accountable and will have to do something about it…
So there you have it – five goals encompassing both my fitness life and my “real” life. My aim is to keep you updated on my progress as I continue to share the successes and setbacks of my year through my blog posts. I’m committing to at least one post per week and have even added a new badge to my sidebar to declare it.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s get 2016 underway!
What are your goals for 2016?
Do you have any tips to help me achieve mine?