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New Years Challenge: How to Find Your Triumph of Meaning



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For a lot of us, the New Year kicks off by creating resolutions of things we hope to change

In the past, I have unconsciously set myself up for failure whenever forming resolutions. The unrealistic rhetoric of “New Year, New Me”, got me thinking that the way I was setting my resolutions, was almost automatically leading me down the same path, one that would be extremely short lived and make me feel bad that I couldn’t “change” and ultimately fail.

This year instead of trying to give myself over-reaching and vague goals like “lose weight”, or “try a diet plan” or “join a gym” ( which is a precarious decision right now anyways) I decided to do it differently.

Again, for me, in the many years I’ve pledged in the past, to aim for these types of resolutions, I’ve have almost always petered out. The focus and effort only lasted for a very short period, sometimes less than a month.

Setting up these absurdly, overly ambitious and wholly unrealistic goals, it’s no wonder that almost no kind of transformation or shift in my behavior ever actually happened.

With all the craziness of 2020, and the continuing rocky start in 2021, I wanted to do something a little different. Instead of a resolution or straight-up decision to change, I decided to instead focus on creating healthy and positive intentions and goals.

How to narrow focus, yet open up to the idea of what success actually looks like

After the pandemic and all the stressors that came alongside it (physical, emotional, financial) putting another unnecessary stressor, such as desperately wanting to get down to my high school weight seemed wrong.

I consider myself a generally healthy person that “sometimes” works out, though with covid-19, the workouts have been more sporadic and inconsistent. This year, I wanted to make healthy goals, in the form of a realistic resolution, while also holding myself accountable in ways I could actually attain.

I wanted my resolution to encompass something physical while also trying to get better with my followthrough ( I’m very much a “phase” person).

I decided I wanted to have run 1,000 miles by the end 2021.

Having a specific number, like 1,000, I would be able to better breakdown and track myself and monitor my progress. I also by thinking number itself as a concrete thought, or writing it out to solidify the idea, can help to engender a stronger commitment.

Looking at that number, 1,000, I knew it was a high number, but when broken down, I knew it could easily be achieved. I just did some simple math. There are 365 days in a year if you divide that by my goal of 1000 miles that’s only a little bit less than 3 miles a day (2.73).

While 3 miles is not a lot for a “runner”, it certainly is do-able for me and would not take more than an hour a day. On days where I have full energy, I am able to run a mile in about 10 minutes, although sometimes I’m not in the mood to run and I walk which then takes double that. Still either method would count toward the distance goal and is definitely possible to achieve.

It’s both the challenge to improve and the satisfaction of meeting a goal of my very own that drives me forward

With this concept in mind, the design of my resolution, and how to reach it, gives a little more flexibility. If I don’t feel good for example or have a crazy busy day, and take a day off, there might be “make-up-days” where I’m going to run 6 miles. I think having more than 2 off days (meaning I would have to be responsible for 9 miles) would put me on check not to get too far behind.

I think it’s important to be gentle with yourself when putting forth energy into something new and positive for yourself. There are always and understandably going to be “fails” and bumps that get in the way. Yet if you are able to not get down on yourself, these fails can be opportunities to learn about yourself and even turn into internal motivators to keep going.

My hope in that I can achieve my goal. I’m optimistic because I’ve purposely made the resolution (intention, goal, etc) based on something that I already do (exercise). Instead of trying to achieve something that is not even in my wheel-house, like win first place in a triathlon.

Why? Because I think it’s important to find reasons to be proud of yourself. Last year was really rough, yet many of us have survived, so while this year is starting out rough for many, I feel that, for me, a resolution focusing on something under my personal control is a way to start 2021 to be better. In short it’s privately optimistic beginning that hopefully leads to a much better outcome as the new year unfolds.

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