To make a New Year’s resolution or not. That is forever the popular question this time of year. Maybe you make an intention instead of a resolution. Maybe you make the anti-resolution to love yourself as you are without the need to pledge changes. Maybe you’re very specific with your goals. Maybe you’re a generalist. Or maybe you hate the whole idea of New Year’s resolutions.
Whatever floats your boat, I’m cool with it.
I happen to be a person who likes to review the previous year and set intentions for the upcoming one. For me it’s a way of making sure I’m living my life on purpose. With purpose. With intention. The idea is to avoid autopilot because, as I’ve often said, if I only did things I was good at I would never get off my couch where I play the “I can name the perp in this ‘Law & Order’ episode by the first wisecrack” game to perfection.
So what exactly do I want in 2017?
I want to expand on what I did in 2016. I went new places. I put a focus on relationships. I started writing a book. I suffered tremendously through two marathons with extreme opposite weather conditions. OK, maybe I don’t want to expand on the suffering part of the 2016 running experience, but I want to delve deeper into the athletic identity I’ve created for myself — that I am strong and badass and fearless and humble. That I can find the joy in miserable scenarios.
With that as my background, I look to 2017. And while some of these are specific, it’s not so much about checking things off a list as it is finding ways to support my primary intentions: to be kind, to be compassionate, to challenge myself and discover new things.
1. Volunteer. My goal is to volunteer once a month. It might serving lunch at a community kitchen or doing trail work or helping with a race. It might even be taking a garbage bag down to the nearby beach and pick up trash one day. Whatever it is, the intention is to help my community by engaging with the people and places that make it meaningful. My intention is to develop more compassion and offer as much kindness as possible.
2. Offer kindness without judgement or expectations. Sometimes on my walk to the rink I pass a man holding up a sign “Broke Please Help.” I started having change in my pocket so I can give him a handful. Maybe he uses for food or laundry or other life necessities. Maybe he uses it for beer and cigarettes. Maybe it’s a scam. That’s not my concern. I give with a smile and no expectations. This goes for the people I see every day, the people who annoy the piss out of me. A smile costs me nothing. Happiness is not a zero-sum game and happiness comes in different ways for different people.
3. Meditate every day. I started practicing regularly this past year with the help of Insight Timer. I joined their community of people who have pledged to meditate for 365 days. Here’s the thing about meditation for me: I used to say “well I try to meditate.” Nope. As Yoda says, there is no try. You do. You meditate. My wanders ALL THE FREAKING TIME but it gives me a chance to say “whoa, wait a minute, I’m thinking about that. How interesting!” And then I get back to my mantra. Some days I am positive this keeps me from punching someone in the face or curling up in the fetal position in front of a Law & Order marathon. A corollary is to practice yoga every day. Even if it’s just 10 minutes. Yoga. Every. Damn. Day.
4. Run more trails. On my sooner-rather-than-later bucket list is to run a 50K which, more likely than not, will happen on a trail. I’m new to trail running so I want to take 2017 as an opportunity to learn how to run trails, to do shorter distance trail races and to meet other trail runners who, when I decided to go all-in for a 50K can help me get through the training runs (by which I mostly mean keep from getting so lost I need an air rescue plane to find me). A corollary is to hike and kayak and be outside as much as possible.
5. Run Around the Bay and the Right to Run. Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton has been a bucket list race for me. I was registered for it once, but I gave myself a concussion (in the shower. I stood up underneath a soap dish) and had my first Did Not Start. I will wrap myself in bubble wrap to get to that starting line. I also am registered for the Right to Run 19K in Seneca Falls. Nineteen kilometers for the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. Yeah. In 2017 I definitely need to run that race.
6. Do more speed work but forget about pace. Sounds contradictory but hear me out — I like to work on speed. Speed work sucks but in a good way. I feel spent. I feel challenged. I feel broken and open all at once. I’d like to run around a certain pace in races, but my intention is to no longer be focused on it. Train it and leave it.
What’s on your hit list for 2017? Do you make resolutions? Set intentions? Avoid the entire process?