2014 Plan of Action

So, since I have some extra time on my hands right now, I decided it was a good time to start thinking about my goals for next year. I don’t want “resolutions” or things like “lose 5 pounds”. What I’m looking for is a few experiences and some milestones I want to hit. Some things to better myself, some things to see if I can do them, some to make sure I don’t forget what’s important.2013 was one hell of a year-recap of my “highlight reel” coming soon-but I want 2014 to be a little different.

Here’s my top 10 things for 2014:

1) Run my first marathon. It’s looking like that will be Chicago with any luck. It’s in early October, which should gives me plenty of time to prepare, and I’ll run our city half marathon in May. Last year, I had a really big training goal with my half ironman, and I really hadn’t planned on having a big goal again this year, but I think I can do it. I just hope it doesn’t take over my mind and make me skip out on some of my other favorite activities. I’m a runner, but I’m also a cyclist, hiker, strength trainer, and occasional swimmer.

2) Bike my first century. I’ve gotten close, 72 miles was my farthest. Boy, that ride was TERRIBLE. Cross winds so strong, I couldn’t reach for my water bottle or be blown over, hot as hades, and my phone battery didn’t hold up so I had to ride in stone cold silence alone most of the time. But I think a 100 mile ride, planned right and with hopefully a lunch stop somewhere, is doable. I’d love to convince someone to do it with me, but if they don’t, it’s fun on your own too. Kinda.

3) Have a professional makeup consultation and actually buy the recommended products. I’m thinking MAC. Jeff and I were sitting around watching “What Not To Wear” this week, and I was just fascinated by how much the right stuff applied the right way changes how you look. If I could pick up a few tips, I think I would look tons more presentable and maybe it would help me reach some of my professional goals.

4) Grow edible things. Jeff and I have some big plans for this backyard of ours next year, and I’m putting that as a goal to make sure we actually get things in the ground. The last few years, I’ve spent so much of my free time on fitness related pursuits that I’ve neglected my house and especially my landscaping. This year, I’m hoping to give myself a bit more balance.

5) Stay hydrated! I’m terrible about this currently. I’ll drink oodles of coffee every morning, and then a few sips of water here and there and I’m done for the day-unless there’s also wine involved. Hydration is such a key element of fitness, and I’m sure it has played a big role in my struggles through a few races. I know the Half Ironman would have gone a lot better had I been able to properly hydrate through the race, and I know the reason I couldn’t finish my first century ride was that I couldn’t hydrate properly either. I’m not sure yet how to encourage myself to drink more water, but I’ll come up with a few ways to make it more appealing. I’ve tried crystal light before to give it a bit more flavor, and that doesn’t really do the trick. I’ll take suggestions if you have any on how to drink more water!

6) Eat less junk. By junk, I don’t mean that I hit the drive thru too often, or cut out my dessert treat in the evening, but that I want to start putting less chemicals in my body. Throughout life, I’ve been on a “diet” more often than not, and I remember really getting into it in the “fat free ’90’s”. That colored a lot of the way I eat things. I’m aware enough now that fat is an important part of my diet in the proper increments, but I’m still a sucker for fewer calories however I can get them. Usually, that comes at the hands of some wicked chemicals to replace things, make them shelf stable, and generally fill me with tons more sugars. I’ve toyed around the idea of going vegan, gluten free, or paleo lately, but I think I’ll start things with trying to eat primarily whole foods and when sweeteners are needed, using a natural option instead of some splenda. Once the chemicals are eliminated, I can look towards maybe making some other changes. I don’t think I’ll ever be willing to commit to a really restrictive style of eating, but I think in general clean eating is something I can follow a good chunk of the time.

7) Does it interest me? Go for it! When I went to college, I initially went with the plan to be a dietetics and nutrition major. I stepped into my first college chemistry class, and about halfway through I was sure I wouldn’t be able to handle the amount of chem needed to get my degree. It was a big lecture class, as most entry level courses are, and the professor seemed to enjoy making students aware how little they knew, as opposed to really explaining the material. As a freshman, I didn’t think about how to make it work for me, and just changed my mind. Again. And again. I went through a bunch of majors in college before I settled on one simply because it was attainable in a reasonable time frame before my college fund went dry. Probably my biggest regret is that I didn’t stay the course and follow the career I had wanted since I was about 10. I toy with the idea of going back to school, but the reality is that I’m afraid I’d go through all that work and trouble and either not be able to find employment in that arena, or that it would end up not being enough to pay our bills like my current job does. All that babbling leads me to what this goal is all about-following your desires. So many times we tell ourselves that we’ll learn that other language “someday”, that teaching ourselves to do that new craft is pointless because we’ll just suck at it anyway, or that we’re simply too busy. I’m more acutely aware than ever that not having kids at my age means I’ve got full reign to be selfish. I can do what I want, when I want, for the most part. So if I want to try to make cheese in my kitchen, teach myself french in case we ever get to France, or bake a really complicated bread, I’m going to do it. Pinterest is full of ideas we’ve all pinned somewhere and then never gotten around to trying. Yeah, some of them might be epic fails, but those fails usually make one  hell of a story.

8) Pay it forward. Random acts of kindness are a big “thing” these days, and for good reason. They make the recipient and the giver feel good. It doesn’t have to be as big as buying someone’s groceries or the like, but I want to try and compliment someone once a day or tell people those things we’re always too insecure to say.

9) Have at least 5 hairstyles in my repertoire. I’m a bit of a jock, and it’s so tempting to just pull my hair into a ponytail every single day-I’m going to the gym anyway, right? I enjoy having longer hair because it’s so versatile, but that’s wasted if I never utilize that versatility. So I need to master a few styles until I can confidently change things up a bit. How you look isn’t the most important thing about you, not by a long shot, but when you look good, you feel good. And I’m all for the good feels in 2014.

10) Stop comparing myself to others. It’s something I’ve been working on this year, but it’s an important enough theme that I want to make sure it’s front and center in 2014. My path is not a supermodel’s path, nor a supermom’s path, or even a professional athelete’s path. My life follows the choices I’ve made, and I can’t assume because someone has something I don’t, that their path is easier or better than mine. I’ve been up and down the weight spectrum, and while I’ve always been healthy, I was not inherently happier at a lower weight than a higher one just for that fact alone. I am myself today, not last year, 10 years ago, or 20 years in the future. I’m alive right now and that’s what I need to live for. Comparison is such an easy thing to do, we’re presented with so many images designed to make us want what that person has, but would it change the core of who we are? Not really.

So there they are! My big 10 for 2014. Do you set goals or resolutions for the new year? Do you have any advice for me on how to work towards these goals?

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3 thoughts on “2014 Plan of Action

  1. Good luck! I’d recommend finding a training group to join for the marathon since it’s your first.
    I tried to start an herb garden this past year. Rosemary is going like a monster. I think our freeze last week killed the basil, and possibly the chives and dill, but I’m holding out hope that at least the last two are ok.

    • We do have some rosemary in a pot that’s still trucking along. We did OK with potted herbs last year, but this year we want to totally revamp this raised bed we have in the yard.

      I know of a few training groups in town-not sure I’ll join or just follow a plan I found. I get so nervous and defeatist when I run in a group-I’m convinced my pace is slowing people down and feel terrible. I rarely run with anyone at all, which works for me but probably makes me miss out on some good training tips too.

      • I say go for it!!! I’ve helped “coach” with a few local groups, and I also run with a few other groups, and let me tell you, there are ALL paces and levels. From beginners, to elites, to walkers, and everything in between. No matter what your pace, there should be others that are right with you! If it’s a training group, they usually divide it into different pace groups.

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