At the beginning of 2017 I set out a list of goals for myself to achieve by December 31, 2017. In working towards these goals I have learned a lot about myself. At the top of the list, I have learned that I have great ambition but sometimes I just do not have the hours in a day/week/month/year to achieve everything. Sometimes I do not have the tools to do everything. Earlier today I was part of a 90-minute session on strengths-based leadership. Forcing myself to think about my strengths and how they interplay with others strengths. As I sat at my desk this afternoon, I started thinking about those goals I had set for 2017 and where I stood with them. So, following are some of my goals that really taught me something, and how I have been working towards them. Most importantly, this post is a post about how I have learned about myself and my role in life, not just how I made a plan and some follow-through.
Finish Writing a Novel
I have not started. Fortunately, even though I listed this at the top of the list, I had always planned to participate in NaNoWriMo and begin brainstorming on November 1. I am very eager to get started with this tomorrow. I had originally planned on using my blog posts as a means to practice writing daily, and when I remember, I still do. However, I found that for a while over the summer writing just wasn’t interesting me (nor was reading), and it became a chore. Therefore, I had no posts from July through September. I still have drafts of posts that I promised, and I still promise you that they will get written.
Run a marathon
I registered for the Kansas City Marathon in May and I switched my registration to the Half Marathon the night before the race. Although I had a training plan and I had been running, I stopped finding the joy in running. I stopped caring about how far or how long I ran and only cared about when it was over. For many of you, that may be how you run. However, I love running. I love the feeling I get from the power of my own two legs. I love the strong calf muscles. I love the strong lungs. So, for me to be having legitimate anxiety about running a race I knew something was wrong. There were a lot of people (mainly people who had not run a full marathon before) who told me that I could do it. One day, I finally sat down with myself and realized that most everybody I know who had run a marathon was oddly silent. I realized that a lot of the people I talked to had run half marathons, but never full marathons. I realized that it just wasn’t my time to run a full marathon.
Now, for the fun part. I ran a half marathon in 3 hours 7 seconds. I walked on all of the uphill stretches in the second half of the race because I was just burnt out. My stomach was full of powerade and water, it was a little bit warmer than I would have liked, and as a slow runner anyway, I was surrounded by walkers for the majority of the race. But that was totally okay, because it meant that when I was running I was giving it my everything. I finished only seven seconds slower than what I wanted my maximum time to be. I walked away feeling proud, a bit sore (because 13.1 miles on concrete is a lot harder on the knees than I realized), and ready to run another (lets be honest, several more) in 2018. Maybe one day I will do a full marathon, but for now I love that I love to run, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
Live healthier every day
This one had several sub-goals. I am going to include one thing that was not a sub-goal and one that was. First, there were a couple of weeks in October that I stopped consuming alcohol. One night I was drinking a beer I didn’t even like because it was all I had at home and halfway through I just stared at it and wondered what the heck I was doing. The next morning, I saw a post on Facebook reminding me that Sober October exists, so I tried it for a bit. I told my friends, and they were all really supportive. I think only one person asked if I was pregnant! But ultimately, I just needed to figure out why I felt the need to drink. At the same time, I wasn’t sleeping well, I was tired literally all of the time, and I just wanted to give my body some recovery time. Since then, I have only had alcohol I legitimately enjoy (red wine) and I have not felt drunk at all. While it still makes me somewhat uncomfortable to be confident in saying that I stopped drinking in excess given the environment that I am in, it also makes me really proud to know that I am keeping poison out of my body.
Second, the thing on the list, decrease my resting heart rate to 71 bpm. Why 71 bpm? Because I have a heart murmur and for as long as I can remember, my heart rate has been over 75 bpm, even when I was playing sports. I honestly did not think that I would be able to drop my heart rate below 70. Well, I am proud to say that 64-65 bpm is now a reality for me! Through hard work, a good diet (I would say low-fat, but I do not in fact know that that is the thing doing it), and exercise I have been able to surpass this goal.
Open a retirement account
So this one, I looked into it. I was totally ready to call somebody, then I needed a new car. So this is still a goal. If the money I could have put into a retirement account is the money I have paid towards my car loan, I would say that this goal has been successful. I still have plans to do this, and I recall actually telling my friend right after I bought the car that this was supposed to be my retirement money. In any case, I know the time to start saving is now, and once I feel like I have regained some financial security I will do just that. I hope that this will be very early into the 2018 year, and given that it is at the forefront of my mind I see that there is no reason for it not to get done.
How are you doing on your 2017 goals? There are still two months left- over 60 days with which to work on achieving them, and another year ready and waiting to continue working towards them.