New Year, New Goals

No New Year’s resolutions for 2012. Instead I am going for challenging, yet attainable goals.  No more “I will lose 25 pounds.” No “I will run more.” No “I will get back into shape.” These generic all or nothing resolutions do not set concrete descriptions of what I want to accomplish. This year I will simply reach a little further than I thought possible.

Cindra Kamphoff has written a great article on just this topic, “Set Goals Not Resolutions.” I recommend you read it. The goal vs. resolution approach applies to more than physical fitness goals. This can be clearly seen in The Running Historian’s blog post, “Eight Goals for 2012” where she breaks it down by categories such as Health, Professional, and Personal. These two great women have inspired me to create my own goals for 2012. Here they are:

Fitness:

Earth Day 5K 2010

Earth Day 5K 2010 - My first race after getting back into running!

Run 500 miles in 2012. My running was hit-and-miss in 2011 and I still managed roughly 350 miles. I have already started training for the St. Cloud Earth Day Half Marathon in April. The training for this event alone should get me to half or more of my desired miles. In addition to the Earth Day Half I’m also looking at the Tri-Fitness Half Fast 1/2 Marathon (basically a 10K) in February to keep me motivated. I am also looking at other events to keep me on track.

Run an entire Half Marathon: I have completed two half marathons to date. The first I ended up walking small stretches because it was my first and I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been. Not to mention the course was hilly (Stillwater Half Marathon) and the noon temperature was 90°. I was done before 10:00 am, but you get the idea. My second race was the Mankato half. My cardio was great, but I was plagued by hip and foot injuries. After about mile 8 I had to split between walking and running because my plantar faciitis was so bad I could barely put pressure on my foot. That was 2010. After a year of taking it easy to try and mend, my ultimate goal is to complete two half marathons (not just one) in 2012 and run both of them.

Personal/Professional:

This particular set of goals kind of blurs the line between my personal goals and professional aspirations. You’ll see in a moment. They are also out of my control at the moment, but I’m okay with that.

Get accepted into the Learning Technologies PhD program at the University of Minnesota: This process actually started in 2011. My application is in. The hard work is done (for now). If, no, when I am accepted, my life will change and put me on the path towards my long-term goal of teaching at the university level. How drastically my life will change is dependent on my next goal …

Receive an assistantship to fund my degree: Ideally I am setting out to receive an assistantship (teaching or research) to fund my doctoral pursuit. If this happens I will become a full-time student which means a drastic change in lifestyle. One income plus a meager stipend and any additional part-time work I can find (maybe some adjunct teaching??) that will help to supplement our otherwise reduced income. I’ve planned and budgeted. I traded in my car for a less expensive, more fuel-efficient car. We’re working on refinancing the house to reduce our monthly expenses. It all works on paper.

Submit an article for publication: This too was started in 2011, but will continue well into 2012. My Master’s thesis committee advised that I rework my thesis for publication. I have started to pull it apart and am now slowly reassembling it for the purposes of publication in an academic journal. I would love to see something published as I’m just entering a doctorate program. How awesome would that be?!

There you have it. Five fairly well-defined goals, that are not an end to themselves, but only put me further along in my mission. They are attainable, but will not be easy. I think I can find ways to continue to motivate myself throughout the year.

Are you willing to establish goals instead of resolutions? What are your thoughts? Share your goals for 2012 – making them public may inspire you to stick to them!

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