New Years has come and gone, resolutions have been made, it’s nearing the end of January and according to some studies it is around this time that most people’s resolutions have already been abandoned and long forgotten.

This is why I don’t make New Years resolutions; it’s like they’re innately meant to be broken as soon as they are made.  And this may come as a newsflash to some of you, but I also don’t set goals. Or perhaps, I should say; I don’t write down my goals.

Honestly, I’ve never been a goal-setting, type person. The biggest accomplishments in my life were never written down. I never wrote down “compete in duathlon world championships” “get a masters degree” “find a job that I love to wake up to every day”, rather they were thoughts, backed by determination and put into action.  

For the majority of the population, writing down goals and visually seeing them is a great motivator.  For myself, it’s not and I’ll explain why, below.

(Below is a pic from my 2009 workout journal. This is one of the first times I ever wrote down my goals and needless to say I learned my lesson.)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while or you know me well.  It is obvious that the above goals DID NOT happen. In 2009, I did go to Gazelle practice regularly, I attempted to run 30 miles/week and I did run the Boston Marathon, but it wasn’t under healthy, un-injured conditions, and it was over 4 hours while hobbling through stress fractures. Lesson learned: do not write down goals, ever again. Oh, and I don’t think I lost 8-10ls either.

Who are you goal-setting for?
In the past when I have been required to set goals and write them down, I felt pressured to write goals that reflected what the person telling me to write down goals would want to see from me; not necessarily what I wanted for myself.  I think this is something important to stop and think about: Are your goals really your goals? 
Are they going to make you happy and fulfilled, or are you setting them in the hopes of making other people happy or to seek the approval of others?  If deep down they aren’t your goals, chances are you’ll be miserable while trying to achieve them or you may not achieve them at all.

“Sometimes we become so caught up in our goals and so focused on the end result that we miss the miracles along the way”. – Joel Osteen

I’ve learned over the years, that when I set goals or pronounce them to the world, I get too focused on having to prove a point.  I think “I’ve already told people that I’m doing this half ironman, or that I’m doing the 60 Day Yoga Challenge, or that I will get a muscle up by such date” and I get so caught up in proving to others this goal that I push through injuries, I neglect other priorities, I focus so much on the “race day” – the final destination. And the times that I don’t make it to the “race day” because of injuries, etc. I focus more about how I’ve failed my goal rather than acknowledging how hard I trained, how much I improved, and the hardest part of the destination: the commitment to the actual journey.

“Life is not really about getting to a destination. It’s about how we live along the way. It’s easy to become so goal-oriented and so focused on our dreams that we overlook the simple things we should be enjoying each day. There is no such thing as the finish line. When we overcome one challenge, there will be another; there is always another mountain to climb”. 
– Joel Osteen

If you feel like you’ve already lost sight of your goals for the year, or you don’t think you’re reaching them fast enough, don’t give up and don’t forget to acknowledge your progress along the way.  Change doesn’t happen overnight. And if it does, it probably won’t last long. Fight the fight every day. Set your own goals. Your “race day’ is every day; start it right and finish it strong!