2012 goals

It’s common to make New Year’s resolutions. “I’m going to lose 30 pounds, get more sleep and drink less alcohol.” “I’m going to be nicer to my mom, get good grades and get a part-time job.” “I’m going to spend less time at the office, learn to make cheesecake and read 30 books.”

But the word “resolution” has always intimidated me. Saying that I “resolve” to do something means that I WILL do it. What if I try and fail? What if life gets in the way and I can’t get it done? I prefer to set goals. I try to work toward them, and if I can make some progress, then it means I’m on the right path. For instance, this year I set the goal of beating my previous times in as many running distances as possible. I did it in both the half-marathon and marathon, so I met part of that goal. I had the same goal last year, which I did in the half-marathon but not the marathon — partly because an injury ruined my plans and took me out for four months. I didn’t break a resolution in 2010; rather, I tried to reach a goal but didn’t quite get there.

It’s a small difference, but I guess a “goal” sounds more positive to me than a “resolution.” Considering how tumultuous my life has been lately, I’m desperately clinging to every positive bit I can find. So, here we go: my goals for 2012. They are few, and are unintentionally listed in order of difficulty, starting with the easiest.

1. Break four hours in the marathon. I’m actually hoping to do this on January 1 (as in, next Sunday?!), so it sure would be nice to meet that goal on the first day of 2012. If I don’t, I doubt I’ll have another chance until next fall.

2. Beat my half-marathon time. I’ve made, and reached, this goal each year since I ran my first half-marathon in 2008. However, now it’s getting harder because I’ve gotten faster. At some point I will stop getting faster, and I’ll have to change my goal. See why it’s a goal rather than a resolution?

3. Undisclosed goal. (Yes, you may die of curiosity now.)

4. The doozy: Start on one of two book ideas. This is the truly scary one, even though the undisclosed No. 3 is pretty freaking scary. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write a book. I’ve made it my goal for years. Many of my friends know and encourage me to start writing already. It actually haunts me more than anything else in my life. It scares the heck out of me, because I don’t know what I’ll do if I fail. Back when I started running, I set a far-off goal to run one half-marathon. I never, ever thought that 2011 would find me on the brink of my sixth full marathon and five weeks away from my first ultra-marathon — and without a book to my name.

Saying “one of two book ideas” means that I’ve narrowed it down. I, the always indecisive one, have actually ruled out all other options. The fiction attempt from last year, which ended in 5,000 words, is gone. A couple admittedly easier ideas are also gone. When it comes down to it, there are two ideas that refuse to leave. One is perhaps slightly easier, because it would involve less outside research and interviewing, though it would still be far from “easy.” The other is the monster of an idea I’ve had for years, and which I keep shooting down — I know that others have written similar books, it would require interviewing and traveling to be done right (on what budget?), and it could fail in spectacular, horrific fashion that would devastate me.

I know I’m being vague. That’s how it goes in the area of unpublished, uncopyrighted ideas (though I’ve bounced ideas off a few people, and want to do more of it). That’s also how it goes when I’m a bit freaked out by the fact that I’m putting this goal in solid words — actually, in multiple paragraphs.

I’ve had a very rough couple of weeks, and it seems that every time I start to rebound, something happens again. Today was another day of ups and downs, and I almost deleted this whole nearly-finished post. But I’ve been clinging to every bit of hope and happiness that I can find, and somewhere in today’s waves of chaos and calm, I decided that this post would be a good thing. Maybe these few goals will give me something to hold onto until the storm waves subside.

8 Responses to 2012 goals

  1. I can’t wait to help you with your goals in any way I can!!! 2012 is your year, I feel it in my bones :-)

  2. I think I mostly like to do what you do & set goals that I’m willing to work hard for, knowing that there’s only so much I can control & it’s entirely possible I might not be able to achieve them in one year. But I also like to pick a few concrete things I have more control over & am 99% sure I CAN do if I make myself (usually small & manageable so that they’re not too overwhelming!). I hope you’ve had a good Christmas & that you have a GREAT race on Sunday!

  3. I love your view on resolutions vs goals – I completely agree!! To me, you make a resolution for something that is bad for you – a goal is something that you are going to push yourself to achieve (like writing the book or running a sub-4 hour marathon!)
    #3 REALLY intrigues me…but I’m sure we will all find out sooner or later (yes?)
    I’m sorry you’ve had a rough couple of weeks – when I’m in a slump, setting goals usually helps me b/c it gives me clarity and direction with my life.

  4. I’m excited for your goals! I will be sending all sorts of speedy vibes on Sunday and as for #3 & #4, DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I think I might set some goals too. I did last year and we moved here I had accomplished 4 out of 6! I will continue to encourage you to reach your goals, because I know you can!

  6. Great idea, setting goals. Too many of us just muddle along, stuck in a rut or running around in circles. Having a goal or two means looking ahead, making plans and measuring our progress. So go to it, girl! It’s something we all should do! I’m proud to have an intelligent, insightful marathoner like you on my family tree!

  7. You forgot to add, “Fight a bald Scotsman on a rain-slicked rooftop”. Again.

  8. I want 2012 to get here soon so we can watch you soar!

    Great goals — and yes, I’ve always called them “goals” too, only I never quite defined why. This is totally it!