Sticky Resolutions

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If you believe the world will end tomorrow, skip this and enjoy a good run, hearty meal and strong drink.

The rest of us, let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions. Have you made yours yet?

Resolutions are an excellent way to get guilted motivated into healthier habits. Except, most tend to get forgotten by February.

What resolutions? Oh… Yeah. Turned out, I couldn’t really give up all sugary sweets for good and lose 35 pounds and qualify for Boston, and work out every day, and cook from scratch all the time, and go to sleep at a reasonable time instead of watch Netflix/ Hulu for hours in bed.

Cheers to that, yes?

The trick to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions is making the right ones. Getting started on the right foot, so to speak. Here’s how I do it, in five easy steps:

Step 1: Be reasonable

I am probably the 17,000th person to say that, so I’ll be quick. To be achieved, goals need to be achievable. Lose 35 pounds next year — or lose the 5 that really are there to be lost?

Step 2: Be specific

The more abstract a resolution – I’ll eat healthy – the harder to hold your self accountable.

Goals should be specific – so you could write them down and ultimately check them off. Done!

“Next year, I’ll have at least one meatless day a week.”

Step 3: … but dream a little, too

There must be a million inspirational quotes on Pinterest about going beyond your comfort zone, reaching for the stars, etc.

I could try, sure. But I don’t want to set myself up for failure. So for each resolution, I make a plan B.

For example:

Resolution: Next year, I want to run two marathons and ten half marathons.
Plan B: Really, I’ll be happy with one marathon and, if possible, a half marathon each month — as long as I’m healthy and injury-free.

Resolution: I want run a marathon in under four hours.
Plan B: I’ll be really happy if I finished in 4:09 — which all calculators tell me is reasonable given my fastest half marathon time this summer.

Resolution: I want to lose 15 pounds. (That would improve my running so much!)
Plan B: I’d be thrilled if I lost five.

Resolution: I’ll cut my coffee consumption in half.
Plan B: … [thinking] … [still thinking] … Oh, who are we kidding, never gonna happen.

The best coffee I have ever had, 100% Kona, made in a French press, at Mama’s Fish House on Maui. $14 may seem pricey – but so worth it (and enough for three cups). Why even consider giving up that stuff?

Step 4: Do a monthly check-in

It’s crazy how easily we forget noble intentions. Keeping those resolutions where you can see them helps. A goal of running one half marathon a month, for example, is hard to ignore if I register for many of them advance and mark the dates on my calendar.

Meatless Mondays? Mark that on the calendar too – use your kids’ stickers to make things fun.

Step 5: Document

There are so many smartphone apps to help you track your progress these days.

For example: I use RunKeeper to track my running. RunKeeper also allows you to set goals, like a cumulative distance to run in a given period of time. I want to run 1200 miles next year, so I’ll set that up as a goal come January 1.

I also use GymPact, an app that literally pays me money to work out at the gym or run. (But when I don’t, it charges my credit card.) I’ve made about $20 since I started using it; if I keep it up I should have about $120 by the end of next year — hello, new running shoes!

I wrote all about RunKeeper goals and Gympact in a previous post, on staying motivated during the holidays. Check it out!

And there you have it, my resolutions – and plans B. What are yours?

Today’s run Last run before the end of the world:

An easy 8-miler was on the schedule for today — I’m guessing a break from intervals (the typical Thursday fare).

The weather was sunny, breezy, just perfect. If this were really to be my last run, ever… the world will end with one more happy runner!

3 thoughts on “Sticky Resolutions

  • Pingback: Here’s Why I’m Not Making 2014 Resolutions | Confessions of a Caffeinated Mother Runner

  • December 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    This is well timed, I spent last night’s jet-lag awake-time to plan my 2013 resolutions, for both running and life. And I dithered about whether to put a BIG goal that I’m not sure I can do or an easier goal that I think that, with work, I can do. Maybe now I need A and B goals! I will share mine when they’re finalised…I’m very keen on NY Resolutions, I like mine to be well written 🙂
    Like yours very much. I think we should resolve to meet up and run together, bearing in mind we live so close and are about the same speed, usually!

    • December 21, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      An excellent idea – we definitely should (especially if we can coordinate to do the same race). You’re a little faster than me, I think – but that’s a good thing, I need someone to pull me beyond my comfort zone!


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