Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Year Resolutions - By George, I Think It's Working!

So, how are your New Year's resolutions going?  Did you make any?  I almost didn't.  Then I decided if I didn't start setting some intentions for myself, how could I reasonably expect to accomplish anything new?  As runners, I think whether we believe in New Year's resolutions or not, we are already well-practiced in the art of setting intentions.  After all, if you race at all, then you have set a goal for yourself in some way, shape, or form.

Having decided that I would let this discipline carry over to other parts of my life and in fact make a few resolutions for this year - you know, just to try it on for size - I thought it might be a good thing to check in this morning and see how I am doing with them. After all, we're almost two months into the new year already.  So, let's take a look at how I am doing...

Here is the list of the goals I set out for myself.  I'll gloss over the running-related ones, because aside from saying that I am still working towards them, there isn't really anything new to add.  Just to refresh your memory, here were my non-running-related goals for 2013:
  • Clean up my core  
  • Stretch more 
  • Get the kids outside more  
  • Try my hand at meditating
  • BIG GOAL: Worry less
And, as far as they go, I am pleased to say that I am still on track.  Here's where I am at:

Core: I am in the fourth week of a regular core program.  I have drawn out the original four-week program by actually making each week into a three-week program in and of itself.  My core was so weak, that it took me that long to feel I could progress from week 1 to 2.  So, six days a week - aside from that one slip up that had me sitting out for several days - I do about five minutes of core exercises. I suppose it doesn't sound like much, and I would be lying if I said I didn't wonder sometimes if that really is going to make that much of a difference.  However, in the end, five minutes a day is more than zero minutes a day, so it's an improvement.

Stretch more: Originally, I wanted to fulfill this by starting weekly yoga classes.  Unfortunately, given that I have one day a week I can do yoga and also given that that day is usually sucked away by something else, I have yet to actually meet this goal as originally intended.  What I have done successfully, though, is to recommit to stretching more after running AND I have been very consistent with nightly foam rolling sessions.  Both, I believe, have had a positive impact on reducing the daily aches and pains I get from running.

Get the kids outside more:  This has been hit or miss.  When handed a day off of school, I was very pleased with myself when instead of just sending them out to play, I went out too and played with them.  Unfortunately, the weather has been such that no one wants to be outside for too long.  So, I guess I could say I am still working on this.

Meditate:  This goal is the one I am probably most proud of.  I haven't done too much meditating yet, but I feel that I have taken the time to properly set the stage for it.  I have developed a morning routine that I feel I can stick to and that will one day include meditation.  The new routine entails waking up an hour earlier than I had been and sipping a cup of hot lemon water.  Then I allow myself to read whatever I want until my kids wake up.  I did this for several weeks while I just got used to the early hour.  This past week, I have finally started to slip in some meditation between the waking up and preparing the hot lemon water and the actual drinking of it.  Since I don't actually know what I am doing, it's hard to say if I am actually meditating or really just sitting there with my eyes closed breathing deeply, but whatever it is I can now do it for about seven minutes.  Again, small improvements.

What I have noticed is that the lemon water/reading combo is a very relaxing routine for me in and of itself.  Waking up earlier and taking this time for myself I feel I have discovered a very gentle way to start the day, and beginning each day with some "me time" has really positively impacted my days so far.  Because I have already had that time to myself - for myself - I am noticing that even if my day gets hectic later, I seem better able to handle it.  As a result of this routine, I feel calmer throughout the day. I seem to be happier generally and I definitely have more patience with my kids.

Additionally, I have used the morning routine lately to set an intention for the day.  This was an idea I picked up from a couple of sources on the Internet, so I cannot claim it as my own.  But that has been somehow nice, too.  For example, today knowing I was waking up after not much sleep last night, I set the intention to be friendly and nice even though I was tired.  It's a small thing, but I think setting intentions like this is making a big difference in how I move throughout the day.

Finally, the big goal: worry less.  Well, this one is really hard to quantify, but I am working on it.  Part of worrying, I believe, is simply in how you talk to yourself.  So, when I find myself worrying about something, I simply tell myself to let it go.  Also, to help myself, I have decided to use Lent to my advantage.  Some people give up soft drinks, some people chocolate (I did that myself last year).  This year I have decided to give up stress.  So, if you ask me what I gave up for Lent, that's what I will tell you.  I gave up stress. Is it really gone?  No, of course not.  But again, it's all about intentions.  I guess I believe if you give voice to your intentions often enough, eventually you will follow through.  If I tell myself I gave up stress enough, maybe one day it will happen.

How are you doing on your goals?


  1. You are doing awesome on your resolutions! I have a bunch - family, fitness, & finances. :-) My running ones are going pretty well, but I got derailed there by ski season, since it's hard to get in all of my runs when we're skiing so often.

    I really need to focus on my strength training. I tend to only do it when I'm at the gym, & now that I'm running more, I'm either on my own treadmill or outside running, not at the gym. Also, stretching remains a big focus area for me as well.

    1. Isn't it funny how as runners out running resolutions tend to go really well, while the other ones take a back seat? lol That happens here, too, which is why I really wanted to spotlight them. I am hoping if I keep bringing this up occasionally on my blog, it will make me more accountable. It sounds like you are doing well, though. Think of the skiing as cross-training for the running and keeping you fit for it. As to strength, I have that problem too. I found that investing in a couple of simple tools - exercise ball and some hand weights - I at least have some options for at home. :) Thanks for posting!

  2. Hi Shannon,
    I just started following your blog. Love it. I am new to running. I started a year ago but I have flaked and been sick. I know it is hard just to start and my goal this year it to finally call myself a runner. I am learning. I started a blog myself to use as my diary for running. Anywho. I wanted to know if you wouldn't mind maybe sharing (or writing a blog post) on your work outs and stretches. What do you do for core exercise and stretching. I have searched but the results are a bit overwhelming and I really don't know where to start. Thanks for any advice!

    1. Hi Stephanie! Thanks for stopping by! I will be sure to check out your blog. I will ponder the stretching/core work thing and post something in the next few days. I was thinking of doing that anyway! :)

      Running is a funny business. It can be a bitch to get into it, but if at one point you find yourself completely and utterly addicted, don't be surprised. For me, it took a few years before I felt I couldn't live without it. It wasn't love at first sight, I can assure you. If you find yourself flaking again, the best advice I can give you is to turn off your brain. Get dressed, put on your shoes, and head outside. Don't let yourself think about it! If you do, you'll find a million reasons not to do it. Don't think, just do. You'll thank yourself for it down the road - literally and figuratively.

  3. Glad your goals are going well Shannon!