"Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations. If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won't exist because you'll have already shut it out." -Mae Jemison, astronaut

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Setting 2012 Goals: Aww, mum, do I have to?

I'm not a "New Years" person. I don't try to stay up until midnight. I've never done the resolution thing.

Then someone suggested, with it being the new year, I should write a post on my goals for 2012. Sounded painfully tedious. Rather like list-making and I already do enough of that. But the seed was planted. I started to wonder ... What am I doing with 2012? What do I want to achieve? What am I aiming for this year? And next? Do I have a plan? Does it matter?

Every time I thought about it for more than a minute or two, I found myself distracted with something else. Crow brain. Easily distracted by shiny objects :)

But I remembered the saying, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting." Not that I mind much of what I've been "getting" this past year or so in my life, but I'd like to think I'm a proactive type. So maybe having some intentionality around things isn't such a bad idea. Maybe even worth a little mental "list-making." Blogging is the way I've decided to get my brain to focus on this for more than 120 seconds. (But I can tell you, this blog has taken about 4 days so far to write!)


Although I've been a runner for perhaps 7 or 8 years, my passion for the sport has become Frankensteinian over 18 months. In 2011 I somehow found myself vice president of the Australian Ultra Runners' Association (AURA), with its 400 members, and starting the Perth Trail Series (PTS), which has sold out for the first event coming up in 9 days. I found myself overseas racing at World Trail Championships and the Commonwealth 24 hr and running a record breaking 1000 km adventure on the Bibbulmun Track. Then in December, Rolf and I were having an innocent conversation about ordering some PTS tech shirts from our favourite tech clothing company and suddenly found ourselves starting a new company as the Australian distributors of RaceReady (you need pockets... and skirts - unless you're a boy, then maybe you just need pockets).

These running-related projects, combined with my very enjoyable child psychology practice and my not-so-enjoyable-but-bearably-interesting PhD, has the makings for an intense 2012.

Rolf and I are already committed to running the 320 km 3-country Transalpine stage race in Europe in September - not for sheep stations, though. In fact, precisely not for sheep stations. It's a chance to run together through some amazing terrain and cultures for the sheer joy of it.

As lead-up prep, I'm thinking of TNF100k in Australia's Blue Mountains mid-May. The goals for that one: some great mountain training, going as fast as possible, and having a grand adventure with a heap of my WA mates who are all going over east for it.

But I haven't finished with the 24 hr race yet, after the failure at Commonwealths. Sri Chinmoy Sydney 24 hr race in June? Looks like perfect timing - my fitness should be at peak after TNF100.

Then, find a way to disappear from WA winter - back to the Canadian Rockies or over to the Swiss alps for a few months before Transalps, would be nice. Hopefully my citizenship application will go in at this time, too.

To finish off the year - Coast to Kosci Ultramarathon - the race I couldn't fit in this past year due to the Bibbulmun. Speaking of which, that journey has whet my appetite for more. So for 2013, is a repeat in order? Or do I aim for a 6-day or 10-day track race? Or find another long distance trail I can tackle? My crow eyes are on the lookout for just the right shiny object to latch onto.

Excellent. I have heaps of goals now. But what's the mission statement driving them all? More than a resolution or two, I think I need a statement of purpose driving my actions. What if I fail at a goal? I'll need to be able to recover by knowing that I'm still in line with my mission statement. There can be other means to the end.

Gee, I actually wrote a mission statement about 20 years ago during one of those "find yourself" type workshops, but haven't much thought about it of late: To create exciting, challenging opportunities to use my brain in making a contribution to the world.

It still fits. I run for me, but far beyond that now, I use running to inspire. Why VP of AURA? Why PTS? RaceReady rep? Blogging? Maintaining a website? Child psychologist? To enable people to aspire. So that others can set their own goals, create their own mission statements. So there can be more happiness in the world.

So if you haven't set a new year's resolution to lose weight, cut down on booze, or stop smoking, that might not be a bad thing. What I mean is there's no point if it's not something you completely believe in and have put some intentionality behind. Otherwise, there will be nothing to keep driving it forward through to achievement. You need to know why and to believe in your answer. Or you'll just be left with that sad pit-of-the-stomach feeling if you fail at a goal. If you have a mission, you can just find another goal to achieve it.

Now, where does my PhD fit? Damn. I'm having an ah-ha moment.

Thanks, guys, for being my sounding board :)

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating to read. Your perspectives, and ways of thinking about stuff is really cool to read. Thanks to Rolf for helping me to push the pace at 6 inch at some important moments too...
    I really agree with the idea that goals need to be something we really are strongly committed to chasing, and have some sort of chance of achieving. Being flexible enough to continue to be driven to get the best out of ourselves despite failures, is also something I aspire to. I also see the importance of having a mission (should we choose to accept it...ala mission impossible) driving our goals. Its easy to get so wound up in a particular goal that we forget about the mission that was driving the goal in the first place, and thats something we all have to come back to every now and then, especially when injury, finances, or other factors change our achievement goals or timelines...Appreciate bloggers who have such cool thinking patterns...Its ofen far more insightful than reading the paper, watching TV or facebooking...

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