How will you improve yourself in 2015?

  • This was printed in December of 2014 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 84th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

My resolution this year was to get six-pack abs.

It didn’t happen, except for the day after I ran the San Joaquin River Trail 50-mile race. I

woke up and my elusive six-pack had magically appeared. It just as swiftly went away

after I ate breakfast, but it was there!

I just wasn’t motivated to keep my resolution. When you’re concentrating on racing and

mileage, abdominal crunches and oblique work just fall by the wayside.

But I’m not disappointed that I failed. I made it a goal in April to run an ultramarathon,

and in November I did just that. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution, per se, but it may as

well have been. Who says we have to make our New Year’s resolution right on January

1?

Still, as this year draws to an end it’s a good time to think about starting 2015 out on the

right foot. What are your goals for the New Year?

Fitness and health related goals are easy to drum up.

You can set a mileage goal, like run one mile or an entire 5K without walking, or even a

half marathon or a full 26.2-miler.

You can resolve to cut soda, added sugar, carbs, etc. from your diet. Or you can vow to

eat more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

Maybe you want to be able to hold a plank for five minutes, or do 100 continuous

pushups or perfect a yoga posture that has eluded you.

Choose one goal that will improve your physical health and focus on that each day.

I also like to set a mental health goal each year.

In the past I have vowed to give at least three compliments to friends, family and

strangers each day. Spread kindness and it will come back to you.

This year I resolved to do something every day that scared me. I signed up for races that I

was nervous about. I volunteered to do some public speaking — something that I

absolutely hate. On a smaller scale, I left my cell phone at home on purpose while

running errands, I unfriended some negative people on Facebook and I let my 4-year-old

daughter dress herself for school. All of it scared me to some extent, but it all made me

realize I can go with the flow and survive.

Whatever your New Year’s resolution is, tackle it day by day. Each day, try to be a better

“you” than you were yesterday. You have a whole year to keep your resolution — but that

year consists of 365 days during which you inch your way toward a new you.

It’ll be quite difficult to do 100 pushups on Dec. 31, 2015 if you don’t start sometime

during the year with just one.

Likewise, you won’t feel much better about yourself if you don’t say a kind word to

strangers all year but then rush around, doling out 100 compliments on its last day.

Write down your resolutions so that you can reference them every day, in case you forget.

To improve my physical health and pay it forward, I resolve to run a 100K and help at

least three other people meet their running goals in 2015.

To improve my mental health, I resolve to rid myself of enemies and “frenemies.” I will

apologize to anyone I have offended and I will forgive those who have mistreated me. I

will surround myself with truly authentic people who I care for and who care for me.

Oh yeah, and I still want a six-pack.

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