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The Year Ahead: Turning Goals Into Habits

Happy New Year, BibRave fam!

I just came back from a fabulous warm weather vacation to the Bahamas with a group of friends, and on the last day one of them asked me about my New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, I’m not much of a New Year’s Resolutions gal, so I shrugged my shoulders and said as much. His reply, “so you’re not goal oriented.”

MF-er, what?!

This Type-A tiger mom almost lost her shit. At the same time, I could feel myself getting defensive about my self-identification as a goal-oriented person, so I stopped to think: what are my goals, how do I define them, and how do I achieve said goals?

Not surprisingly, many of my personal goals are fitness-related. And, after further reflection, I realized I’ve begun to define them in relation to my training cycles. When I don’t have Marathon training on my calendar I crave the structure and forward-focused goal. So in the past few years I’ve begun to create mini-goals in between training cycles that keep me motivated and ideally complement my running to make me a stronger athlete in the off-season.

In 2018 I finished up my Six Marathons in Six Months, ended up with a knee niggle that wouldn’t go away, which resulted in some time off running to let my body heal. While shifting my goals away from a number of Marathons or a Marathon PR, I was able to focus on strengthening standard areas of runner weakness – balance, flexibility, and focus. I began a Core Power Yoga black tag membership that kept me accountable to go to at least 2 classes a week. It was a wonderful addition to my training throughout the year, and the yogi mentality of acceptance, being deliberate and present, are tips that I carry into my running today.

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As I ended my 2018 training season, and after the Chicago Marathon, I started to think about another area where I’ve wanted to increase my knowledge and capability – heavy weight lifting. This has been such a hot topic in the last year or two, and I’ve always felt too intimidated to approach lifting anything more than 30 pounds at the gym. So starting in October and leading into 2019 my focus has been to add more focus and diligence to my strength training routine.

As with all new goals, I made a plan to keep me on track.

Step 1 – Find an expert to teach me the proper form and approach

I found a trainer highly recommended by both my Chiropractor/Sports Doctor and Tim! He had a heavy focus on proper form and tons of experience coaching and training at our local CrossFit gym. We talked about my goals, what was needed to achieve them, and we set-out to do 10 sessions (2 a week) to learn the basics and get me comfortable with select moves and weight. Frequency was key to learn new movement and experience real gains.

Step 2 – Take Individually-Focused Sessions

I cheated a little here and recruited Tim to come with me 🙂 It helped with the intimidation factor to have someone else there and not have every single session focused on just me. But this was so much more productive than just trying to throw myself into a CrossFit class where I would be trying to keep up vs learn. I also was invested (monetarily and physically) in a productive output from the class and it was fun to have a new activity to try.

Step 3 – Make This an Ongoing Habit

Obviously the cost of the individual sessions added up. So, after feeling like I had a good handle on how to move with a barbell, adding weight, warming-up into heavier weights, etc I talked to my trainer about tackling a CrossFit Class. I chose to go to one of his classes so there would be familiarity in instructor and style, and I picked an early morning class where attendance would be low. I went to 2 classes that only had 5-6 other participants that week, and after some holiday travel I’m ready to get back into it! Ideally I’ll keep up the 2-times a week frequency through my Spring Boston training and I’m able to integrate strength into my running ongoing.

While it’s been tempting to do more of what I’m good at – believe me, I HATE being bad at things – it’s also been really rewarding to learn new things. After reading Peak Performance two years ago I’ve really worked to embrace the idea that doing new and scary things will make me better and stronger in the long run. PLUS, when you are new at something, you get to experience newbie gains (remember when you started running and every race was a new PR?!).

So – I can happily report that I have some pretty focussed goals this year, even though they aren’t as quantitative as my running goals in the past. Would love to hear if anyone else gets into the whole New Year’s resolution thing, if so how, and if not I’d love to hear more about how people address goals in general. To me, goals have always been the most sure-fire way to make gains and get better (at anything), but I’m always open to new ideas!

4 comments on “The Year Ahead: Turning Goals Into Habits

  1. Pingback: The BibRave Podcast Episode 127: Exploring the Vermont City Marathon and a chat about Tidying Up – BibRave Blog

  2. I started Crossfit a few months ago. I was not comfortable doing group classes so I also invested in private lessons. I figured that money spent would help me stay motivated and it sure has. I am transitioning to group classes now and while I prefer PT, I am enjoying the classes and love my coaches. I love how lifting makes me feel and how it is benefiting my running enormously!

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  3. BibRaveJess

    Cassondra – so great to hear and thanks for reading. Agreed it was money VERY well spent. I still feel self conscious in class but WAY more confident! And yes – I love feeling strong too!

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  4. Pingback: The BibRave Podcast Episode 128: PR announcements and planning your race calendar – BibRave Blog

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