Sunday, October 14, 2012

Goals schmoals - it's all good!

"It’s all good. No matter what path you find, no matter where you end up, it’s beautiful. There is no bad path, no bad destination. It’s only different, and different is wonderful. Don’t judge, but experience." Leo Babauto

I love that quote! Leo's blog zenhabits always has a tidbit that inspires me to live happier.

Once upon a time, for many many years, I did what most people do and kept a To Do List, set goals, planned ahead, etc. But the list kept getting longer, and what I planned to do each day rarely happened as other more important tasks popped up. I would get depressed at the end of the day and feel like a failure because I didn't accomplish many of the things that I set out to do. I would be stressed in the morning as I re-wrote the list because it was overwhelming and impossible to accomplish all. About 2 years ago, I was assigned to a work project that would soon become overwhelming. My To Do List extended beyond the many lines on my Day Timer page. I was stressed beyond imagination and only had time to put out the fires of each day. Despite achieving the big picture items, and receiving accolades from my managers and co-workers, I still felt guilty for not completing all of the little things. It was all too much.

Then I took Leo Babauto's approach of "no goals" to heart. I quit maintaining a To Do List in 2012. The most important tasks that need to be accomplished stick in my brain without the need to write them down, and the lesser important ones can slip through the cracks if time doesn't permit. I worked hard; accomplished a lot without feeling like a failure for not achieving every single thing that I used to write down as a task to accomplish.

In November 2011, I ran my PR marathon. I trained hard that summer/fall but was burned out afterwards. At the end of December 2011, I did as usual and set new running goals for 2012 that would exceed the prior year. I was optimistic, but also knew that I needed a break. I have run in 2012, just not as often or high of mileage. The mileage and runs per week dwindled as I turned my focus towards my teen daughter that needed more guidance. And as the miles dwindled.. weight was gained, stress increased, life was less fun.

A few weeks ago I got back into the running grove. And life is soooooo much better! But.. the running log book that I use has a section at the top for "weekly goal". I felt a strong pull to fill in the blank. So my entry for the week of 9/24-30 was "build base"; an easily accomplishable goal. I ran 6 days that week for a total of 12.78 miles. The next week I became more ambitious and the goal that I wrote for 10/1-7 was "lose 0.5 pound, run 13 miles". I lost 0.3 pounds and ran 14.43 miles, so I felt like a partial failure, but looked at the glass as half-full and was happy to have lost a little bit of weight rather than gain. 

So for this week, 10/8-14, I set the goal of losing 0.1 pound and running 15 miles. My legs were sore and I was sick a few days so the daily milage wasn't up to the plan. However, I ran every day for at least a mile, but it ended up at 12.07 miles for the week. I also gained 0.2 pounds. I looked at the numbers and became depressed. I can't change the numbers on the scale, but I guess I could still go out and run a double for today to get in the other 3 miles to meet that goal. But like I said, my legs are sore.. I've run 16 days in a row now.. why in the heck would I go out and run again today just to meet a silly mileage goal?

As I mentioned earlier, I try to look at the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. I may have missed my pre-set goals for the week, but if I throw out the goals and look at the accomplishments, I can get excited and happy again. I may have gained 0.2 pounds and ran 3 miles less than goal, but.. here is what I accomplished:  run streak day 16, 3 weeks in a row of mileage over 10 miles/week, amazing trail run, new trail shoes, experimented with different healthy recipes, drank less soda.  

I still have the personality that will force me to write in that blank for "weekly goals" in my running log. So this week I'm going to make at something fun, such as Brooks philosophy of Run Happy!

1 comment:

  1. I recently read something about goals and running. I wish I could remember where (Runner's World?). The gist of it was to have three goals at the beginning of each run-the exceptional, the reasonable and the acceptable. For me and a 5K, an exceptional goal is 40 minutes (and at my size that would be booking it) and that is my where my current sights are focused. However, a reasonable goal is to break 50 minutes. And an acceptable goal is to just finish. I've been keeping this three tiered goal setting in mind the last couple of weeks and I think it's served me well. I just wonder if that might work for your innate need to set goals and avoid being depressed by numbers? Just a thought. Glad to see your updates on DM and posts here again!