I am a believer in resolutions, something to aim for through the year. A thread to anchor the speeding days from floating away into oblivion. For 2015 I set a goal to log 1,500 miles. Not in our Prius, but on foot, by bike, on running trails, in the pool, or on the dreadful treadmill.
There was a carrot: exercise, seeing new places, burning calories from baked goods, and increased wellbeing from being outdoors and free of a device. The beginning of the year was a poor start; at the close of March I hadn’t crossed even a hundred miles.
I picked up the mileage in April, and started putting down a hundred miles each month. And more was on the line, the value of a new pair of running shoes. I was to fork over the cash value if I failed to finish.
Most of my miles accumulated were on the road cycling. My favorite ride would be finally making it across the Dumbarton Bridge, west from Fremont and completing a full 45 mile loop, mostly on the Bay Trail. I figured out the route in three trials, the penultimate being several months ago and getting me about two thirds around the south bay to a set point where my husband would retrieve me.
I love the landscape of the Baylands, for being captivated by the beauty in the negative space, the textures, and the reflections of the sky in the marshlands. The imagery became fodder for my lithography class prints this fall.
Sometime back in the third quarter, I submitted defeat and modified the overly ambitious 2015 goal to a thousand miles. A consequence followed. Now I would have to finish double or nothing.
In December I began to cheat. I started logging my commute miles, roughly two miles each way to the Bart. It should count, I rationalized.
On Christmas I set out to make the full baylands loop without the swag van. The trail was wet from seasonal rain, and the mud caked my tires so badly in one section that I had to reroute myself in Sunnyvale. Yet, finding one’s way is so satisfying.
Tomorrow, New Year’s Eve, I will squeeze in a run to…
complete 800 miles. Doh! I admit failure. The stakes were not high enough. It was house money. And moreover, it’s not the destination, but the journey and “the doing more important than the outcome.”
What is your 2016 mindset?
Many of us fail in keeping our resolutions. Just more quickly. 😉 Psychologist Richard Wiseman admonishes that the key is to not fall back on your own will power. To help keep that resolution he advises to:
- Go Public
- Keep it limited to one goal
- Break it down into small and achievable steps
- Document progress (plug for mapmyrun)
- Reward yourself and don’t quit because of setbacks
There will be no wagers for me in 2016. Instead of a goal or resolution per say, I want to make a declaration to carry a certain mindset this New Year.
Last week’s Christmas Eve sermon focused on the modern symbolism of the gifts the Magi bring to baby Jesus as told by Rex Knowles in relating his children’s portrayal of the Nativity Story. Gold, circumstance, and mud. These are the gifts transformed by a child. We are reminded to hold gold lightly and forget earthy things, dance in circumstance, and play in mud.
To the Inn, the manger, before God, we bring our gold, circumstances, and mud. We cannot check our impatience, our family dysfunction, sins, poverty, imperfections, wealth, or doubts at the door. We must be our authentic selves and praise God for his unconditional love. We are received and swaddled in his Grace.
My minset for 2016 is to be more thankful for my talents, my health, and my husband, accept my modern family, and not let circumstances or mud cloud my outlook. To go for it, like a new job and new social connections, without making any excuses. What is to lose?
So in five words, my 2016 resolution is to Find Gratitude, Reach, Bemoan Less.
Let me know if you have suggestions for how to document my progress. Happy New Year!
P.S. Chinese superstition says not to sweep or dust on New Year’s Day, or you will sweep good fortune away. Let the mud sit.