2020 has almost reached its end. Somehow in the midst of staying home and canceling plans, I lost track of the days passing by. Despite slowing life down…time elapsed faster. I blinked, and now this year is over. A conundrum I’d say. Do you feel the same?
As the year is coming to a close, I’ve started my annual assessment of my 2020 goal fulfillment. What were my goals coming into this year? Did I complete them? Did they change? How close did I come?
My big hairy goal for 2020 was to complete a 100-mile race. This challenge is something I’ve been chewing on since early 2019, and by far the scariest goal I’ve ever set for myself. I had a race picked out, a date set, and a fire in me that said this would be the year that I finally tackle this.
Well…I didn’t do it.
I actually didn’t even attempt to do it. Part of the reason for this is because the race I picked out didn’t end up happening this year. The REAL reason is that after the race was canceled, I didn’t look for another one. I let myself get busy, made excuses as to why it wasn’t the right time, and landed in a place that felt justified for pushing it off.
Was I lazy this year? Far from it. In 2020 I covered more training miles than I ever have (>1200), completed two ultramarathons (like this one), launched this little thing called My First Finish, and organized a full marathon event . I moved in with my lovely girlfriend, Kay; rescued and adopted our young pup, Finley; and navigated a new work from home way of life. I was busy, and have lots to be proud of.
Having an unchecked box on the 100-miler though leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I lnow deep down that it’s something I still need to do. As I think about goals for 2021, I know what’s #1 on my list.
What boxes did you check?
What were your goals coming into this year? How did you do?
Perhaps this was your big year, and you completed everything you set out to do in 2020. Maybe you had one really big goal and were able to cross it off the list. It’s possible that your goals changed over the course of the year, and you completed things you didn’t even realize you wanted to. Maybe none of your goals got done. Maybe you didn’t set any in the first place.
Whether you are coming out of 2020 feeling 100% accomplished, or looking ahead to 2021 excited for a clean slate, it’s important that spend some time reflecting on how and why you got here today.
Look inward and dig deep. Are you proud of the effort you put in? Have a conversation with yourself. Ask the tough questions. Don’t be afraid to think about why you did/didn’t complete what you set out to do, and use the dialogue to figure out where you’d like to go next.
All good things start with goals
All of my greatest achievements in life started with a goal. They all started as an idea in my head and manifested into my proudest moments. Becoming a 1st generation college graduate, running an ironman, backpacking across Europe, and starting my own company were all things that I at one point I declared as goals.
Without a goal, I lose sight of my purpose. I struggle to find motivation and drive. I get stuck, complacent, and lack the true happiness I feel when I’m chasing down a dream.
This isn’t just a me thing. It’s a human thing.
Our goals make up who we are. They reflect our values, shape our identity, and provide a clear path to happiness. Goals tell us how to become who we WANT to be. Without them, self-improvement doesn’t exist.
How to set the right goals
For some, the goal you need to set is already clear in your mind. It’s that thing you’ve been chewing on for quite some time, but haven’t taken the steps to complete. For others, the goal is something you’ve already tried and need to seek redemption on. Maybe, you don’t even know where to start?
Here’s my advice on picking the right goal:
Pinpoint a passion, Start with Why - Start with something you love to do or something you really want to love. For me, it’s running. For you, it could be music, traveling, or business-related. Maybe you want to learn a new skill or adopt better eating habits. It doesn’t matter WHAT the thing is, but more WHY you want to achieve it. If you aren’t truly passionate about it, don’t waste your time because you won’t completely commit to it.
Think Crazy, Pick the Where - With the passion in mind, consider WHERE you want to go with it, and don’t shy away from something huge. Running an Ironman seemed absolutely impossible before I got started. But, I thought about how “crazy” it would be if I actually did it. Imagining the finish line, the crowd, and how proud I would be of myself is the #1 thing that got me there. You have to pick something that scares the crap out of you, otherwise you might be selling yourself too short.
Write it down, commit - Place your goal into the universe by literally writing it down on something. Put it on a sticky note and slap it on your bathroom mirror. Write it down in your journal, or hell make the purchase before you get started. I registered for my first marathon before I had even run my first mile because I knew it would force me to truly pursue it. Commit to it.
The goal you need to set is the one stuck in your mind that scares you the most.
Do Hard Things in 2021
You can do hard things, I promise. As you close out this year and start setting your goals for 2021, shoot for the damn stars. Pick something absolutely insane, the bigger and hairier the better.
Nothing brings me more happiness than seeing others complete goals. The human spirit is resilient and comes out in full force when people pursue dreams.
If that dream involves running, know that we are here to help. If it doesn’t, let us know how we can support you 😇 Make this year the one that changes everything. Don’t sell yourself short.
More to come on goals in future mug thoughts…
What is M1F?
My First Finish is an online running platform that helps people achieve their running goals. We provide fully customized training plans, daily accountability, and a supportive community of runners to help you unlock your fullest potential. If you have dreams of running a half / full marathon, or just want to make running a part of your life, you can signup for free.