Thursday, January 1, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 3 Things Crucial For Success in 2015

Another year done and a new one just beginning. Like a blanket of fresh, pure white snow, wiping the slate clean. It is a chance to start new, wipe the slate clean, and make the changes that perhaps didn't come as easily last year. It is also a chance to look back over the last year. A chance to peer through the window of time to assess the successes and failures of the last year and a second chance to make things right.

As this New Year begins I strongly urge you all to do three thing crucial to success in the next year:

1.      Wallow in your failures and learn. Don’t stay wallowing in your own self-deprecating pity, use it as a chance to learn what not to do and do it better next time! Along with all of the great things that have happened in your life this last year either big or small, there is bound to be some things that bring a twinge of regret or a longing to do better. We all have that one moment that if we could go back we would do it completely differently. We would do it better. That is the promise of a new year. It is a chance to right the wrongs of the past. Take the time to reflect and make a list of the things you want to do better this next year.

I have had many setback and failures this last year.  One where I still kick myself is not being able to run the full 10K at the Thanksgiving Day race and not being able to finish the full 50 miles at the Bike MS Event. For many both would be considered wins and there are plenty of good things I can take from them such as doing personal bests at both. Many people have also said to look at those pieces of the event and call it a success. In my mind that cannot happen and shouldn't. For me, personally, it was a failure because I did not accomplish the goal I has set before myself which was finishing or running the whole event. I have learned where I went wrong and it was simple things like my nutrition before and during the race and a lack of sleep. I have since learned and have reorganized my goals and will attack them fresh this year.  

Another failure has been my diet during the holidays. It has been nowhere near what it should have been and because of it I have gained about 10 lbs. This is an epic failure to me being someone who does not want to go back to the way I once was: a failure on the scale of Miley Cyrus trying to be a wholesome role model. What am I to do then and what should you do in this situation? DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP! I made a mistake and what is left but to take a step back and start fresh. If you spend too much time dwelling on the past you will never be able to look far enough ahead to rise above your mistake and discover your true greatness!

2. Look back over the last year. What things went right? Take a moment to cheer, pat yourself on the back, and pour yourself a glass of Champagne. (For my Bariatric Buddies the watered down grape juice or better yet a protein shake!) Celebrate all of your accomplishments and revel in the amazing experiences gained through them.
I myself look back and see such successes as my first 5K, my 38 mile bike ride, and swimming across the Ohio River and back. I can still, and often do, sit back and just re-immerse myself into the experience: the feeling of nervous anticipation standing at the start line, the cool caress of the water flowing over my wet-suit or the wind across my face, and the feeling of exhausted accomplishment crossing the finish line. I love just sitting and remember these amazing accomplishments and feelings, but like all memories they begin to slowly fade into the deep recesses of memory and time.  This means it is time to make new ones and push to have these feelings again!

3. Plan for making epic changes and taking chances. This is the most important of the steps. You need to start by using the first two steps to see where you have been, but this step is all about where you are going. This is just like planning an adventure like Indiana Jones getting ready to take on the Temple of Doom. There will be a lot of pitfalls and this year will have its own ups and downs, but in the end, plan for the epic adventure of a lifetime and you will surprise yourself with how amazing this year turns out for you. Take a chance on you and take a chance by doing something you never thought possible. Strive for greatness. As someone once said, " Shoot for the moon, the worst that can happen is you wind up among the stars."

I want you to make a list of all of the things you want to accomplish this year keeping in mind the idea of SMART goals. (As a review):

S – Specific – The more specific you are on the details of your goals the easier it is to monitor progress
M – Measurable – You should be able to give a specific number to your goals (distance, time, reps, etc.)
A – Attainable – These should be goals that are feasible to accomplish in a set time frame.
R – Realistic – Being a goal you are both willing and able to work toward.
T – Timely – Make sure your goals have a specific time frame.

This is not the time to make silly resolutions like eat better, be a better husband or wife, learn a new skill, or get in shape. This is the time to think big. How will you get in shape? Training for an event? How will you be a better husband or wife? What can you do monthly or weekly to do something special for your spouse? Eat better? How? Will you accomplish this by eating vegetarian or only eating organic? Perhaps trying to eat at home more will accomplish this goal? I think I have beat this horse enough and you get my point. These need to be be things that are SMART.

The other thing I really want you to do is plan for milestones and life events. No, I do not mean things like having kids or buying a house. I mean the events that you can accomplish that will change the way you look at yourself and the world around you. Plan to learn to scuba dive, run a marathon, or go back to school. Do things that will better yourself and help you push beyond the failures of the year before. The other tip with this that I need to give a shout out to @Bandista on on this one that I will be using this year is to take some time now to write a letter to yourself about what you would say to yourself once you accomplished your goal. Seal it up and read it only when you are done with that activity. This will be a great reminder and encouragement.

For me, this next year will be epic! I am set to begin training for my first half marathon at the Flying Pig in May, following this up with the Cincinnati Triathlon in July. I plan to also do the Ohio River Swim again if anyone wants to join me. The plan is to begin mountain biking this year with a goal to accomplish a six hour endurance ride by the end of the year and on the regular bike riding my first century in the same time. These are just a few of the dozen or so goals I have set aside but these will hopefully inspire you as to where to begin.

I want to take a little bit of time to thank each and every one of you for reading my blog over the last several months and making my first foray into the world of blogging a truly amazing experience. You make all of what I am doing now possible. If you didn't read or come back time and again, I would be just like that crazy old dude muttering to under the freeway overpass. I want to encourage all of you to write your goals in the comments below so we can all encourage and support each other like never before over the next year. I want this blog to be a safe place to express our hopes and dreams and get some encouragement.

Just know that I believe in each and every one of you! Make this next year epic!