As 2011 is all but in the rearview and we gird our loins for what awaits us in 2012 (ready or not, here it comes) – many of us go thru the annual rite of making resolutions (or goals) for the coming year. These may be of a personal or professional nature and are intended to start us – or keep us - on a desired path (to being a better father, a better widget maker, or a person of better health).
We all know if you don’t state (and re-state) and measure your goals, there is little chance of you reaching them. You gotta step on the scale each week (whether you ate a cabbage-only meal 3 times a day all week or spent Ladies Night downing 13 or 14 Mojitos with your pals). Those are the paint-by-the numbers way to achieve your goals and check the box complete at the end of the year.
But for all the PMP® in me – goals, resolutions and deadlines are more than numbers. I look back at one set of “project” goals from 2012 which I oft talked about here (my “Marathon Project”).
My project goals were:
- Be (Significant) Injury Free (or at least reduce severity and length of the inevitable)
- Train and run my first Marathon
- Run 1,000 miles in 2011 (training for #2 should take care of #3)
I do an inside my head, Tiger Woods fist pump when I see that I achieved all three goals and exceeded my own expectations. But as I sit here on the cusp of the brand new year, I feel very different about these goals than when I set them.
The game inside the game…
This time last year, I was determined to cross off that bucket list item of finishing my first Marathon. That was the impetus for the journey and of the three goals - it is the “sexiest”. Run a marathon and people clap when you cross the finish line (even for slow people like me), you post pictures on Facebook and you get a shirt and a medal.
But on this end of the finish line, I feel more of a sense accomplishment with the other two goals.
The injury-free goal was the most important of the three (that’s why it was first). This was all about risk management. Simple: Get injured and your season is over (or at worst – you can’t properly train). I only missed one scheduled workout to injury all year (which is a first for any training season). That’s fairly remarkable given my age and size. Special thanks goes to the makers of Advil® and Archer Farmers frozen corn for helping me reach that mile marker (the latter used as ice packs that form fit to the sore body part)
As for running my first 1,000 mile season, that experience I cherish the most. Running that many miles means I survived the 115 degree swing in temps during the year, the pains and poundings (see bloody proof in the above picture), and the ear-piercing sound of the alarm clock going off at 3:07 a.m. to get a mid-range run in before work (when all I really wanted to do was stay in bed).
But there was the hidden ROI from my project.
…and the unexpected result
The sum of my journey was that I wielded discipline and patience. Discipline to hit the road on a below zero morning or a rainy, muggy afternoon married with patience not to overtrain. Knowing when to cut back to save your body and mind – not just because you are being a slacker that morning.
I knew (and planned) that I would need those two tools to reach my goal – but I didn’t realize that they would be something in themselves that I would covet at the end of the road (as it were).
The resolution will not be televised
As you set your goals – what other (step) goals and tools will you need to get there? What hidden outcomes from your journey await? At the end of 2012, will you be looking down at the integers on your scale or looking forward to the reflection of yourself in the mirror (and doing that fist pump).
What’s your plan? No matter what they are – most likely you’ll need to stock up on discipline and patience to get you there.
Enjoy the the last lap of 2011 and best wishes for Happy New Year to us all/