The new year has arrived and I am raring to go.
Not being governed by the school year calendar any more, New Year's and January have become a time for me to turn over a new leaf, get started on the right foot, whatever other "New Year" cliche you'd like to apply to the situation, as opposed to starting a new school year in September.
The only thing is, I dislike the term "resolution" as it typically applies to New Years. Say my resolution was to go to the gym every day. I might be able to keep that resolution for a week or two, but something would inevitably happen that would not allow me to make it to the gym one or two days. According to the idea that the resolution is a mark I have to meet, I wouldn't have succeeded.
For me, it's easier, and usually more rewarding, to set a goal for myself so that I'm constantly working toward something, not constantly trying to measure up.
Maybe the resolution vs. goal issue is more a mental difference on my part, but last year I set a goal to live a healthier lifestyle. Have I exercised, eaten five fruits or vegetables and drank at least eight glasses of water every single day for the past year? Absolutely not. But I'm still working toward that goal, therefore I have not failed.
So, in addition to continuing with my goals of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and practicing my piano every day, I've also identified some things I'd like to accomplish or work toward in 2012.
I'd like to run a half marathon in 2012. I started running in 2011, and after a few weeks of my body thinking I was completely out of my mind, I began enjoying it. I've done a couple races, the longest being a 12-K trail run, and I'd like to see if I can go for the entire 13.1 miles of a half marathon.
Specifically, I'd like to run the Marquette Marathon, which is set for Sept. 1 this year. That means I'll have to register in January to get to lowest race fee and start training for it in June, using a 12-week training plan. Both of those preliminary steps, and the race date itself, are marked in my planner.
My second goal is to spend the first few months of the year setting up a budget for myself. I'm fairly frugal in general, but I'd like to have a better idea of how much I'm actually spending each month and then begin putting what I don't need for rent and food and such toward something responsible and adult-ish, like saving for my retirement, and something fun, like attending the North American Unicycling Conference and Championships, which is being held downstate this year.
Once spring and summer show up in the area, I'd like to volunteer on one of the area's farms. Writing the paper's Living Green series for a couple years allowed me to learn more about the area's local food movement, which I think is incredibly positive and interesting. What I'd really like is to have my own vegetable garden, but not knowing much about growing things besides the cherry tomato plant I watered faithfully last summer, I figure it might be a good idea to get some hands-on training with someone who knows what they're doing.
Finally, I'd like to set the goal of learning to do something new and fun each month either through figuring it out on my own with the help of resources like the local library or the Internet or by taking a class or workshop.
In January, I plan to learn to make my own yogurt, which I consume regularly and end up with stacks and stacks of plastic containers for. The process is supposed to be pretty easy and doesn't require a lot of equipment. This week I'll explore the Internet for some recipes and instructions and then commence with the yogurt extravaganza on Saturday or Sunday.
In February, I'm thinking I'll attend one of the public sliding days at the Lucy Hill Luge in Negaunee to try out a new sport.
I'm not sure what the rest of 2012 will be like, but setting goals gives me a good place to start. Hopefully by this time next year I can look back and see which goals I met, which I need to continue working on and fun experiences to keep me motivated.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.