We’re approaching that time of year again, where we say farewell to one year and welcome in the lovely fresh, shiny all singing, all dancing new one! People often talk about it being ‘a new year, a new start, a new you’, and inevitably that turns to resolutions.
I’ve never been a fan of the New Year Resolution; I did have a go, many years ago and spectacularly failed. Maybe it was the fact I made the resolutions under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol or that my resolutions to ‘be more Mary Poppins-like with my parenting; or to never touch a drop of alcohol during the week or only ever eat one teeny-weeny square of chocolate in one sitting’ were slightly unrealistic!
Whatever the reasons, I know that at the point I inevitably succumbed to being a less than perfect parent, having an alcoholic drink on a ‘school night’ and eating some of the sweet stuff, I felt like I’d ‘failed’. I felt terrible, that I’d let myself down, that I’d not achieved what I’d set out to achieve.
Even worse, I’d now regressed massively and had ‘turned into the Child Snatcher, woken up with daily hangovers and scoffed entire family sized bars of chocolate in one sitting!’ All in the name of validating my failure!
And I just felt rubbish: About myself: About failing: About even trying in the first place.
So, I decided that resolutions weren’t for me, not because I’m afraid of failure or of setting myself a challenge but because they didn’t bring out the positive in me. I decided instead to think about the things I’d like to do rather than the things I shouldn’t or shouldn’t have.
I set myself goals to work towards, with the view that inevitably things would get in the way, that the journey to whatever that goal might be wouldn’t necessarily be straightforward, and that maybe I wouldn’t achieve my goal first time, or at all, but assuming I faced whatever challenges arose positively, then there would more likely be a positive outcome
What I have learnt is that the journey is never straightforward and sometimes the goal posts move; like the time I fell off my bike and broke two ribs when training for a very long cycle challenge I had set myself to do.
Broken ribs hurt like hell (almost as bad a child birth, but not quite…obvs!) added to this, I was finding the long training rides REALLY, REALLY tedious (you try being in my company for 7 hours at a time!) plus I was pooing my pants about the thought of taking on the ridiculously long bike challenge at all! ‘Aha’ I thought, “Me breaking my ribs couldn’t have come at a better time, I now have the perfect excuse to bail, Hallelujah! a genuinely legitimate excuse to not ride 500 miles in 4 days, chasing someone else’s back wheel while making sure I smashed every target on Strava!’
I didn’t bail; I just changed the goalposts. I still went and rode; I just cut myself a load of slack and rode my bike slower and with more caution and as a consequence enjoyed fabulous Scottish views, talked and listened to many interesting people and I still completed the challenge.
What I realised was that no one else actually cared how fast I rode my bike, or whether I was top of the leader board on Strava; it mattered to no one other than me and yet I had come so close to allowing that fear of failure stop me from taking part and meeting some great people and creating so many stories to tell.
The goal setting is a small part of the picture; it’s the journey there that teaches you so much about yourself. I did complete the challenge, which I was thrilled to do, but if I hadn’t, well, I’d have still ridden further than I’d ever done before as part of the training, I’d got fitter and stronger and I’d learnt that riding long distances IS NOT FOR ME!!
I’ll talk more about goal setting, categorising and getting buy-in in my next little blogette.
In the meantime, work towards your goals and enjoy all that the journey towards them throws at you, and don’t panic if you don’t achieve exactly what you set out to. Chances are you will have experienced positive things along the way and I’m pretty sure you’ll have created plenty of stories to tell too!