Another year gone by, another resolution unfulfilled. Each year after the Holidays, gyms are packed with people, everyone is extra kind to one another-- still well immersed the holiday spirit--, and junk food sits untouched in pantries. As the year progresses, we lose sight of these goals. But not this year, at least not for me. For what might be the first time in my life, I have not only stuck with but exceeded my New Year’s resolution goal.
On January 1, 2016, I decided that I would run 1,000 miles in the year 2016. I am ecstatic to say that a year later, I have ran 1,005 miles. As a person who formerly detested just the idea of running for fun, I have surprised myself too. Although I ended up accomplishing my goal, it was anything but easy. It was understandable how so many of us lose the motivation to continue to stick with these New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I think this was the first one that I can say I stuck with entirely and let me tell you, it was incredibly rewarding.
Initially, I thought that this would be another New Year’s resolution that I would soon forget about and not end up actually sticking to. The idea of running 1,000 miles in 365 days seemed unreachable, unattainable. However, with self-discipline and strict goal setting, I found success. Despite the sore muscles, depleted energy on those long days, and the days of bad weather, I persevered. I stretched, powered through the long days by consuming energy-rich foods, and even ran in the rain-- which I definitely recommend but don’t forget to dress accordingly.
A huge part of my success was my running app on my phone that allowed me to track my average pace, distance and cumulative miles throughout the year. It reminded me after each run how close I was to reaching my year-end goal, as well as how many miles I needed to run per week in order to achieve that goal. This greatly contributed to the amount of motivation I had to go out and run each day. The satisfaction that I got from seeing the cumulative mile count go up after each run was what drove the fire in me, knowing that I was only X number of miles away from being able to say that I stuck with my New Year’s resolution.
In all honesty, the final stretch was the hardest part. Once I hit around 900 miles, I imagined that it would be easier, as I was only about 100 or so miles away from achieving my goal. To my surprise it was actually more difficult; just knowing that my goal was so close, practically within arm's reach, yet still required the same amount of focus and discipline as the first 100 miles. When I reached 980 miles, it felt like a dream come true. I was only 20 miles away from reaching my goal. Less than a marathon away and closer than I had ever been. But then I realized, what would happen once I did reach mile number 1,000? Would anything change? Physically, running has improved my health throughout the year but nothing was going to physically change from mile number 999 and 1,000. Was all of this work for nothing? My momentary lapse of uncertainty quickly ended as I realized that the end goal, mile number 1,000, was not the achievement. It was the entire journey along the way; the character building acquired during this journey, the self-discipline that went into becoming my own competitor and challenging myself with such a task, and all of the sense of self-accomplishment that came with it.
Today, I am a much healthier, happier, and positive person than I was last year, all because I stuck with my New Year’s resolution. Who’s to say what 2017 holds for any of us but I strongly encourage everyone to set New Year’s resolutions, or year-end goals if New Year’s resolutions are too cliché for you, and stick with it. I promise you that only good can come of it. You’ll learn so much about yourself as a person. Don’t be afraid to strive for those goals that seem unreachable, only you can determine what you’re capable of. And don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way.