New Year’s Goals (not resolutions)

One of my goals: crow pose.  Image from http://www.theyogaposes.com.

One of my goals: crow pose. Image from http://www.theyogaposes.com.

It’s probably the accountant in me that likes making lists and being organized.  Every year I make a list of “goals” for the year- things I hope to accomplish over the next twelve months.  It’s always aggressive, never completed, and by the end of the year I get itchy to make a new list.

The goals – and I do think of them as goals for the year, not resolutions – are wide ranging, from things I want to do for me to things I want to do for others; trips I want to plan, projects around the house, craft projects that need finishing.  Learning a new language.  Cooking more, reading more, dancing more, exercising more.  Trying new things.

Anyway, this year, much as in past years, there are a number of fitness and health-related goals, though they’ve gotten more specific then they’ve been in the past.  Here’s what I’ve got:

1. Do yoga once per week.  Supposedly yoga is good for you, but I’m not entirely convinced yet.  It seems to feel good when I do it, though I often feel like I should be spending the time doing “real” exercise.  The weekday class times are at 8 pm, which makes for a long day – if I go home first, let’s be honest here, I’m not going back for the class.  But I won’t get home until 9:30 if I take a class, and so far the DVD I bought to “do it on my own” remains unopened.  I had been good and gone once each of the first two weeks of the year, but I missed this past week, which already means I need to catch up, which I am planning to do this week.

2. Accomplish specific yoga poses (crow pose and the tree-airplane sequence) and increase flexibility.  The crow pose seems near-impossible, since I usually wind up laughing while trying it, and I have a healthy fear of doing a total face plant.  This is not unreasonable, see picture accompanying post. Apparently it involves upper body strength, which I’ve been working on.  The tree-airplane sequence (is this a standard yoga sequence, or just my teacher?) requires a lot of balance; it’s a long sequence on one leg before shifting to the other and starting over.  I’ve never once done it without touching down, sometimes a lot.  As our instructor says, “I’m seeing a lot of turbulence out there.”  Indeed.  Yoga has also made me aware of stretches I did as a kid that I can no longer do, like spread my legs wide and touch my nose to the floor; I seem to be several feet away from the floor these days, but I hope to improve.  It seems like increased flexibility and balance can’t be bad things to work on.

3. Trail running.  After doing a couple 5k’s last year that weren’t on a treadmill, I realized I need to up my game in terms of terrain and grade variations.  I haven’t gotten far with this yet, as it’s too icy-snowy for me.  The run I did with my neighbor around the neighborhood reinforced this, as the hills had my butt screaming “this is not the treadmill!!!”

4. Pull-ups.  This is now turning towards obsession, I don’t know why.  I have been so far from achieving this, I don’t know why I put it on my list, as I generally don’t like to set myself up for failure.  I have been using the assisted pull-up machine at the gym on and off over the year, and effectively felt like I had made zero progress.  I mentioned this goal to the trainer and then he had me try doing the pull-up using a resistance band.  For the first time, I feel like this is attainable, and I said as much to the trainer.  He responded, “Oh yes, you’ll be able to do one within a few months.  Maybe two of them.”  Ok, that burst my bubble a bit.  Anyway, I seem to think pull-ups will help me with…

5. Monkey Bars.  I know, what do I need this for?  Well, it’s cropped up at a couple fun-runs/obstacle course runs, and I was a lot surprised that something that seemed effortless as a kid is so difficult now.  Yeah, it’s a little creepy to hang around a playground so I can get onto Monkey Bars designed for kindergartners, but this is serious.  I had make some progress last year, and as soon as the weather warms up a little, these are back on my radar.  I don’t understand why they don’t have them at the gym.

6. Increase my running speed.  That should be “running”, because I’m so slow – a 12 minute mile.  I remind myself I am competing against no one but myself, and any-minute mile is far better than I had done before.  I mostly like the idea of being able to get my exercise over with faster, is that a bad reason?  Anyway, I’m slowly tapping up the speed on the treadmill, and am hoping to get down to 10 minutes.  I’m already halfway there…OK, on the treadmill, which is flat and…what else…oh yeah, moving beneath my feet.

7. Do weight sessions 3 times a week.  Score!  So far, so great!  Can’t hope to make progress on my other goals if I don’t do this.  I’m really enjoying these lately, hope it sticks.

8. Do cardio three times a week.  Almost score!  I was doing great, but the snow this weekend waylaid my Saturday plans.  This is a crappy excuse, as we have a treadmill and exercise bike in the basement, I should have taken care of it.  Instead I never got out of my pj’s and spent the day researching things like our vacation.  I resolve to make up the lost cardio session this week, and in truth, that is the only reason I was on the treadmill today.

9. Do at least 15 Fun Runs and Obstacle Course Races.  After never having done any running whatsoever, last year I did 7 formal 5ks, and discovered that stepping out of my comfort zone is good for me – I really enjoyed the OCRs, and I was proud of myself, too (especially since I had to do them alone; my partner was traveling for all of them and my friends aren’t interested for some reason).  I’m already signed up for 7 5ks this year, and have a list of many others on my radar.  I also set up a budget for this activity.

10. Get better at pushups, both narrow and wide.  My pushups have come a long way since our baseline testing with the personal trainer just a year ago, in which I could do zero regular pushups.  I can do them now and was feeling pretty good about them, until I did an exercise video over the holidays in which the hands were together for the push-up…and I could do zero of them.  What the?!  Hello goal.

11. The Sky’s The Limit Hiking Challenge (which I wrote about here).  Because why not?  Variety is good, it’s good to be outside, and I’m grateful for the many wonderful parks our state has, why not support them?

12. Cook more.  Part of eating better/healthier means less processed food and more real food – more trying new things, more focus on protein.  So far this is going pretty well, and I’ve found a few meals I’m really happy with.  I aim to get comfortable with our food processor and crock pot.

13. Get lean.  This means losing weight, but gaining muscle.  I have a number in mind, but it’s tricky, because muscle weighs more than fat, blah, blah, blah.  Mostly I want to fit into my size 4 jeans again.  Sometimes this feels just completely impossible…I’ve been really doing great (comparatively) and the scale is refusing to budge, which is a bit de-motivating.

So yeah, that’s a long list – and that’s just the fitness/health stuff that’s on it.  I know, it’s crazy.  But I like to think it’s in a good way.

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