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I’m heading into 2014 with personal goals. What about you?

By Steve Willits

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Happy New Year! This is a time of year in which I stop and assess how I am doing as a person. It is an opportunity for me to reflect back on events of the past 12 months and put my life into perspective. More importantly, it is a chance to evaluate myself and to think about what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. It’s a time to set goals based on my own personal expectations. I can’t imagine why more people do not make New Year’s resolutions. 2014 is just beginning; it isn’t too late!

I was scrolling through Twitter on New Year’s Eve and I noticed that there were people bashing New Year’s resolutions and goals. These critics were saying that people should already be living the life that they want and that there shouldn’t be a need to set goals at the beginning of the year, but rather that it should be a 365-days-a-year lifestyle. That statement would be true in an ideal world, however I tend to live in the real world. I’m happy that these people have already attained their “ideal self,” but the rest of us still desire personal growth and improvement. I’m not perfect and therefore I’m not above trying to better myself by writing out a blueprint for what I want to achieve. I wrote out my goals last year and it worked, therefore I’m doing it again in 2014.

My goals in 2014 cover multiple aspects of my life. I’ve written down things that I want to do in order to better my mind, soul, personal relationships, career, community and the thing that I want to focus on in this article, my body and physical well-being.

I cover and write about sports at Mountlake Terrace High School, which is only fitting since that is truly where my passion lies. I write and speak primarily about MTHS athletics and the students participating in sanctioned sports. This, however, isn’t a column limited to the students wearing uniforms. It isn’t even limited to students. It is a column for everyone trying to make themselves better.

How is your health? How is your fitness? If you feel as though you could benefit from and live a healthier life by exercising more, then I challenge you to grab your computer or a sheet of paper and write down what you want to accomplish. Here is my own experience from last year…

On Dec. 31, 2012, I grabbed a notepad and wrote down my personal expectations for 2013. It was an exciting time for me already because of some of the things that I had accomplished over the previous six months. I had a minor health scare in the spring of 2012. I had high blood pressure that was related to the fact that I was 30 pounds overweight. I decided that I needed to take action or else run the risk of much more severe health problems in the future. Over the last few months of 2012, I changed my diet, got back into running and lost the aforementioned extra weight. I made some positive lifestyle changes and didn’t want to lose my momentum going into 2013.

Most of what I did in 2012 was out of fear and necessity. My biggest concern for 2013 was that I would relapse and possibly become unmotivated, lazy and overweight again. I decided that the best way to avoid those pitfalls was to write down the things that I wanted to accomplish, which would make it easier for me to hold myself accountable.

I wrote down that I was going to lose even more weight and get down to my lightest total since I was in college almost 20 years earlier. I also wrote that I would set a PR (personal record) and run my fastest marathon ever, as well. And then I decided to set the bar even higher. I decided that I would run more than 2000 miles in 2013. My actual motto was “2013 in 2013.” It sounded like a crazy number to me at the time but I figured I would be more determined if I knew that I was making a commitment to myself once it was on paper.

Fast forward through 2013. I kept that sheet of paper nearby and would occasionally review it when I felt I needed motivation. If I was tired or feeling as though I wanted to take a break from my exercise regimen, I would use my own written words to get myself back on track. The results at the end of the year were extremely favorable.

I lost the additional weight that I wanted, my blood pressure is now very manageable, I broke my personal record for fastest marathon twice in 2013 and I ended up running more than 2250 miles. I’m healthier than I’ve been in a long time. I have more energy than most people my age and I feel better about myself. Could I have achieved all of these things without setting goals and writing everything out? Perhaps, but I’m guessing I wouldn’t have had quite the same motivation and pushed myself nearly as hard.

So, what are my goals for 2014? I just turned 41 last month and conventional wisdom says that I’m entering the “over the hill” years and I should be sitting back and watching other people perform physical activities. I’m supposed to be slowing down and taking it easy. NONSENSE! I’m planning on running my fastest marathon yet and I want to run more than 2500 miles this year. I’ve put these goals in writing and therefore I will be holding myself accountable provided that I don’t have any injuries.

What about you? Do you have any goals for yourself in 2014? If your answer is “no,” then my follow-up question is “why not?” Setting goals for yourself is so easy to do and the rewards can be incredibly beneficial. What do you have to lose?

Why not work on getting yourself in better shape? People constantly tell me that they would like to exercise more if they had more free time. Come on now, you can find the time. Let me tell you about my friend and fellow MTHS Class of 1991 alumnus, Robert Stoddard.

Robert is a 41-year-old high school teacher living in Orem, Utah and he is in great shape. That wasn’t always the case though. Robert was the starting center on the MTHS football team for two years and if I had to describe his high school physique in one word, it would have been “pudgy.” If I had to describe him now with one word, it would be “fit.”

Robert ran more than 3000 miles in 2013 and can run a marathon in 3 hours and 9 minutes, which is extremely impressive. Sounds like a guy without much of a life and without very many responsibilities, right? Far from it!

Robert is married, has five active kids and he is also involved in his church. If there was ever a guy that could use “I don’t have enough time” as an excuse, it is Robert. He has a positive attitude, manages his time wisely and is able to keep himself in outstanding shape. He serves as an inspiration for me and perhaps after reading about him, can do the same for others as well.

I’m excited about the possibilities that 2014 has to offer. I’m ready to take on new challenges and to achieve things that I once thought were impossible. I hope many of you are feeling the same way. Get out there and make this one of your best years ever. Write down your goals and go after them. Happy New Year. Go Hawks!

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1 Comment

One Response to “I’m heading into 2014 with personal goals. What about you?”

  1. Francesca Forbes on January 7th, 2014 1:39 am

    In my experience as a student, I remember being so bogged down with so much information we had to know in order to “pass the test.” I even remember asking “is this going to be on the test” after being introduced to a new skill. My teachers put so much emphasis on passing the test that school was not fun and a place I hated attending. It is interesting to see that schools are changing this idea up a little by steering away from standardized testing. When I began my undergraduate studies I knew that all the things I was learning were things that I needed to be successful in the work place, so I applied my self and became interested in every aspect of my studies (which is much different from my elementary/high school experiences). How many times have we heard a student complain and say “why are we learning this? We will never need this in life.” (I know I have said it a few times in myself)? It is nice to see that some states and educational systems are beginning to answer that very question by relating what is being taught to real word situations. I think that this approach to learning will allow children to understand the need for knowledge in the “real world” and this will make the transition from learning to pass the test (short term memory) to learning to learn (long term memory) most successful.

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The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.
I’m heading into 2014 with personal goals. What about you?