Friday, December 30, 2011

Intentions for 2012

Intentions. That's yogi talk for "goals" because I'm not into goals (sorry, Lululemon). You can skip ahead to read my 2012 intentions, but even if you're not into "woowoo" (or whatever onomatopoeic sound you use to refer to "out there") yoga, I urge you to hear me out as to why "intentions" make more sense than "goals" for many of us:

In Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness (which I only read the first few chapters before getting bored), the author argues that we suck at figuring out what makes us happy in the future. I agree. In 1999, I created a five-year professional plan – a great leap forward, career-wise. I met my goal. I got to where I wanted to be at year five, and it was meh. The journey wasn't bad, and I scored some sweet work travel (Saipan anyone?). Overall, reaching my goal positioned me for where I am over a decade later, somewhere I never thought I'd be. When I reached my goal, I was thrilled, but the goal itself was not right for me.

If we don't know what type of person we'll be in five years, how are we supposed to know what will make us happy in five years? If you do know, please send me your crystal ball.


So, as fluffy as it sounds, I'm more about the journey and positioning than setting goals. I want to be positioned so that if someone asks me to do something that sounds cool, I can jump right in. Invitation to fill a last-minute opening on a hut-to-hut ski trip? I'm in. (This actually happened a week ago, and I'm stoked!) Need someone to fill in on your overnight-relay team? I'm your gal (especially if it's Hood to Coast! Or Cascade Lakes.).

Also, every time goal that I've had for road racing has been sort of arbitrary. When I started running, my goals were things like "finish a 5K in under 30 minutes" or "10K in under 60 minutes" because I was stuck on how we categorize time. The fortuitous thing is that they were completely reasonable goals for me. Phew.

So, here are my some of my intentions for my extracurricular activities in 2012, and the steps I've taken towards making those intentions happen:

*  Run my first half marathon. I'm registered for the Richmond Half (technically the McDonald's Half Marathon, but who knows what that is??), on November 10. It's possible (though not likely) that I'll run a half before then, but racing 13.1 miles will happen no later than November 10.

*  I would love to have the diligence to train for a finish at Richmond in under 2 hours (another arbitrary time goal). On the other hand, I'd be very pleased if I could go under 2 hours in a half marathon before someone goes under 2 hours in a full. Heh. Who says I don't set reasonable goals intentions?

*  In the process of training for the sub-2-hour half marathon finish, I intend to PR in the 5K distance. My last 5K was in September 2007, and I clocked 26:46. If a sub-2-hour half marathon is going to happen, a 5K PR will, too. Also, I've been wondering whether I took my running hiatus during my peak, or whether I can still pick up speed. This is one way to find out.

*  I would also like to volunteer at the race expo of a major local race. To this end, I'm registered to volunteer at the Friday evening packet pickup for the April 2012 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run.ª I've already done the course volunteer thing and got snarled at by then-D.C. Mayor Fenty (whole other story). Way to lose a vote.
Handing out water at the 2008 Dextro Tri to someone faster than the mayor.
*  For years I've been contemplating running a trail race, too. So, maybe 2012 is the year I'll run a trail race. I'm contemplating the 10K distance of the North Face Endurance Challenge when it comes to the DC area in early June. This particular race may be tricky to fit in. Hopefully it works!

*  I'm going to ski a line, look up and say, "Holy shitake mushrooms, I just ripped that!" Or some other variation. Of course, the 2011-2012 ski season is off to a spectacularly slow start.

*  I'd also like to ski the Gulf of Slides on Mt. Washington. I don't really care if it's in 2012 or 2021. This could happen in May, maybe? It all depends on the conditions. A life intention, really, not a 2012 intention.

*  Backcountry hut ski trip. This wasn't originally one of my 2012 intentions as it's also more of a life intention, but right before Christmas, I was unexpectedly invited to fill in for someone who dropped out of a trip to the Wallowas (OR). Woohoo! I'm telling you, positioning, not goal setting, is the key.

*  I'd like to teach a regular, weekly sunrise yoga class. There's something special to me about early-morning yoga. My paperwork has been wending its way through a gym for several months now...fingers crossed that it'll be complete early in the new year, and that they'll have an opening to teach a 7am class.

*  I'm going to stay injury-free and healthy. Despite heading into 2012 with remnants of costochondritis and a recurring pinched nerve, both on the right side of my body, I am optimistic.

*  I'd like to sleep 8 hours a night. Theoretically, this is the easiest thing to do on my list, but I'm horrible at getting enough rest.

Really, these are about it.


ª I've actually already hit a snag because the unexpected hut trip coincides with when I've registered to volunteer at the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler expo...it bums me out that I'll have to cancel being an expo volunteer.

2 comments:

  1. I love the idea of intentions. I've always been a 'goal' setter but this year, after participating in a blogger 'reverb11' writing event, I've changed my thought process to focus on intentions for the very reasons you state. By the way, I just bookmarked the Wallowas article...my (brand new) husband and I are setting off for the ultimate road trip via R.V. (could be 5 years, could be 20 years) and are creating a list of places we MUST visit. We both ski so this this look perfect!

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  2. It's tough to break out of the "goals" mindset, and I definitely find myself responding when asked what my goals are for the new year, but for me, it's way more gratifying to think in terms of intentions. Your and your new husband's RV journey sounds awesome! I've heard great things about the Wallowas; I can't begin to express how excited I am for it!

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