Thursday, January 26, 2012

Intentional Simplified Goals for 2012

Over the last few years, I have come to understand that beginning the New Year with aggressive goals while wonderful in concept, typically fall by the wayside just as soon as I commit to them.  As a result of this, I have adopted the "soft start" approach to my goals.
By this, I mean, that I begin the year with what I think will work out for me, tweaking as I go through January, and implementing full force by Feb 1st.  This takes the "pressure" off of me to accomplish things at one of the busiest times of the year when my schedule is stretched to the limit already and my routine is typically off-kilter at best.
This year, I have had the added blessing of awaiting the arrival of my new grandson!  He arrived just over a week ago and now that he has come, I can begin to get back to my "routines".  I am currently in the weeks before Rocky, coming away from a bit of a knee injury, and battling a bit of a cold, something I always seem to get the week before Rocky.
I plan to run the race with a modified time goal which will better reflect the level of fitness I feel I am at right now.
Below I have listed my fitness goals for the year.  They are very realistic, some might feel even a bit too lax, but for me, I need to see progress rather than always coming up short in the ability to reach my set goals.  If I surpass these goals, then all the better.  What I am aiming for is Intentional Training.  Whatever training I do take on should serve a purpose whether it is to relax, to strengthen, or to increase endurance, speed, etc.  I don't want to exercise without a purpose, just to say I did something.
  • Strengthening:  2 work outs/week, allowing for recovery and illness, 80-90 workouts
  • Can include, push ups, abs, weights
  • Swimming:  2 work outs/week, allowing for recovery and illness, 75 - 80 work outs
  • Runs in miles:  1500 miles
  • Yoga/stretching:   45 workouts
  • Volunteer:  2 events
I have a few other mini-goals that I plan to fit in along the way, but nothing that I would be too upset about if I didn't achieve them in 2012.

As far as races go, I plan to stick to shorter distance training, meaning no 100's for 2012.  I suppose this may also mean no 100 at Rocky 2013 for that would require training for it in 2012.  My body needs a bit of a rest from the constant long runs.
I want a shot at some of the races I have not done so well in over the past two years.  Mostly the Capt'n Karl's series.  I plan to make Cactus Rose and Bandera my main races for the year.

On the personal side of things, I have established a few new parameters through which everything else will need to pass through.  I have decisions to make about what to hang on to and what to let go of.  There will be a lot of letting go, but in the end, saying "No" to those things will allow me to say a deeper "Yes" to the things that are most important to me.
Reaching this point in my journey has taken several years, hours of journaling, and tons of reflection and prayer.  I have already began to cut many things from my daily life.  One of those "things" was Facebook.  I know I have done this before and I have always returned to it out of fear that I was missing something.  This time, it feels different.  I have a sense of freedom that I didn't even realize that I had given up while caught up in all that FB is.  What I have found most interesting is that of all the "friends" that I had on FB, less than 5 have made an attempt to talk to me since leaving it in December.  I am done with relationships that are convenient and I am choosing to be intentional in real life friendships.  Let's sit down and have a coffee and a chat, the old-fashioned way.

We also made the decision to give up all the cable channels that seemed I was blocking anyway for the sake of the children.  I didn't think it would be a big deal to me, but I have discovered that I apparently was quite fond of certain shows that I really miss.  We also, in giving up the extra channels, lost our ability to DVR some of our favorite shows.  This was difficult to get used to, but now, several weeks into our letting go of it all, we are all seeing the effects of less TV around here.

More reading is getting done.  There are toys everywhere.  There are puzzles being built most every day.  My laundry is folded and put away.  And we aren't as tired from staying up to late.  Our TV and Netflix watching has become intentional.  In other words, we sit down to watch something because we really want to see it, rather than previously when we just plopped down in front of the thing and got sucked in.
Network TV is horrible at best and since that is all we get now, I find that I can hardly even tolerate the TV being on.

I have been reading some great books, taking notes, and jotting down ideas for my own writing at some point down the road.  I think I can honestly say, I feel as though I have been lifted out of a self-imposed fog as I come away from the influence of FB and TV.  Admittedly, it was hard at first, but things are fitting together nicely now.

Over Christmas, I was discerning what I would need to strip away from my life and I realized that it was going to be quite difficult.  I love most everything I do.  My problem lies in the continuum of time.  There are only 24 hours in a day and I can not possibly do all that I "want" to do in that time, at least I can not do it joyfully.  I do not want my children to recall me as a woman who seemed to always appear stressed out or angry.  And if I am really enjoying everything I am doing, why do I come across as stressed and angry?  Most probably, for me, it is because I am not doing these things for the right reason.  Yet, I hated the thought of saying "no" to so much.
As I snuggled on the couch with Boo, it hit me.  I needed to stop thinking of all of this as saying "no".  I needed to think of it differently.  "What am I saying YES to?"  I am saying YES to God.  YES to my husband.  YES to my children and grandchildren.  YES to my health.  YES to our financial peace.    If I can keep my focus on these YESes, then all the rest of the world will be just fine.  So herein lies my filter.  If I consider doing anything, it must fall into one of the 5 YESes I have identified as the MOST important ones to me.  This helps to relieve me of the usual guilt I feel, which in the past has always been a big motivator for me, guilt.  Such a dirty word, such a useless emotion most of the time.

I am enjoying intentional simplified living, filled with an internal peace and sense of joy that I have only begun to feel the effects of.  I challenge you to jump in too.  Identify the five most important things in your life that you desire to say "Yes" to and then strive to develop that deeper "Yes".  Put them on a note card and look at them everyday.  Remind yourself that you are not saying "no" to things, rather, you are saying "yes" to the most important things.  And know that you are not alone in your efforts!


  1. Looks like you are saying "yes" to the right things! I'm going to go find me some notecards.....

  2. Simple, intentional, and relevant. Love it!

  3. Carla Jo Cullison - from Ohio :)January 26, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Absolutely wonderful!! It's great to see others willing to give up the modern conveniences that so often hinder our walk with the Lord :) We gave up cable more than 13 years ago - and we're still alive :) I can also relate to your recap about leaving FB and no one noticed or wondered why. I hope you and I are able to meet sometime and sit down to that cup of coffee :) God bless you!!

  4. Great post Karen! I am trying to gradually get rid of cable and other clutter in our lives. However, because of the kids and Joseph, I am doing it in baby steps...I scaled down our cable package and have gradually limited how much TV we watch. We have more family game nights, more time's wonderful!

  5. Congrats on the RR today, K! Hope the weather didn't get at you too much.

    1. Thank you, Joe! Hope all is well with you! Forward your email address to me if you have a chance.

  6. Really great post. I LOVE the paradigm shift. I often think of what I choose to leave as denial, deprivation, etc. My New Years goals have been to make decisions that honor, respect, support and care for my body, acknowledging it's limitations, and viewing them as a road map for future work.. rather than resenting or denying them. It gets a little hard when no one understands why you can't have one beer at the Super Bowl party. I needed to read this now. Thanks!!