Setting goals can be a bit like going to the dentist: I know it's a good thing, but it's always a reminder of my less than perfect hygiene. Hence, it is a call to action for something I have a hard time doing.
That's why when I set New Year's resolutions, I set attainable goals, like quitting smoking (I don't smoke), eating my vegetables (which I love) and not beating my wife (which I don't do).
I tell my wife every year that she should be glad that I prioritize her when setting my goals for the year. She says I should get serious.
When setting goals, I know how motivating it can be to have that proverbial carrot dangling to keep me focused and purposeful.
This fall, I was inspired to use two-wheeled transportation to get to work as much as possible. Riding my motorcycle was fun, including some invigorating morning rides in December before the snow fell.
Once the snow started falling I thought, why quit?
I switched over to my mountain bike and enjoyed some chilly rides that left me wide-eyed and attentive, like no amount of coffee could do.
In addition to saving some gas money, my daily commute sometimes serves as my daily workout, especially those days when work begins and ends in the dark and my little ones are more interested in puzzles and indoor games instead of chilly stroller runs.
As 2013 comes into focus, it becomes time for many to set their sights on some goals for the year. While I tend to not make too big a deal of New Years resolutions - other than my annual commitment to not eat liver - I do appreciate the time to reflect on how I want my year to go.
As a high school cross country coach, our team talks about goals a lot and I like the three-tiered system of setting and approaching goals.
The basic premise is that you set three goals for any event or period of time: a big, best day ever goal, a significant but realistic goal, and a goal for if everything goes wrong.
I love dreaming big and setting big-time goals that may be improbable but are inspiring to work toward.
That's what the first goal is about.
I knew it was improbable that I would ever run a four-minute mile in college but I know I became a better runner by training daily with guys who could.
In most hard races, your body hurts and your mind falters but if you dream big and practice, then maybe you can push through that pain for a surprising result.
Rarely does one attain best case scenario goals, but every so often, when everything lines up, you can have a remarkable day that you'll never forget.
And as I tell many athletes, if you never try you'll never know.
The second goal asks you to think about a realistic achievement based on your current abilities. It's still a goal that asks you to work hard and push, but it's reasonably attainable.
Going into a hard rock climb I have the confidence of knowing I have trained and prepared appropriately.
While it still may be challenging, I know it's within reach with the right focus, effort and commitment.
When I reach a second tier goal I feel great because I know the hard work has paid off and all the effort I put into it will leave me with fond memories.
Sometimes things don't go right.
You get sick, a nagging injury flares up, or the weather unleashes its fury. The third goal allows you to still feel good about what you're doing and to appreciate the little things in life.
When my wife and I had our first child, we made our annual trip to Yosemite National Park.
In the past, we could climb and run and explore to our hearts' content. With a child, we knew it would be different.
Hence, we said that if all we did was sit in El Cap Meadows with our new daughter that the trip would be a success.
Anything beyond that would be a bonus.
Having a kid isn't an injury, but it is a reminder of what really counts in life.
This year, I believe that if I have the best day possible, I could run a personal best time in the St. George Marathon in October.
If I have a good day I will run a normal time. My marathon goal will still be a success as long as I get outside with my kids on runs to the park, bike to school more than I drive, get to race day healthy and finish the marathon in the beautiful southwest Utah desert.
Goals and resolutions: Set them to inspire you and remind you of all the good things in life.
- Mike Schneiter is a Glenwood Springs H.S. teacher and coach, owner of Glenwood Climbing Guides and is a Brooks Inspire Daily athlete.