With resolutions being made here and resolutions already being broken there, the beginning of the year is ripe with meaningful, and likely very unrealistic personal goals.
“I will lose 40 pounds by April Fools Day.” (the deadline is pretty telling huh?)
“I will read three books a month in 2019.”
“I will eat out less than twice per month in 2019.”
Etc. etc. etc.
At least these examples hit a few of the SMART goal requirements. Specific? Yes. Measureable? Yes. Achievable? Well…that’s where the wheels begin to come off. According to Forbes, a study out of the University of Scranton found that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions succeed.
These failures are not necessarily for a lack of willpower…well some may be. My 2018 resolution to cut out drinking soda fizzled quickly when I realized that McDonald’s meals include a drink. I mean…how could I possibly turn down a free McDonald’s coke? They really do taste better.
From my experience, most people struggle to reach their goals because they cannot fully commit to achieving them. Whether it’s due to competing life priorities, a lack of time, or any one of a hundred other obstacles, the goal that seems like life’s most important ambition on January 1st quickly takes a backseat to the “real world.”
I’ve been thinking about this challenge in recent weeks while planning the future for Fat Guys Running Marathons. My goal in creating FGRM was to inspire people to achieve their goals. I still believe in that mission, but the key question is HOW? How can I inspire others? How can I make an impact? How can I give people resources and tools to help them achieve anything they set their mind to?
Let’s take running for example…you know…because this is sort of a running blog. This resolutions probable sounds pretty familiar?
“I will run 4 miles a day in 2019.”
On a side note, I’m constantly amazed each year how many running-related resolutions I hear…most of them coming from people who do not currently run. I love the optimism.
On the surface, committing 30 minutes to an hour of each day to run does not sound insurmountable. Maybe you make it two or three weeks on schedule…then the kids are sick or work gets hectic. Just take a couple days off…no big deal right? Then you decide to start going to cycling classes or join a kickball team. No worries, I’m sure you’ll get back to running after the season…yeah right.
Human beings are capable of incredible feats. Climbing Mount Everest, mapping the human genome, walking on the moon…you get the idea. People are amazing. Well, some are anyway.
So how does this make sense? How can there be so many obstacles in the path of human achievement, yet some people persevere to achieve the impossible? And how the hell can I help them get there?
A few weeks ago,I sat on a tranquil bench in the park staring off into the horizon pondering these questions. Ok…more like I gave it some thought during halftime of a Minnesota Vikings game while enjoying a plate full of nachos. But I think I’ve come up with something…
You can achieve anything, but not everything.
Such a simple, yet powerful guiding statement.
We all have limited resources in our lives (time, money, attention span, etc.). The decisions we make with these resources determine which dreams come to reality. If a goal is truly important, all of our attitude and effort should be devoted to its achievement. But with that devotion comes potential life-altering, scary changes that are often seen as rebellious or alternative to the “normal” life society pushes us toward.
I look forward to exploring this concept with all of you in 2019 and beyond as we chase our dreams together. Whether you want to run a mile a day or cure cancer, I hope to have a small, positive impact on your path.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Share them with Ben on Instagram @fatguysrunningmarathons