Old Year’s Resolution

There is a tendency this time of year for people to invest in thinking about next year. “What New Year’s resolutions shall I make?” “What shall I do to change X?” “I’m definitely going to learn X next year” “2016 is going to be the year of X” and so on. But I wonder if we spend enough time actually congratulating ourselves on what happened in the year we are about to close – the Old Year.
I doubt very much that 2015 went exactly as you expected. Perhaps you set yourself a target or goal for the year – maybe you are a habitual New Year’s Resolutioner. Maybe you exceeded every goal you set and achieved every resolution. But the chances are before you even got off the ground in 2015 the situation changed – and so did your goals and ambitions.

Life has a funny way of challenging us when we least expect it. When you are stuck in the ever altering landscape of chaos and disorder it can be hard to enjoy the successes and failures that you experience as you find your way. For me the time to reflect is now – the end of the Old Year. A time for family and friends, a celebration of the present and recognition of the experiences that brought us safely to this point on the brink of a New Year.

As an athlete reflection is a necessary part of development – and those that read my blogs will know that I like to pick races apart and learn what I can. But I also fall into the trap of always looking forward, constantly on the search for the next challenge, itching to start my work towards the next goal. This year I have literally lurched from one race to the next – racking up 8 full and half distance Ironman races in just over 8 months. Now that I am on a break from training it is all starting to sink in. 2015 has been a breakthrough year for me in triathlon and I am going to make sure over the next week or so that I really take time to celebrate that and thank those close to me for their dedication and support.

I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions – preferring to change things as I go along when I need to. But in January when I bought my first Ironman pro licence I did set myself a few goals. They did not include “podium at an Ironman event” – or “jump over the moon” – to me both equally far-fetched. I just wanted to work as hard as I could and see where it would take me. So my podium results this year have been my bit of chaos. Those, along with the pain of racing and training, the heart-breaking lows and the intense highs, have punctuated 2015 in a way I could not have imagined. There have been times when packed weeks of training, working, coaching and the general demands of life have left me exhausted and wondering if I am completely insane. But I love to race, and with the support from Mark training is kept fun and interesting and those insane weeks have been worth it. Results don’t just happen – you have to work hard all year for those highs.

Of course I am already getting on with the business of planning my next race. For me the road to Kona will be a long and very tough one. There will only be one outcome – I will either be there in October or I won’t. But time reflecting on the year past is well spent. My plan for the New Year can only be completed with a proper look back, conducted at the same time as a few weeks of wine, dark chocolate and lie-ins. Then I know I will be chomping at the bit to begin the relentless hard work lined up for 2016.