New year, new you blah blah blah. Do you set New Year’s resolutions? Or you do you simply set goals you hope to achieve in the next upcoming 12 months. And do these goals get in our way of enjoying our lives? Ambassador Madelene brings this subject to our attention. Read her thoughts below.

I rarely make strict resolutions, but last New Year’s I made one to cover a thousand miles on my own power.  In my defense, I was celebrating with some very motivated people who were making big resolutions! To make this more interesting and easier to achieve, I figured this could include running, hiking, biking, walking, backcountry tour skiing and cross-country skiing but not downhill skiing. This was based on the idea of using my outdoor activities and pushing myself farther for the sake of exercise and a nice even number, 1000. I don’t have a Fitbit, so I didn’t get every step I ever took but I wore my Garmin anytime I intentionally set on any of the self-approved activities.  As of the time of my writing this, I have propelled myself over 662.5 miles -over half way but I am definitely not going to finish this year! At my peak, in April I hiked or ran 133.5 miles and then the busyness of my summer crept in and I bottomed out in September with 17 miles. But this is not actually a post about numbers.

Well, I didn’t meet my goal but that’s life.  More sadly was sometimes, I caught my self constantly checking my GPS watch to see how far I had made it as if the only goal of hiking was mileage and exercise. I did have those blissful days, where I got completely enraptured with the scenery and I could just shelve all my cares. But I’ll be honest, and I doubt I’m the only one this has ever happened to, sometimes I got too stuck in my head or focused on goals that I forget why I even like to hike.

Whatever is bothering me off trail looms even larger as I hike and it’s all I can think about – and not in a healthy processing way. Hills became obstacles to toil up, not something that might provide a good view! There was one particularly painful day, I counted my steps to keep going. I even caught myself playing on my phone when I would stop for lunch or checking on something not time critical.  I am sure some of ya’ll have never had this happen and it sounds like blasphemy but I’m equally sure that a few of ya’ll have also fallen into this. This isn’t what you see in beautiful Instagram posts but sometimes it’s reality.

So, my goal for this year is to recapture the joy of being outdoors and why I go out in the first place! I will still push myself to run to farther, but I’ll take the goal of exercise and mileage out of my hikes. I don’t believe everything has to start on January 1st. This past week I went for what I call a “long run/hike” – I packed my running vest with enough food, water, and layers for several hours and took off.  I ran when I wanted to and hiked when that felt good instead. The days are very short this time of year, so I gave myself a turn around time-based on getting back to my truck before it got too cold and dark.  As I reached that turn around time, I found myself wanting to see what was around the next corner and the next… I did make myself turn around, but I felt that yearning to keep going that I hadn’t felt in way too long. I purposefully hadn’t set my GPS to track me on the way – I didn’t want to know how far I had or had not gone. But out of curiosity, I as started on my way back I set it to track me. In the end, I ran/hiked 9 miles that but more importantly I enjoyed every minute.

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