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Unmet Goals and New Beginnings

Unmet Goals and New Beginnings
Jennifer Harrington

I didn’t hit my fitness goal this year and surprisingly, I am ok with it. Let me back up. Each year I
have a fitness goal and generally, I reach it. Chalk it up to my Type A personality or being raised
in an environment where if you said you were going to do something, you did it. I can’t recall a
year where I have not achieved what I set out to do. Not this year, and not only did I not reach it,
but I wasn’t even that close.

I had set out to do 292 thirty minute workouts in 2020. How did I come up with this number? It
started with the idea that I would exercise 80% of the year. Since it was a Leap Year (we
actually got an extra day of this wild ride of a year) I would complete 292 half hour workouts.
As someone who exercises regularly, this seemed obtainable. I thought to myself, I exercise
most days so I must generally hit this goal anyway, right? I began logging my workouts and
realized I had to further define my “thirty minute workout.” I couldn’t count taking my dog for a
walk or yard work. No, this had to be a set time with the intent to exercise and the workout had
to be challenging.

January started strong. Yoga, running, spin class, bootcamp. I was on a roll and well over 80%
for the month. February dwindled a bit as I had come down with a mild cold and also had some
travel. Then March came and life as we all knew it changed. We were home and navigating all
of the unknowns. I am fortunate enough to have a pre-pandemic home gym as my main workout
space. I am also intrinsically motivated, I am one of those who loves exercise. I remember
thinking to myself in early April, I am going to crush this 80% goal now, since I am stuck at
home. I have all I need to accomplish this. I even debated increasing the goal to 90%, but after
talking this through with some my more level-headed non-competitive friends, I kept the goal as
is.

Though the spring met status quo as far as my exercise routine, things started going downhill at
a steady pace. It’s not that I didn’t exercise, I just didn’t exercise as I much as I normally do. My
mojo was thrown off. I attempted to focus by trying new workouts, adding in a few pieces of new
workout equipment, and reminding myself of my goals. I did all of the things, but it didn’t work. I
was getting in a handful of workouts most weeks, but it wasn’t propelling me towards my goal.
By June, I was at a mere 65% and dropping. So much for exercising more, since I had been
home I was actually working out much less. As I entered the last quarter of this year, I was at
the acceptance stage that this was life as we know it, for now, and if I was going to hit my goal I
needed a plan. By late September, I had worked out 58% of the year, a far cry from my 80%
goal. I readjusted my mindset in October as an attempt to get back on track. I was running,
spinning, lifting and doing yoga most days of the week. Though my percentage was increasing, I
knew it was a longshot to hit my goal.

As I write this on December 30, I am at 255 workouts. I’ll be honest, I contemplated doing 37
thirty minute workouts in the next 24 hours (those of you who know me are not surprised by
this), I mean, it is doable. But then I decided to accept that I did not reach my goal this year,
and, that is ok. Though I will enjoy a long run and flow yoga, I have decided to take the last 24
hours of the year to focus on what I did accomplish rather than focus on what I did not
accomplish. For a year like no other, I adapted. Again, and again, and again. We all did. And
that is something to be celebrated.

I am looking forward to the New Year. It’s not that things are going to be much different than
they were yesterday. We are not going to wake up and the pandemic is going to be over. We
are not going to be hosting dinner parties, traveling abroad, and hugging our distant loved ones
for quite some time, but we can be hopeful for new opportunities. I encourage you to focus your
energy on building new goals rather than dwelling on the old ones. Focus on what you can do,
instead of what you can’t. For me, I am celebrating that I am ending the year with 260
workouts, 71%, and though I am very tempted to have my new fitness goal be the same as last
year, I decided to let it go. I am going to start fresh for 2021 and trust in the magic of a new
beginning.