This year was filled with many successes as I completed my 2nd 100-miler, successfully finished the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim in 14 ½ hours, completed an Ironman, and managed to take on two new sports (bike and swimming). However, it was also a year filled with even more let downs. I had my first ever DNF (did not finish) in February only finishing 50 of the 100 miles I set out to do, my 2nd DNF in July finishing only 71 miles of my 100 mile goal, my 220 mile endurance hike through the Sierras was cut 30 miles short due to fire and getting off trail, and the last two months of the year I struggled to maintain any sort of a workout schedule. And all of this only takes into account my “failures” in the fitness world, there are many other let downs I can add in other areas of my life. However, with all of this blaring at me, the reason that fitness is such a huge part of my self-care is because of the struggle I must work through to finish. Yet, for the first time ever I experienced the deep pains of not finishing a race, and while it was so difficult for me to even think about it for such a long time I will never forget that conversation I had with myself as I battled to stay in the game. It has been those conversations that have driven my passion to dust myself off and keep moving.
About 80 miles into the John Muir Trail
Years ago I vowed to live each year better than the last regardless of circumstance. Obviously this can be challenging because so much can happen in a year. Loss, depression, financial problems, divorce, addiction (just to name a few). However, I realized that if you can develop the skills necessary to work through these challenges and trauma, living each year better than the last is realistic. Now living each year better does not necessarily mean being “happier” but rather becoming more of the person you were born to be; and in my opinion you have the opportunity to become more of that person through hardships. I discovered more about myself through my shortcomings this past year rather than my successes. I went to dark places in my mind and battled self-doubt, negative self-talk, and various insecurities, and faced them head on. I mourned losses of relationships and accepted responsibility when I didn’t want to. It was all of these things that taught me how to live 2016 better as I went places I hope I don’t have to return to but even if I do, I will be better equipped to handle these situations differently.
Something that I have done which helps me outline the road to my goals is I ask myself, “Sam, who do you hope to be this time next year?” And then I really think about that person. How she treats others, how she treats herself, and what goals she now sees that are in her grasp. From here I can start writing down my goals and big dreams for the year with smaller monthly goals to help me get there. So often we put things off assuming that next week, next month, or next year, it will somehow be easier to suddenly save money, be more connected to family, or lose the weight that has been hanging around for too long. However, it never gets any easier, if anything life always gets more complicated. The assumption that next year we’ll have more time is procrastinations’ sneaky little way of keeping our goals at bay. The challenge this year is to make time because there will always only be 24 hours in a day and life will always be busy and complicated. You are the only factor that can change.
What are you going to do this year? Who do you want to be moving into 2017? Most importantly, how are you going to get yourself there? As you move through working out your 2016 goals let yourself dream big and imagine the kind of life you can be living in just one short year from now. Remember a lot can change in a year but a lot can also stay the same. If you don’t want certain things to be the same I encourage you to take action now. For me, this next year I hope to have scarier adventures, longer laughs, more consistent commitments, and to live just a little bit better than 2015 so that at the end of 2016 I will be just a little bit more like the girl I was born to be.