Brainstorming resolutions for 2010

I’m running a 10-mile race in April. My training schedule starts the first week of January, and I’m really looking forward to the workouts ahead of me. When I was putting together my training plan, I was reminded by how rewarding it is to have goals on my schedule that involve doing things that aren’t easily accomplished.

I’m not a life-long runner. I only started running this past year after I realized how well running fits with my lifestyle. I like sports that involve very little equipment (a good pair of shoes) and can be done without a lot of planning (no courts to reserve, no gym hours to remember). Plus, I’ve come to genuinely like the experience of running.

However, running 10 miles isn’t a normal thing for me. I’ve actually never ran more than five miles in a single run. Pushing myself up to 10 miles is going to be uncomfortable. There will be days when I’ll be sore and others when I’ll consider quitting, but I hope I’ll finish the race in April with a decent time.

Setting goals that are difficult to achieve opens us up for failure. We might not be successful. We might have to try multiple times to get something right, or we might not get the result we desire. The risk of failure makes achieving a difficult goal that much more rewarding.

As you start to think about resolutions for the new year, consider planning for something that isn’t easily accomplished. Stretch yourself to take on a project with the potential for failure and success. Make 2010 a year when you take a risk for big rewards.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll write about how to create and organize a schedule for achieving your difficult goals. Right now, though, I want you to brainstorm on what you want to achieve in 2010. Make a list, or three or nine. Visualize your life after achieving different goals. Talk to friends, family and/or your boss about the ideas that are bouncing around in your head and get their feedback. Sit in silence for an hour and listen to the thoughts spinning through your brain. Formulate one or two big, risky resolutions you would like to make happen for yourself.

Start with identifying your resolution because if you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t organize your plan for how to get there.

21 Comments for “Brainstorming resolutions for 2010”

  1. posted by Gracia on

    Funny how I wrote about simplifying new year’s resolutions today…
    There’s another thing I’ve been “trying” to do for a long time, but I never really follow the necessary steps to get there… I’m looking forward to your post on planning and scheduling 🙂

  2. posted by georgetownsandi on

    Reminds me of Yoda – There is no try, there is only do 🙂 I have been “trying” to work out consistently for years…and then “fizzle out” after a few days or weeks. Identifying the “real” resolution of fun, healthy fitness first before jumping into a rigid schedule of exercise I don’t enjoy would be much more productive. Then my organized plan has a chance of being successful 🙂 Thanks for a great reminder…

  3. posted by Plain Good Sense on

    My husband and I have been talking about goals a lot lately. We are recently married, and have both recently achieved our own individual goals while single (him: getting a job in a particular salary range and purchasing a house; me: earning a master’s degree). For both of us, getting married was a major goal – that we’ve now accomplished. We had sort of come to a point where we looked at each other and realized that now we need to figure out what goals we have for our life TOGETHER.

    So, we sat down and each made a list of our “10-year goals.” This was difficult! I’m currently 28, and for me to think about what my life will be when I’m 38 was difficult, and a tad scary! But exciting, too! We each wrote out some goals pertaining to what we’d like our lives to be like in 10 years, and then sat down together and talked about those goals, and formed them into shared goals. These long term goals give us an idea of where we are heading, and what we’ll need to do between now and then to get there (save money for a larger house because we’d like to have 3 kids, continually strive for fulfilling careers that we enjoy, consistently work on fitness so we can be healthy and happy parents, etc.)

    My short-term goal is similar to yours, Erin. I’m going to complete a half-marathon on May 2 (the one-year anniversary of our wedding). Notice I did not say “run” a half-marathon, because I’m quite sure there will be plenty of walking involved! I found a training program online that lasts 12 weeks, but now I am in the “pre-training” phase where I’m getting myself in shape enough to begin the training!

    This short-term goal will help fulfill one of my long-term goals of being fit as I enter into my child-rearing years (we’re going to start trying for our first child next summer, after I complete the half marathon).

    I find setting goals extremely helpful for preventing the “just drifting along” tendency that we can all get caught up in, where we just try to get through each day, each week, continuously awaiting the next weekend, the next vacation, or the next holiday. Indeed, working towards your goals not only gives you satisfaction in the short term, but in the long haul of life as well.

    Wow! Sorry for the long comment – but this post really got me thinking!! Perhaps I’ll have to write a blog post of my own about the importance (and challenges) of goal setting.

  4. posted by Amy on

    My resolution began this month. It is to live the life I want. So many of my resolutions are things that I have control over, but have an issue getting it done, like saving money, losing weight and staying organized. Whenever I start to feel like I’m slipping I just tell myself to live the life I want. If I want a certain life then I need to live it. If I start to live “another” life (spending too much, eating poorly, etc.) then I am telling myself that I must *want* that life of living paycheck to paycheck and being overweight, which of course isn’t true. That mantra quiets all of my excuses. It is scary and exhilarating to realize that I have control over the things that I want in my life.

  5. posted by Kevin on

    Like the post!

  6. posted by Ronny on

    I write down my goals in a 2010 goals booklet. It is always in my wallet and I review it regularly. It keeps me focused on what really matters to me.

    Enjoy and share,

  7. posted by Joanne on

    To “Plain Good Sense”, I loved reading your post about sitting down with your spouse to discuss your 10 year goals. I agree it’s not easy when you have so many years ahead of you, and in fact I pretty much avoided it while married to my first husband. However I am now 51 years old, and married five years to a wonderful guy. We too feel we have achieved our individual goals and we are living our life just the way we want. So now it feels very comfortable, as well as exciting, to discuss our future together.

    As for my resolution, it was pretty much finalized this morning when I read two posts at Steve Leveen’s blog
    [] and

    I have been wanting to learn German and Czech for a trip coming up in 2011. Learning languages is really hard for me, and I haven’t felt successful in my French and Italian. However, the posts reminded me that it’s not about the destination, but the journey, and Steve gives a lot of tips for working language practice into daily living. This resolution also satisfies another one of my goals – to exercise my brain by learning something new.

  8. posted by Mikey's mom on

    @Ronny, that is a great link! I too think it’s critical to not just have your goals in your head, but written down and with you 24/7 — in a moment of weakness, you can take a minute and re-read them.

  9. posted by Jeanne B. on

    Christine Kane’s solution makes more sense to me than writing up a list of resolutions. She suggests that we choose one word to be our intention for the entire year. She’s blogged about it here:

    I’ve chosen my word for 2010. I think. It’s CLEAR. But I’ve allowed myself room to change my mind up until midnight, December 31st.

  10. posted by Leanne on

    Good luck on training for your first 10 miler. I trained for my first one a few years ago with a local running group and let me tell you, it’s an amazing experience. Every week you add on a new mile and push yourself just that little bit extra and you’re rewarded with the knowledge that you’ve done it! You’ve ran x-miles.

  11. posted by L. on

    @“Plain Good Sense”, check out the Couch to 5K program for an easy and specific way to get yourself in shape for a half marathon-training program. I’ve done it, and it works.

  12. posted by Martha on

    “I’ve never actually ran” should be “I’ve never actually RUN.”

  13. posted by Claycat on

    Creating and organizing a schedule for difficult goals sounds great! I’m looking forward to it. Congratulations on setting a goal to run in a marathon! That’s wonderful!

  14. posted by Mark Carter on

    My own feeling is that setting goals, ie resolutions, is really powerful. However, attaching to the goals set can really produce a lot of suffering. You have to find a way to generate motivation, then let go in the moment. A very interesting dynamic …..

  15. posted by Greenie on

    @Amy, I’m right there with you! I’ve been thinking that through for awhile, and I’ve finally started saying it out loud — be the me I want to be, live the life I want to live. You’re right — I don’t want to spend all my money foolishly and be overweight, so I have to pull the reins on that behavior and be the me I want to be. Thank you for articulating it so well!

    My resolution for 2010 is simple and easy, in that it pulls together all of the things I want for me and for my life — I will create a community garden in my town that provides space and assistance for would-be gardeners, fresh and healthy food for people who use our local food pantry, and a receptacle for those who want to compost their organic waste rather than adding to the landfill.

    I’ve never had one resolution before, or one that was outwardly focused. I feel calm and unhurried as I move quickly to create this.

  16. posted by ami | 40daystochange on

    What great timing. I’ve been thinking about goals as well, and a couple of the wonderful ideas I’ve found regarding big goals are: (1) there’s less competition from other people when you attempt something audacious, so many people limit *themselves*, and by trying the audacious, you have more fun AND you’re more committed (thanks to Tim Ferriss for that one) and (2) when attempting an audacious goal, the very attempt is a learning experience and even *failure* = success. (many sources, my favorite being a famous Theodore Roosevelt quote – Man in the Arena, available at

    Big goals rock.

    So, good luck on the race Erin. (wonder if you’re running the same race I ran last year in DC?) Running 10 miles is a fantastic goal.

  17. posted by td on

    I’d like to get 1000+ miles in for next year, but I have to consistently get out the door else it will not happen.

  18. posted by td on

    I recommend checking out (free mapping/logging tools and no ads), if you get a chance.

  19. posted by Cassie Jowers on

    Not sure where I’ll start, I received my Unclutterer book last night for Christmas. Can’t wait to read it and get started on some resolutions.

  20. posted by Leonie on

    I’ve got my first full IronMan in October. I’ve been racing in triathlons for 2 years and it’s time to tackle the big one. My other resolution is to cut out on time wasters like…checking email more than twice a day!

  21. posted by Erin on

    I second whomever mentioned the Couch to 5K iPhone App. I wasn’t on the couch but I did want to run more consistently. I think the app, at $2.99 is worth it. It lets you use your own music and gives you subtle cues. Good luck in your race. I am running in a relay in August and will also be training this year.

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