There are countless statistics on how many people “fail” at their New Years’ resolutions, or give up after a few months of trying. Last year, I had several specific goals for myself, none of which I ended up meeting. One of my New Year’s goals was to run a faster 5k, however, after countless long runs and training plans, when it was time for the race, I simply wasn’t ready to run the time I wanted to run. At the time, I felt like a failure. I even though I had a concrete training plan, I wasn’t able to follow it.
But what if we spent more time emphasizing the process, rather than the outcome? While there is nothing wrong with making goals, it can lead to an “all-or-nothing” mindset, which can be dangerous.
In the past, I used to make goals and resolutions with quantifiable results in mind- but this always led to failure. Now, I see those numbers as being unimportant, even trivial. When I look back on the past year, and the past month, I see the moments when I pushed myself out of my comfort zone- like speaking up at a meeting, or wearing something I wouldn’t normally wear, or discovering a new passion- that made all the difference.
This year, my resolution has been to focus less on creating concrete goals and more on enjoying the everyday moments, as well as continuously striving to improve myself. Today, I left my watch at home while going for a run. It allowed me to focus on the strong feeling in my legs and the crisp February air, and I let my thoughts wander instead of focusing on how fast or slow I was going. I also was not able to fixate on the time. While I still plan to run a 5k in the near future, I know that my time on the clock isn’t anywhere near as important as the journey it takes to get there.
This post was written by Skye Sarac. Skye is in her second year at NC State studying Psychology and Political Science. Skye is passionate about decreasing the stigma around mental illness through writing and telling stories, and enjoys learning about anything related to mental health.