Few years ago, when I turned 25, I decided to set one significantly challenging and tangible objective for each subsequent year of my life.
Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew.
One of my teaches used to say that, and I never took her quote seriously because teachers tell you a lot of things that don’t make sense at the time (and also because I hate cheesy quotes). I want to believe that I do lots of interesting things in life, not because I find those things challenging but because I enjoy doing them. At the mature age of 24 and only a day before I turned 25 a strange realization crept into me. I realized that the infinite time I thought I had in my life was not really infinite, and if I wanted to do things in life, I had to do them right now.
Born out of that exercise of mental masturbation was a resolution to set one challenging goal each year. Since then, I have managed to accomplish at least one – what I thought was – significant goal each year. Some of my goals were emotional, some were financial and few were physical challenges. Some goals are multi-year, yet to be accomplished. Sounds like a lot of goals which is true because this ritual calls for at least one.
Sadly I wasn’t able to come up with a satisfactory large goal for 2012 possibly because I got too comfortable with the things I had around me. There was only one new activity I did this year worth mentioning:
- Learned the basics of Turkish language, travelled to Turkey and (mostly) survived without speaking English.
And since I didn’t find anything else to do, and my goals-basket was inadequately filled, I have decided to run another half-marathon this year.
Half Marathon: Topping up the goal-basket
Two years ago, I ran my first half marathon ever and it was a very solid learning experience. I learned about my body, nutrition, discipline and what it meant to constantly be on a quest to achieve a goal (usually that happens when I spend days playing video games). Last year (2011), I had registered for a spring half-marathon event, but the process of buying a house was stressful and made it hard to focus on other activities. So I did not run…
This year I will be running in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 14, 2012. The 21.2 km route winds through core downtown areas, shoots to the west end of the city along the waterfront (close to my house) and loops back to terminate at the City Hall.
I am setting a target finish time of 2 hours, slightly faster than the last time. Lets see if I can make it!
Large amount of research has shown that challenges and goal setting helps us stay active, engaged and motivated in life. While I realize that this marathon mission is not a large goal, since I’ve already done it before, it will certainly contribute to making 2012 a happy and fruitful year.
Taking a cue from those research studies, I urge everyone to challenge themselves in innovative and interesting ways. The internet is full of people who set challenges for a week, once a year or once a decade, the frequency doesn’t really matter.
For example, in 2013 I want to travel to 3 new countries (in order to fulfill my objective of travelling to 13 countries by 2013). I also want to learn Icelandic. (hint!)
I would love to hear your thoughts and, if you are comfortable, your goal for 2012.