Ahhh, New Year’s resolutions……trim down, be more active, drink more water, get organized. They come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you like them or not, these planned improvements help stir the pot about how 2017 can be a better year. If you’ve set your sights on a goal you’ve never accomplished or one that seems more manageable, maybe this is the time to do so.

As written in my blog post at this time last year, I set a goal of swimming an average of one mile per day. I accomplished this in 2014, but fell well short in 2015 and I was determined to bounce back.

So, where did I land in 2016?

After workouts in 15 pools, a lake and eight states, I’m proud to share I exceeded my goal and landed just under the 400-mile mark for 2016. That’s a lot of time in the water, but the year also took a lot of twists and turns.

During the mid-point of the year I was approximately 30 miles ahead of my pace. I wondered whether I set a goal that was too low and if I should adjust it. Between limitations due to travel and skipping practice, however, I found that gap narrow a few months later in September. In order to meet my goal, I knew it was necessary to pick up the pace to get back on track so I determined how many yards per week I’d need to accomplish my goal. Once I found myself back in the groove of regular practices, it turned out to be fine and I adjusted the goal to be 400 miles for the year.

What did I learn in 2016?

Mind over matter:

  • As hard as it is to get up at 4:30am to swim with a Masters group, it is worth it in order to get the workout done early in the day and not miss out on team camaraderie.
  • It is easier to break up workouts into weekly segments, so I know that if I don’t work out Monday or Tuesday, I have to swim consecutive days in order to make up the yardage.
  • Set smaller goals throughout the year to keep your big goals on track and help add some excitement to what can be a boring training routine.
  • Try new swim competitions to get out of your comfort zone.
  • When traveling, it can be fun and rewarding to swim with new Masters groups.

Biggest lesson

One of the biggest lessons I learned this year is that it is about the journey getting to your goal and not a sprint. It is essential to be realistic about goals and great to consider going beyond certain goals, but also important to be mindful that things will come up which may prevent you from staying on track. It is key to be able to determine what you can do to right the ship and stay focused.

Track your progress regularly

With so many tracking devices to help you record and track your activity, I’ve found it necessary to make use of them throughout my journey. It is essential to give yourself the credit you deserve and either write down or track through an app your progress. I always find it gratifying to see how far I’ve progressed to my goal or see what I need to do to catch up.

What’s your plan for 2017?

This year I plan to keep the mile-a-day pace and hopefully add another sprint triathlon or two to my fitness plan.

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