Aspirations for 2014

At this particular time of year, we all start to think about what has happened in the preceding 12 months, and what we can do to improve ourselves and our lives in the coming 12 months.

Prior to writing this post, I had a look back through my blog and Facebook posts, to see what resolutions I had chosen for 2013. However, I didn’t write them down. If I had I’m sure they would have included my standard; get fit, leave the house more, and read more.

If they did, I achieved the first two (mostly). I am now running about 3 times a week and attend 2 spinning classes, which isn’t the kind of leaving the house more I had in mind. I haven’t read much though, too many films got in the way.

For 2014, I’m not going to use the word ‘Resolution‘ which is defined as ‘a firm decision to do or not to do something’.

Instead I’m going for ‘Aspiration‘ which is defined as ‘a hope or ambition of achieving something’.

Hopefully I can achieve some of the following, which aren’t in any particular order, apart from the first one, which it’s rather important that I achieve as soon as I can:

Get a job – I took voluntary redundancy 18 months ago from the Civil Service, and have been enjoying myself since then. Come January, it will be time to look for work. Ideally it would be working with Young People, as that’s where I aspire to be but I’m not sure that will happen straightaway. When I left my job, I was keen not to return to sitting behind a desk, so maybe I’ll look for something different but only time will tell, as that’s where my experience lies.

Watch fewer films – Some people may want to watch more films but in 2013 I managed to get through 460. So I will try to watch less and get back to or perhaps even less, than my pre-redundancy average of between 180-200 films.

Read more – I have been buying books consistently for the 18 months I haven’t been working, I just haven’t read that many of them. I have lots of ebooks and a growing collection of print books. So less films, more books.

Go out more – In 2013 I did manage to leave the house more, mostly for fitness; either running on my own or going to spinning classes & the very occasional Zumba session. What I need to do in 2014 is get myself out more socially, where no one is wearing lycra fitness gear.

Run in an organised Half Marathon – My fitness has now improved such that I have run the half marathon distance twice on my own around the local roads and canal tow path, in a respectable time. Running in a proper race will only aid my development to being a long distance runner. (Yes I just described myself as a potential long distance runner – it makes me laugh too)

Improve my general fitness – I run & spin consistently on a weekly basis but I don’t focus on the rest of my body. I used to do lots of press-ups but don’t do any these days. So general body fitness is something I need to start doing. It’ll no doubt improve my running too.

Volunteer more – I currently volunteer once a week for just under 3 hours. I’m a short way into a Youth Work degree with the Open University and I will need more hours. Which means finding additional voluntary work in the local area.

Get a mountain bike – This will only happen once I get a job. There is a local biking group called the Brecon Barbarians, of which a few of the new friends I have made this year, are either members or associated in some way. I’d like to join them. A bucket list challenge I set my self was to complete the long route of the Brecon Beast, a roughly 60 mile ride over a challenging route. That may not happen in 2014 but you never know.

Getting a job, is clearly my main aspiration but perhaps for personal growth, this is equally important.

Try to relax, enjoy life & not over think every situation – I have a nasty habit of seeing the negative in most situations before any of the positives. I say I’m a realist but that’s probably false, it’s just that I rarely see the positives around me. In fact I rarely see positive things about myself, I recognise that as a part of me but adjusting and assimilating that there are positive things within me, is hard to accept. I keep getting told though, so maybe it will all sink in one day.

As I re-read that before publishing, I’m amazed and proud of the fitness based aspirations I have listed. 12 months ago I could barely run a few miles without feeling like my heart was going to burst its way through my ribs. Now I think nothing of putting on my running shoes and getting out in the fresh air for an hour’s run.

Eventually I’ll run a half marathon or two, then a marathon or two before getting to a bucket list goal of finishing an ultra marathon before I’m 41… but that’s for my aspiration list on 31 December 2016.

Happy New Year to you all!