I was never a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.

Maybe because they seemed pointless. I’d watch people make the same resolutions year after year and accomplish nothing. Or maybe I was just too young in previous years to appreciate the concept. Time seemed infinite, so I couldn’t really understand what the rush was to accomplish anything. It could have also been because my life was a roller coaster, more focused on survival and much less on self-actualization and bettering myself. My resolution, like my Christmas wish, was just to survive another year.

But I’m at a different point in my life now. I’m not on a roller coaster. I don’t feel immortal. And I’m not a failure. I know that if I make a resolution, I can stick to it. I can, if I choose, end the year better than I did the year before. Whereas previously I had no clue where I might be in 12 months, I now have the foresight and stability to envision my life one year from now. Now I think that resolutions are what you make them. And I want to make mine great.

I don’t like to call them resolutions. I look at them more like goals, which I’ve tried to break down into months. That way they’re more specific and progressive. Plus it’s easier to stay on track if I have a smaller goal to focus on at different points throughout the year.

So here are a few things to expect from me in 2011:

1. I plan to graduate in March and establish my own practice as a holistic nutritionist. I am currently working on a business plan and by the end of this year I hope to have set most of the groundwork for a successful practice. I am very detail-oriented and excited by both the minor and major challenges that await me through this process.

2. I plan to run 2011 kilometers in 2011. This works out to just under 1250 miles. My December mileage goal of 150 miles was a success, but it didn’t leave much time for cross training and very little recovery time. This mileage goal will keep me on track, but still allow time for rest and triathlon training. Which brings me to…

3. I plan to complete my first triathlon. This is something I have wanted to do for the longest time, but for the first time this year I am not daunted by the distance. I’d like to compete in a sprint triathlon in August (I will be posting a revised race schedule on Thursday), which is a 750m swim, 20k bike ride, and 5k run. The run is no issue. I think biking is also fairly straightforward (I was a biker before I became a runner). My weak link is the swim. So far I can swim 1km without stopping, but I plan to continue training for endurance and speed. When the weather gets warmer, I will start training in lakes.

4. I want to start running more with others. I’ve been to the Running Room training runs near my house a couple of times, but it doesn’t really feel like a fit for me. I hate the walk/run intervals and I never feel challenged. The routes are fairly flat and boring. I’d love to run more trails, more hills, or even just faster. I’d love to find a group that can occasionally push me a little harder than what I’m used to. Hopefully this will be the year that I find that.

5. It’s important to me that I vary my training. I find that I benefit from this greatly and I have specific goals as to how I can incorporate this into my year. Generally, it means more swimming, more hills, more trail runs, more intervals, and more core work instead of only flat, consistent running. I mentioned previously that this year would be all about testing my limits. Since I started running in 2008, I’ve built a very solid base and I’ve never had an injury. I feel I’m at a point where I can trust my body to tell me when to stop and push my limits a little more often.

6. The hardest thing I will run this year is the 12-hr Mind the Ducks race (my first ultra!) immediately followed the next day by the Toronto Marathon. My goal is to survive this.

7. My specific focus in January will be meditative running. I will be posting more about this soon.

8. I will be making more of a transition towards whole foods and experimenting with different types of foods and preparation, particularly whole grains and legumes and vegetables. This will require some extra organization and planning and time.

SMALL CHANGES

Besides big, life changing plans, everyone gets an itch in January to make some sort of immediate change. That happens to me too. So here are the things I’ve tweaked so far:

1.  I started running to school. Whenever I have class, I run there and run back. It’s a round trip of 15k. This is still very much a work in progress. I’m still underestimating the time it takes me to get there and I’m usually late for class. The biggest challenge is carrying my backpack. It’s a good fit for running, but I’m not used to the extra weight or even the sensation of carrying something. I’m also trying to plot a better route that doesn’t include as many street lights, though in the end it might be longer than 15k.

2. I am now buying in bulk. This is saving me money while also forcing me to prepare my meals with more time and planning. This has resulted in more nutritious meals prepared more naturally. You can see pictures of my favourite bulk food store and read about it here.

3. I’ve developed a semi-obsession with okra. I found these okra chips at my bulk food place and I thought they tasted ok. I really love okra’s shape and colour and consistency. Even the name is awesome. I’ve been experimenting with it and I’m still trying to find a way to prepare it that I absolutely love. It’s a great vegetable for experimenting.

4. I’ve started soaking my grains and sprouting my beans. This has been an amazing experience for me. You’ll find pictures and more info on my facebook page. There is no feeling in the world like watching something grow and come alive. I know it’s just sprouts, but you feel a connection to your food. I’m someone that grew up on cans and instant foods, so watching something prepare slowly over days is a wonder to me.

This is going to be an amazing year.