January 01, 2014

Goals for 2014

I know that New Years' resolutions are incredibly cliche, and a lot of people don't make them anymore, but there is something about a clean slate that entices me to set some goals. The start of a new year is so motivating to make some changes! Last year, I didn't make any resolutions. This year, I hadn't planned on it, but Mark's cancer diagnosis has made me reevaluate my mindset on pretty much everything.

After the Chicago Marathon, I was trying really hard to come up with some new running goals for 2014. I'd reached all my time goals; I didn't have any particular race that I was itching to run; and I just wasn't sure which direction to go. I ended up setting some pretty steep goals to PR in the 5K, 10K, and half-marathon distances this spring, and I wrote out a hardcore training plan for it.

I just haven't been able to get excited about it, though, probably because those goals really didn't have meaning to me. I just came up with them because I couldn't think of anything else. After my first hospital visit with Mark, I felt something change inside of me. I wanted to truly enjoy life! The exact moment it hit me was when Mark offered me a piece of his chocolate. I said no, and thanked him anyway. I started to explain--I asked him if he remembered when I was very heavy, and explained that I lost the weight and that I have to be very careful about what I eat...

And I stopped speaking mid-sentence, because I realized how ridiculous I sounded. Mark wasn't asking me to eat an entire chocolate cake; he asked me if I'd like a piece of chocolate! And whether that was in my "plan" or not, eating a piece of chocolate with Mark wasn't going to make me fat again. I said, "You know what, Mark? I'd love a piece!" and we each ate a piece of chocolate, while he talked about how excited he was to go to Heaven to be with his family.

Mark and I hadn't been very close; until his diagnosis, I only saw him a few times a year, when my dad brought him fishing or on Halloween for Mark's birthday. I never expected that his illness would affect me the way it has. I drive 45 minutes each way to visit him every other day, and on the days I don't go, I am excited to talk to my parents to ask how he's doing (they usually visit on the days I don't). I feel like I've really gotten to know him through these visits, and I look forward to each one. I try to think of ways I can bring him some joy, like with a strawberry milkshake or the hush puppies he was craving.

It's because of him that I have this urge to enjoy everything that I do. And that's why I revised my running goal for 2014. I don't want to focus on numbers, or trying to reach a particular time goal. Instead, I want to run for the pure enjoyment of it. Sometimes I enjoy running fast, but sometimes I want to slog through the whole thing, stopping to take pictures or chat with a friend. I no longer have any goal races for this spring, and that makes me happy! If I feel like running a race, I'll do it for the scenery, or to pace a friend to her goal, or just be around other runners. If I feel like racing hard, I may do that, too. But for now, my running goal is to not have any running goals--just have fun :)

Another goal that I want to focus hard on this year is being binge-free. The chocolate-incident with Mark inspired me to stop counting everything and work on eating "normally" without bingeing. I'm happy with how it's going! My weight has stayed pretty steady, which I'm fine with, because my BMI is in the normal range.

The third goal I want to focus on is to do one random act of kindness every day, big or small. I was inspired to do this when I saw just how many people were sending Mark kind cards, letters, pictures, and gifts. I got a warm feeling inside, and thought about just how nice everybody is! I would love to pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else each and every day.

So, my main three goals for 2014 are:

1) Be binge-free.
2) Try to find enjoyment in everything that I do.
3) Do a random act of kindness each day, big or small.

I didn't want to make my list too long, because that gets overwhelming... but something else that I hope to accomplish this year is to stick with strength training all year (two days per week). I've done it for a few weeks now, so I'd like to make it a habit. I guess if I "officially" mark this as #4, I'm committed ;)

Anyone else making some New Years' resolutions goals for this year?


  1. It's a great list, Katie. I usually set 10 goals for the year that are achievable (some with greater effort). Acts of kindness is on my list too. If you show the world gratitude it comes back to you you ten-fold. True story. I did my first act of kindness today by making a donation to the wild animal rehabilitation centre in my area. And it felt good! Happy New Year to you and your family - and Mark. Good things will come. Shine on!

  2. Amazing post Katie. Happy New Year.

  3. Thank you for your example. You make me want to be a better person.

  4. I am loving your new attitude about food! I have always admired your discipline when it comes to staying on track, but I am also excited to see you enjoy food in a healthy way (which I'm sure will have ups and downs, but this is nice to see). You are active and healthy, and I think less focus on points/tracking will be a positive for you! Thanks for sharing this inspiring list!

  5. Katie, your relationship with Mark is truly beautiful. You are both so lucky to have these moments together. I love your goals for this year. They're life goals that are good for the inside and for the heart. I raise my glass to you and look forward to joining you in your goals...

  6. Hope you have a wonderful 2014

  7. Really enjoyed this post going into the new year. Thanks for inspiring me!

  8. I love this post and your goals for 2014! Mine are similar. My 35 year old cousin lost his battle with brain cancer in September 2013 and his death really opened my eyes to how precious life is. I want to live every moment I'm given and experience it all, good and bad. I've always been a pretty positive person but his death has inspired me to find joy in all that I can and just enjoy this beautiful life I've been given.

  9. I think you are so right that it's ok to have a piece of chocolate, or a cupcake at a birthday, or anything else, in moderation. Any time I try restricting myself because I think I should, I end up binge eating. I don't know when I'll learn! I can't have a lot of stuff in the house, but I normally never have an issue with having something out. Balance is hard, but important. I think your goals are great. A lot of people in my life have been sick and died and losing people makes you realize how short life is, and how quickly it can change.

  10. I'd really like to start running, but I'm (turning) 43 & have had 6 babies, including 2 sets of twins. I just can't "take off and run" like many other people because....err....my body won't let me without a serious toddler accident. Any ideas for me? It's definitely my biggest dilemma.

    1. Oh my!! TWO sets of twins? I think your best option would probably be investing in a treadmill (or elliptical, or exercise bike, or whatever you enjoy doing the most). When my kids are home from school, and Jerry's at work, I still don't have an excuse not to run, because I have a treadmill :) You can find them relatively cheap on Craigslist, but even the one I bought new was $700 (not bad!) and has lasted me several years.

    2. I think she is referring to leakage...in which case maybe she should see a doctor? I know they have a minor surgery that can fix that! Good luck.

  11. That's a wonderful list of resolutions you came up. I think it's wonderful how you are so involved and taking such good care of your friend Mark. I think positive thoughts for him and pray for him every night.

    The Cancer Treatment Center of America posted this on Facebook:
    Make the Most of 2014:
    Focus on what really matters
    Prioritize and commit to the things you value
    Explore, be creative, be open minded
    Be greedy, and steal what you can from each day.

    I like this message, it speaks to what cancer patients need to do to make the most of their time, and it is what I plan to actively pursue doing with my Du in 2014. God Bless Us All!!

  12. I love your list. After an overwhelming couple of years, I have been hesitant to make any goals or resolutions at all - they just seem like inevitable failure. And yet, I need something to look towards! Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  13. Beautiful post. It made my cry/smile/laugh just a little bit and really brightened my day :) One of my major focuses in 2014 is the "joy in the journey" and trying to find happiness wherever I go. This past year, I got so caught up in trying to be "perfect" and "achieve" that I really lost sight of this. Thank you so much for posting!!

  14. Great post! And thank you for keeping us updated on Mark. I wish I could do some acts of kindness for you just because of how much of an angel you are to continue to take time out of your life to be there for him. You are truly an amazing woman. :)

    I love doing goals instead of "resolutions". When people ask me what my resolutions are I say "I don't have any. I am just going to try and continue to be a better me." That answer usually makes people happy. I love your idea about enjoying life more. My therapist and I were talking the other day and she told me that I seem like the type of person that lives for the moment and she is right. It makes life so much better to not worry all of the time and just be.

  15. I haven't been on blogger much and am just now catching up with posts... Your posts about him have brought me so many emotions. Mark sounds like a very special person; the kind who can bring you joy just reading about him! And at the same time so much sadness about his current condition. I feel an odd sense of peace in reading about him...How amazing for him to spend however many days he has surrounded by so much love; and how wonderful for him to be so content.

    Do you still have Mark's P.O. Box?

    I don't typically make resolutions but goals; yes. My biggest goal is to lose the weight I gained back over the last year or so! And to stop comparing myself, my body, and my progress with that of others'. Amazing how I felt like at my lowest weight I hadn't done enough and now I realize I'd be happy to be at that weight. Guess sometimes it takes something (like a horrific gain!) to wake us up and let us know what would really make us happy!

    1. Yes, I still have the P.O. Box. I'd been meaning to get one for blog purposes anyway, so I'm going to keep it indefinitely. It's Mark's contentedness that makes me want to be a better person... he's SO happy with so little, and I think everyone could learn something from him. I'm really glad to know him!

  16. The most ridiculous New Year's Resolution ever.....no soda. Not even one!! This is nearly impossible for me, but I've made it seven days so far! Just one day at a time. :)


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