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Personal view: One week in, 2020 is already feeling like it is not going to be my year

Seven days into the new year, I can’t say I’ve got off to a flyer.

It took until January 2 to sustain my first running injury of the year and this one was completely my own fault, caused by tripping over a too-long shoe lace that I had for months been meaning to replace. By the time I had realised the bow had come loose, I was on the floor somewhere near Sainsbury’s wondering how I was going to get to the office by nine when I could no longer run home. Maybe I should have made ‘buy more shoelaces’ a resolution, but by that point my goals for 2020 had already been value engineered - I write, channelling inspiration from my inner councillor defending a budget cutback.

My old nemesis (Pixabay) (26153149)
My old nemesis (Pixabay) (26153149)

It’s just as well, perhaps, that ‘run a sub-18 5km’ is now scratched from my list, as is ‘read 40 books’. That’s not to say I will go out of my way to run slowly (well, at least not after this knee wound heals) or stop myself from reading 40 books like some sort of culture denier from the middle ages, but I could do without the extra pressure. I’d like to be able to enjoy all the books I read without racing through them to hit some kind of target. And while having a better 5km personal best would be nice, I don’t think reducing my best time by 22 seconds is going to get me in the British team for the Tokyo Olympics, or lead me to strut around town with a smile on my face for the rest of my life.

But I like to have goals, and I’ve always thought these should be as specific as possible - and ‘completing a 10km run’ is a more clear and achievable objective than a nondescript ‘get fit’. It’s also a time for self-analysis and considering what can be done that will really make a positive change, and for me that means moving beyond what for me could be considered comfort zone goals of forever running faster and always reading more books.

What do I need to work on? Those who know me will probably say it is quite a long list - but something to immediately address could be my complete lack of flexibility. Last year on a visit to a physio, which are sadly becoming more common, I was told it was a surprise that I had not been injured before. I might be able to run a marathon, but if I can only reach down as far as my knees I might not manage it for much longer.

So, goal number one for 2020 is to finally do something I’ve been putting off and commit to getting flexible. The end goal is to have attended 40 sessions before the year is out (why 40? It’s about one a week with some margin for error). But end goals are best achieved when broken down into smaller targets - and that means attending my first session of the year. I’ve promised myself a slice of cake at the end of it - but not a full English breakfast, as goal number two of the year is to become a pescetarian. This is for environmental reasons - but also because I fall into the one per cent of people who have a fondness for pigs, even having read Animal Farm. So there we are, I am one week in and looking forward to a break from goal setting.

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