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Navigating the New Year: My Current Perspective on Resolutions

Updated: May 4, 2022

The concept of the "New Year's Resolution" is difficult to navigate.

Not so much on the surface. Definitely not.

Is there any little, tiny thing that you want to change about your life, your habits, your relationships, your health, your anything? Yeah, of course. We all have those.

So boom: resolution. At its simplest, the nature of the resolution is not hard to grasp.

Yet every year, I find myself shying away from the whole resolution thing and end up not resolving to do anything. I often wonder if I'm the only one that this happens to, especially since I believe that a lot of this comes from my time as an athlete. So here are my thoughts on setting goals and how my perspective has changed during my time as a pro athlete...

One year I was seated around a table with my teammates and my coach on New Year's Eve. (We were on a training trip, that's why lol) And in dreadful "first day of class ice-breaker" fashion, coach asked us to go around the table and say our New Year's resolution. And we all had to have one.

On the outside I'm showing my well practiced "too-cool for sharing, I'm above this look." Sassy, yet mainly unreadable.

But on the inside?! Battling that physical feeling of dread. You know, the kind where it starts in your neck and oozes down towards your toes like someone poured a bucket of dread-colored paint down your back.

Part of that was definitely coming from my aversion to sharing in groups, which is... haha a whole other thing.

The other part had everything to do with my relationship to goal setting.

I've learned that I have a relatively strained relationship with setting goals because of my sport. I can't really remember when it happened, but not only did I stop setting goals for my athletic performance, I actively told coaches, friends, family that I just straight up didn't have any.

Its actually kind of funny now that I type it out. How frustrating to ask an athlete their goals and have them respond with, "I don't have any, I'm just here for the ride." Ten points for being infuriating!

I truly don't want to blame athletics on my poor relationship with goal setting, but as I've unpacked and considered the seasons of my life, I do see that it played a role.

Track and field is, in many ways, an unpredictable sport. You can train as hard as you are able at practice, and then go and run multiple seconds faster in a competition. Sometimes you know your potential to surpass a personal record is there, but you can't always predict it.

The day I ran my Personal Best 800m I felt terrible and half expected myself to fall over halfway through.

At other times, I set goals that I saw as reasonably within reach, and then never got close. Or got really close just to lose it at the last second.

And those situations of disappointment devastated me. It's the coldest feeling to give your heart and soul to something and it not go remotely at all how you planned.

So a resolution above the surface? A sentence. A thought. Something you can think about for a few weeks and forget.

Under the surface? A resolution is a manifestation of your deep desires. Your current and future self-perceptions.

A thing that you potentially can fail at.

And that's scary!

One of the reasons we (humans), don't like to set goals is because it makes us vulnerable to failure and disappointments. No one likes to be let down!

This year, I've decided to confront my fear of resolutions. I want to set goals, I want to have something to reach for.

I think that my lack of writing these goals down or making them concrete in some way has resulted in less progress and makes me feel, for lack of a better word, stale. I want to take back my dreams and take steps towards them without being afraid.

I've learned in the last few years that the journey is just as important (more important?) than the actual destination itself. I know that sounds cliché, but there's kinda a reason people say it.

If you focus to much on the end result, you lose sight of the importance of the day to day and how much the little things add up to make a difference.

My professional track and field journey is about the end of season results, yes. But that's not it! When I leave this adventure, I will take with me so much more than the times that I run. I'll carry memories, lessons, and tons of new friends.

Sport might be where I lost my sight on goals, but it's also where I learned to make them again. The healthy way to make them.

A resolution doesn't have to be something you either completely succeed at or completely fail at.

It can be something to strive for.

It can be a larger intangible concept that you take physical steps towards each day.

I flirted with the idea of starting a blog for so long. I wanted to be a writer since before I was spelling correctly, yet I couldn't bring myself to start a blog for fear of failure. In 2020, I started a blog and it has grown into one of the most important things to me!

And it might not be where I want it to be yet, but I don't consider it a failure. I've learned a lot,

found peace and creativity in making something my own, and so much more.

My new approach to New Year's Resolutions is to make the goal despite the uncertainties. I want to have something in the distance to visualize and picture, but what I really want is to feel pride in taking steps towards this each day.

That way, no matter the outcome, I grew and experienced things to the fullest.

But I also want to fully believe that I deserve to cut myself a break when the vision doesn't form exactly as I pictured it. Who knows though, maybe it'll be even better.




madeline kopp blog

Hi, I'm Madeline

Welcome to Madeline Kopp— your source of inspo for finding a balance between healthy living and going after everything that you want! Here you'll find balanced, healthy lifestyle hacks that keep things simple and stylish. Learn more. x, MK
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