So, 2020 is now well under way and according to the promises we made ourselves as the clock chimed midnight on 31st December 2019, we should now all be fitter, less drunk and more vegan. So how has that worked out for everyone so far? I can only speak for myself when I say that I haven’t been entirely successful in keeping the promises I made.
For starters, dry January got off to a bad start, lasting until about 6pm on January 1st. My thinking being that I’d better drink all the alcohol left over from the festive season, just to ensure I wouldn’t be tempted for the rest of the month. Unfortunately, I received rather a large supply of booze, and it’s taken me most of the month to get through it in order to ensure that temptation is resisted. I’ve now settled for cutting down/not drinking on school nights (apart from when I’ve had a particularly stressful Tuesday).
With my 40th birthday looming at the end of March, this was to be the year of setting myself 40 challenges for 40, which I intended to complete over the course of the year. So far, I’ve pencilled down 17 none of which I’ve achieved or even embarked upon. Perhaps I should have set the goal of writing out my list in full as challenge number one on my list.
As a regular gym goer for many years, many of my goals were strength and fitness based, my 40th year would be dedicated to smashing PR’s, proving age is just a number, it’s all in the mind etc. Most people use January as a time to join gyms, but I’ve done the opposite, quitting all memberships and utterly neglecting the home gym in the attic I promised myself I would use instead. A long commute, dark nights and trying to get our house in a condition to sell has so far blunted any ambition or inclination I may have had to lift weights whilst gurning at my own reflection in a mirror.
Gym fails aside, perhaps, the great outdoors would be my salvation, with a January taken up by wild swimming (the activity formerly known as ‘swimming’) using my inflatable SUP board that saw a grand total of 1 outing last year, day trips to Dorset in the campervan, that sort of thing. Instead it’s been weekends spent indoors painting doors, removing the SUP from the van to create room for trips to the rubbish dump, and the furthest day trip the van has taken has been a trip to the aforementioned dump, via the car wash. The poor van was looking rather neglected, turning a greener shade of white, and I actually found a plant growing out of the passenger side door. So, there haven’t been that many successful trips in the great outdoors thus far in 2020.
I have been managing to get out for runs 2-3 times a week on my lunch break, however. I set myself a monthly goal of running 100 miles a month, and with one day to go until the end of the month I just need to squeeze in a quick 45 mile run to get me across that finishing line. Another fail then, but any time spent outdoors is better than none.
We did manage to get out for our first Park Run as a family last week and we (I’m) hoping to make it two in a row this weekend.
Dragging two teenage girls out of bed at 8am to run 5k on a Saturday morning isn’t a particularly tempting proposition, but we made it, despite occasionally crippling social anxiety issues and a few tears and tantrums. We completed the course through a combination of very slow jogging and walking, finishing around 1317th out of 1370. I couldn’t have been prouder.
The girls may have been woefully ill-equipped, but next time will come armed with proper sports bras, and the knowledge that they can complete the course. I’d wholeheartedly recommend getting involved in Park Run if you can, it’s such a friendly, inclusive event and everyone was wonderfully encouraging and supportive. I may have posted my slowest ever 5K time, but I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the experience with my family, and it was well worth the bruises my youngest inflicted on me for forcing her into this ‘stupid’ waste of her Saturday when she could have been staring at her phone instead.
I guess the moral of this (if there is one), is that we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much if we don’t attain all the goals we set ourselves. Life has an uncomfortable habit of getting in the way, particularly at this time of year when the days are shorter and colder. Any time spent being active outside is time to be cherished, particularly when it’s time spent with family and friends. It’s good for our mental and physical health, and just generally good for the soul. We’re fortunate to have some wonderful countryside on our doorstep in the south of England, and even the cities feature some wonderful parkland that’s perfect for getting out there and destressing from our busy, always on lives.
Whilst we wait for the longer brighter days, the winter is a wonderful time to ignore goals, get outside and enjoy some quality time together. And if that’s followed by a cheeky pint by a roaring fire, we shouldn’t feel too guilty about it. Cheers.