To me, this quote sums up what every New Year’s resolution should be about–becoming a better version of yourself.
You’ve probably heard the motto, “New Year, New You!” For a lot of people, New Years resolutions involve major life changes, starting over and trying to becoming a whole new person. Instead of focusing on small changes to become a better version of themselves, they try to change everything at once. I’m not saying we shouldn’t make positive life changes, especially big ones that are necessary to living a happy and healthy life. But its easy to get caught up in wishing we looked like someone else, had something we don’t have, or we try to fast-forward to a new phase of life we might not be ready to handle. If we want to make resolutions that result in permanent, positive changes, I believe we must first learn to accept who we are, the unique person we were created to be, including our strengths, weaknesses, triumphs and failures. Once we accept ourselves, we can move forward towards perfecting that person.
For me, 2015 did not go anything like I had hoped or planned. I expected to be fully recovered from my injury, race a full track season, and ultimately make the World Championship team. Instead, I ended up not running a single race and having labral tear surgery on my hip. As much as I wish all of that never happened, and that the moment the clock struck midnight I was completely healed; a “new me,” instantly ready to step up to the track and run a PR without every looking back–it doesn’t work like that. The scars are still there, as is the pain, now-and-then. While I don’t believe its good to waste time living in the past, I believe its important to spend time examining what you’ve gone through, learning from it, accepting it, and then moving forward.
My goal for 2016 remains the same as it was four years ago: to represent the USA at the Olympics in Rio. The process of reaching my goal is what has changed. Because of all of the setbacks I faced in 2015 I have a longer road ahead to Rio than I might have expected. I still have a lot of strength, fitness and racing to catch up on. If I wanted to, it would be easy to make excuses and give up on my goal. If I wanted, I could sit around wishing I was one of those other women who’ve been healthy, strong and winning races throughout all of 2015. But then I think back to St. Francis De Sales’ quote, “Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and be that perfectly.”
To be a better version of myself this year doesn’t mean forgetting who I am and that I survived a year of sweat, tears, and surgery. It means being grateful for that, yes, grateful that I endured tough circumstances and that these experiences will only make me tougher. In order to be the best version of ourselves we also have to learn to draw from our past experiences, good or bad, and apply them to future decisions and challenges. I’ve learned a lot about myself this past year by going through the ups and downs, the long hours of cross-training, rehab, and even months of complete rest from running. By taking my longest-ever break from running I’ve been able to go back to the basics by perfecting my form, muscle firing patterns, weaknesses, and imbalances.
Instead of dwelling on “what could have been,” my resolution is to carry my new-gained perspective, perseverance, and patience into the new, Olympic year. I want to take things one day at a time, and not wish to be anything but what God created me to be, but to be a better version of that person every day.