by Michael Mills


Every year about this time, you here the talk of New Year Resolutions. You see gym memberships increase and you see all sorts of advertisements about the same thing.  Then, before too much time passes,  you see everything dwindle away. You see the gym go back down to the normal crowd, you see less and less advertisements as time goes, and everything goes back to “normal.” I started to look into this and saw that many make unrealistic goals instead of making small goals instead. I have always felt that if you start small it grows into something bigger.

Every year when I set goals/resolutions, I use these 9 simple steps in setting and achieving my goals. I would like to share these with you as they are great tools in creating and reaching your desired goals. 1. Focus on one resolution, rather several. 2.Set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal. Losing 10 pounds in 90 days would be. 3. Don’t wait till New Year’s eve to make resolutions. Make it a year long process, every day. 4.Take small steps. Many people quit because the goal is too big requiring too big a step all at once. 5. Have an accountability buddy, someone close to you that you have to report to. 6.Celebrate your success between milestones. Don’t wait the goal to be finally completed. 7.Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits. 8.Focus on the present. What’s the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal? 9.Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future.

I was thinking the other day about 2012, and how my goals played an important role in my fitness and my life. I started my racing season in 2012 with my Resolutions/Goals laid out in front of me. I had a coach and I was determined to come back on the racing scene with a vengeance.  My goal was not to destroy the competition, but to destroy the previous year’s results. Without making that resolution in December of 2011, I knew I would not be able to set a goal and chase it. With the resolution in mind, I set out to achieve much more than I have had in some time. I had planned out my events and I had planned out my goals. My first race of the year was with a brand new racing chair just built by Xcalibur Sports Chairs out of Madison, GA. I knew that it would help me go faster as it was lighter and well built. But without the training, I knew I would not achieve those goals I had set out for myself. From my first Race of the year in February all the way to my last race in October, not only did I reach my goals for every event, I surpassed each and every one of them. My first race of the year, I was 6 minutes faster than the previous and then my last race , I was 13 minutes faster than the year before. So, as I look back on my year, I am proud to say I have stuck to my goals and not only did I achieve them, I surpassed them and they would have not happened unless I set out a goal and a Resolution.

Now that it is 2013, I have new goals set. Not only will I have the same goal of beating my times from the previous year, I also will add my obstacle course racing goals to the mix. Since I started my journey to achieve Spartan Glory and crossing the finish line with TEAM PUSHHARDER on March 9th, 2013 I knew there would be obstacles that would test my abilities and test me mentally as well. So, I have to plan my resolutions and my goals accordingly. So I thought I would share some goals and some resolutions with you and I have a few in the back pocket that I will not share as these goals are some really awesome ones that you will see in the near future.

So, let’s start with my first goal/obstacle of the new year. Rope Climbs…. I am already able to climb ropes but am I able to climb ropes while being exhausted from crawling 3 miles? Will I be able to grip that rope when I am soaking wet and muddy? These are the things that run through my mind and that is why I am setting a goal before March 9th, to be able to climb a rope soaking wet and muddy and being completely exhausted. My second goal/obstacle is the Wall. The wall is something I am sure will be a very difficult obstacle to climb over. With that being said, the wall is the one thing I do know that TEAM PUSHHARDER will help me overcome. I do know that I have to build strength once I can reach the top to pull myself up and over and that is where my next goal comes into play. I have to build that strength to do so. So, I am in the process of building my own makeshift wall at home to climb and traverse over. My third goal/obstacle is the nets. I have to be able to climb and hold onto the nets to get over them. So, again upper body strength plays a big role in my training. Then my last goal/obstacle which is going to be my most challenging goal yet, will be as many has asked me how am I going to cross the fire if any? Well, that has been my biggest one yet that I have not figured out a way through. Not to say I won’t figure out a way as I always do, but I can tell you this, the fire jump will be my biggest obstacle.. I will find a way over and through it. you can bet on that. I also happen to have the opportunity to be near some amazing Spartans, Andi Hardy, Steve Power and Stacy Shuler. I have plans to train with these awesome people in the coming months and will be able to learn from all three of them on training and reaching my goals for my first Spartan Race.

The old saying goes. IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL! I think so many people just go out and not set goals, resolutions or whatever you may call it but if you don’t plan you are destined to fail. In the last few months, I have had people question my ability, my efforts or even wonder why I chose something as hard as a Spartan Race to break into the Obstacle Course Racing World. I simply told them, “YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PLAN! YOU HAVE TO HAVE GOALS, YOU HAVE TO GO AFTER WHAT OTHERS THINK IS IMPOSSIBLE!” For myself, I see everything as a possibility. Never as an impossibility. So, if you are reading this and are questioning if you can do a Spartan Race for 2013. Don’t question it, Set it as a goal. Set it as a resolution, you are going to train hard, work hard and prepare for Glory just like many of us are already doing.

[Editor's Note: Michael Mills  is a T12 paraplegic, the victim of a head on collision with a drunk driver in 1993 and though he’s been tackling wheelchair racing since 1996, competing in over 160 road and track races in the twelve years since, even representing the United States three separate times, he saw the Spartan Race series and realized it was the next challenge he wanted.  He'll be doing the Georgia Spartan Sprint on 3/9/13.  Want to stay tuned in to Michael’s journey? He’ll be regularly posting his story and training on our blog in a series we’ll be calling “Chasing Michael Mills.” Follow his Facebook page. Want to support his cause? Check out Spartan Sprint for Berts Big Adventure | Michael Mills’ Fundraiser on CrowdRise. ]



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