I have enjoyed the past year, but I have a good feeling that this next year will be the best yet. A few things I have to look forward to are a business that will (hopefully) continue to gain traction; great skiing, climbing, running, etc in the mountain ranges of Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. . . especially Ogden; and most importantly, our first child will be born in March.
Each year at the new year I contemplate whether I wisely took advantage of the time I had in the previous year. This leads to memories of climbing trips, biking, skiing in incredible locales, beautiful runs in the mountains, etc. But the greatest memories are about the people that I spent time with while doing these activities.
I also use this time to set goals for personal progress for the coming year (as I know many other people do as well). In the past, my goals have often been selfish. Things like training and racing in a particular mountain marathon, training and completing a certain bike race within a certain time, climbing a particular grade of rock climb, or doing a winter ascent of a technical route on a mountain. These are all goals that push me to better myself in a certain way, but they are all selfish goals. Though I work hard to complete them and feel satisfaction when I reach the goal, that happiness is fleeting. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think these types of goals are bad. They serve their purpose by helping me achieve a higher level of personal performance than I would have otherwise attained. But when I look back at the most enjoyable times of the year, the highlights almost always include friends and family and have little to do with the initial goal.
I am writing this post more as a reminder for myself than for anybody else. I have been contemplating how having a child will change my life and what kind of a father and husband I would like to be. I have seen how some friends' and acquantances' good goals have gotten in the way of more important goals; how an obsession with mountains and exercise have strained a marriage and family relationships.
I am reminded of something I heard a few years ago. In a speech about priorities, the speaker said,
"We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best."
The principle is simple to understand, but harder to put into practice, especially when the good things are more fun than the better or best things. So, with all of this said, here is my resolution:
Do not let personal (selfish) goals compromise quality family time and activities.
A key to setting and achieving goals is to make them measurable and realistic. I don't think this resolution passes either of these tests. Without a little more clarification of what "quality family time and activities" and what "personal goals" are, it is hardly measurable. And to believe that going out and spending time in the mountains away from family will not negatively affect family time and activities is naive at best. So to achieve this goal to perfection is not likely. But, what I'm hoping this resolution will do is remind me to err on the side of family time and quality relationships, and not chase personal (selfish) goals that have little or no lasting value at their expense.
This does not mean I will stop playing in the mountains. This does not mean I will stop setting selfish personal goals that only benefit me. This hopefully means that I will remember the proper place for these goals: in the "Good" column, under the "Better" and the "Best" columns.