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Here Is to The New Beginnings!

Magdalena Romanska

Magdalena Romanska

Happy New Year!

Each New Year brings up a reflection about starting anew.

We decide to finally visit with Grandma this year. Or go to Arkansas. Or both. Maybe to take a plane for the first time and, of course, lose weight, tone up, become healthier, meditate for 15 minutes a day, and abandon excessive alcohol consumption. No brainer!

Generally, all of the above sounds like good and cool intentions (especially visiting the Grandma).

However, all beginnings can be freakishly scary. Why? Because when starting or executing something new, we don’t feel that we have the usual control over the things to happen.

Also, starting anything comes with the pre-set concern about the potential failure.

What if Grandma has enough of us and got bored in our absence and got herself a new BF, who is not our type? Or what if she stopped caring to see us because we tend to show up when we need something (such as cash for the new car)? Scary!

What if we set our mind on running the first 5K this year? And we follow the mini-steps leading to that goal. But on the race day in mid-May, we have a flu and cannot even think of going there? Total failure and totally scary, right?

Well, not necessarily.

You are already extremely brave to set your mind on that Jan. 1 challenge, whatever the change/goal is. Then, you are taking small steps towards your goal – such as, walking for those 5K at first. Then, jogging a part of the distance. Then, jogging/running most of it. You tell your family and friends what your new goal is and what you are doing to get there. That makes you more accountable. But sharing the news is very scary, too. Family and friends might judge our choice of the goal/our way of “getting there.” They might ask: “What if you won’t achieve all this?” And even if they don’t judge, we have that fear deep inside that they might.

What happens, for example, if you train for your race, show up and, for some reason, do not finish?

This is exactly the story behind one of my ultramarathon Sky Races a few years ago. Back then, I used to race almost every weekend, and I was always finishing the competition. That crispy autumn day, I started my 50 Miler of the ups and downs (somehow mostly the “ups” - the Sky Races series is named this way for a reason!). All went well until about eight miles from the end, when my right hamstring went on strike. Later on, I had less than one mile to finish in style and get my bragging rights, but after enduring the hammie shut down for a while, and after reflecting about the possible long-term injury in case I push through, I decided to stop and withdraw from the event. It was my first DNF (Did Not Finish). Moments before declaring my DNF to the officials, I had felt I would have been feeling like a total loser. To my surprise, I did not. They were very understanding and even offered the medical tent. Immediately, I started feeling… proud! Yes, I was proud of myself! I knew it would have been stupid of me to continue. I was in great shape, training daily, racing a lot, and this was my first DNF. (Since then, I have had two more DNFs at some 100K long ultras).

My final thought about that was, hey, it is already a win to show up at that starting lane!

So, no matter how freaking scary our NY Resolutions might sound, go for them! Nobody will truly care enough to judge you and by starting the process, you are already winning it!

Magdalena Romanska, Ph.D., is a certified wellness coach and fitness specialist. To contact Romanska or to visit her blog, visit

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