In the month of December, I’m writing five essays on my New Year’s Resolutions that I’m committing to for 2017. In addition to this final essay you an read the first essay “More Art,” the second essay “Do What I Said I Would… And More,” the third essay “Focus on Growth,” the fourth essay on “Giving Back.” I encourage you to join me in reflecting on your goals for the New Year!

In this last of five essays, I’m focusing on my 2017 Challenge Goal.

Lately, I’m all about stretch goals. I like having something big and huge in front of me that I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to accomplish (or if I can at all). I find this motivating, but I know not everyone does. For me, stretch goals mean that even if I don’t fully complete what I have in front of me, I’ll get a lot done in the process of trying.

This is why I wanted one of my New Year’s Resolution to be a stretch goal — and, ironically, it’s actually about stretching. Physically, I mean.

I live in my head a lot. Not only am I introverted and recharge through solitude, but I’m also a writer, which means that I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m writing and what I need to write next. The biggest challenge that this presents for me is that I find myself sitting a lot and I have to motivate myself to get up, move, stretch, and get out of my own head and into my physical body a bit more.

I’ve already set one goal this year to get back to my running habit and another to work toward 10k steps a day, but I’d also like to layer in one more thing — and I think it’s going to be really hard.

Here’s the deal: I have horrible posture.

Sitting posture, standing posture, driving posture, writing posture. You name it, I’m hunched over. My partner has taken to saying that I sit like a bean. I’ve also noticed it when pictures are taken of me when I present in front of groups. I’d like to appear to be as confident as what I feel when I’m up in front of a group — I know a big part of that is posture.

So, in 2017, I want to tackle this. I have some ideas for how, but I’d also love your suggestions. Some of my ideas include:

  • Yoga. I’ve done yoga before and really enjoyed it, but I’ve not been able to commit to a regular practice. I’m thinking signing up for a class might help, but I’m not sure if I will be able to make the time for that given my travel schedule and other commitments. There are a ton of great YouTube videos, including some 30-day challenges, so that might be the best option for me this year, especially when I’m traveling.
  • Stretching. I love stretching and I just don’t do it enough. I’d like to pair my stretching practice with listening to podcasts so that I’m motivated to stretch more and for longer periods of time. I also think that stretching more when I’m Netflixing or watching television could be a good idea. That said, this may not be an area where I always want to multitask — I feel like I should be able to take 5 minutes to stretch without having to distract myself.
  • Weight training. I’m pretty sure part of the reason I hunch is that my back and core muscles need strengthening. I’m thinking the yoga will help with this, but I’d also like to find some exercises to focus on those areas specifically.
  • Standing more. I have a standing desk at work, but I don’t use it as much as I would like. I think I’m going to commit to standing for certain activities (like checking and responding to email, or when I’m talking on the phone) or standing at certain times of the day (like for the first hour of the day and the first hour after lunch, etc.).
  • Running more. My running posture is a lot better than my walking or sitting posture since I focus a lot on putting my shoulders back when swinging my arms. I figure the more I run, the more practice I get with better poster, so it’s a win-win.

This goal is probably going to be the hardest for me to accomplish this year because it will take daily focus and it will be easy to fall back into my hunching habits. I know I’ll need all the help I can get, so I welcome your suggestions for how to make this challenge goal a reality.

Even though I know it will be hard, I’m looking forward to tackling my posture this year and hopefully seeing a difference in the coming months.

To think on:

  • Do stretch goes work for you? Why or why not?
  • What’s your 2017 Challenge Goal?