Race Director’s Corner – Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals


“You say you want a resolution, well, you know, we all want to change the world.” Okay, apologies to John and Paul, but January is always the time for folks to make world-changing, or at least life-changing, resolutions.   The new year brings diets, new exercise plans and other resolutions ranging from the practical to the cute to the downright hilarious.

Here’s a bit of a twist on the whole resolution concept. A resolution is defined as “a formal expression of intention.” But, it’s also defined as “the resulting state,” or the way things end up, as in, the resolution of a story. So, a resolution is not only what you plan to do, it’s also the result.   Meaning,, “I plan to train hard and run leg six of the American Odyssey Relay” is a resolution. And, the resolution of that resolution is that you will get a beer glass and bragging rights all year long! And, “I plan to overlook my friends’ many annoying habits and register a team again this year for the American Odyssey Relay” is a resolution. And, the resolution of that resolution is that you will again have a blast participating in the American Odyssey Relay and you will again allow your friends to take advantage of your good nature and organizational abilities!

Resolutions can lead to great resolutions, but they can lead to disappointment too. What if you only partly achieve your resolution? Or don’t achieve it at all? I don’t pretend to be an expert on this stuff, but, I’ve had more experience than most of you in making resolutions. Before you start to dispute that, keep in mind that I’m older than I look! One of the things I’ve learned is that resolutions are best made and followed when they have specifics in them. When they are easily measurable. Of course, my top resolution for 2016—they aren’t like birthday wishes, you can divulge them—is to be more patient.   What do you think? Pretty easy to measure that, right??? Like my parents always said, “do as I say, not as I do.”

For my two cents, someone wanting to lose weight is better off picking a specific amount to lose and aiming for that. I know, I know, you can say you want to lose 25 pounds, lose 20 and feel like you didn’t make your goal. The alternative might be just to say you want to lose weight and when you lose 20 pounds, you are a success. Ah, somehow, I don’t think it works like that very often. I think it’s more likely that someone who says his/her resolution is “to lose weight” will give up in that pursuit earlier than someone who chooses a specific amount to lose. Or, even if they don’t give up, they may coast a bit. “Yeah, I’m off seven pounds, baby, I’m losing weight! I made my goal! Pass that pitcher of beer, at least it’s a pitcher of Lite!”

I guess the whole thing boils down to accountability, right? To whom are we accountable when we make a resolution? Well, ourselves first and foremost, of course. After that, it’s up to you. Set a specific resolution and let your friends, running partners and American Odyssey Relay teammates know and they will certainly help you remain accountable! But, set a wishy-washy goal (like be ‘more patient!’) and keep it mostly to yourself and you’re on your own.

Final point. How do you come up with the goal/resolution? What is reasonable? I am partial to BHAGs. Defined by business writer Jim Collins as “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals!” For me, “I want to run leg 6 and not stop at all,” would be a BHAG. Yes, I just admitted right here in the blogosphere, that I’ve never run leg six the entire way. But, we’re getting off track here. This isn’t about me, it’s about you. And, your American Odyssey Relay 2016 resolutions. (Yes, I’ve finally gotten to the point of this post.) I’m done philosophizing. Now, I will hand the slap band over to you, our runners and volunteers. What are your American Odyssey Relay resolutions for 2016? Will you captain your first team? Will you resolve to have more patience with your teammates at 2 AM? The author of the top comment –chosen by us — will receive a vintage American Odyssey Relay back pack, so bring it on!

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Comments 5

  1. Year 8–you would think I would have the checklist ready to go, the go-boxes packed, and everything would be easy….ha ha ha…yea, I laugh at that too…so this year, I really resolve to be more prepared and email out information to the team more than 2 days before we start running, keep copies of the lists that we use and not assume that they will magically show up next year, and then NOT lose the list in the van 2 minutes after we get into the van to start driving….Whew–all that being said–I RESOLVE TO GET ORGANIZED! (and if all that fails, I’ll just run Leg 6 without stopping more than 2 times….)

  2. I would love to feel confident enough to run leg 6 if my team needed me to! Gaining that confidence means hill training and lots of it! The beer glass is nice, but it’s not about that since I don’t even drink beer. I just like to know that I can do hard things when called upon to do so!

  3. I resolve to try and run something other than the easiet leg. That may mean nothing to you, but for me, that’s a BHAG. Also, I resolve to start running today, or this week, or soon, since starting the month before doesn’t work. Again, nothing for you but a BHAG for me 🙂

  4. I will be the mama bear to several other teams this year! We’ve already had three spinoff teams, so I can only hope for more. They come to me for help and guidance, and since some of my baby teams have been running it on their own for a few years now, I expect them to be mama & papa bears to some new teams, too!

  5. My resolution is to train everyone on our teams how to recruit and manage their own team. I would have resolved to start recruiting sooner, and making the necessary reservations sooner, and collecting deposits sooner, and getting everyone to commit to one of the relay responsibilities sooner, and preparing the printed materials sooner, and lining up photographers in each van sooner and instructing them on how to take a more interesting picture than someone running on a road, and writing down which EZ-Pass belongs to whom and is in which van, and thanking AOR staff at the end for making it possible to experience another spectacular relay adventure despite all our logistical oversights and missed deadlines, and getting suggestions from our runners on how to improve the relay for next year, and sending a thank you to some of the best VTAs. But that would mean breaking too many resolutions before it’s even Valentine’s Day. So it will be much easier (and still Big, Hair, and Audacious) to train everyone to have their own team – not because I actually want them to have their own team, but because then they’ll know how to help with those other challenging goals. And I resolve to get that all done by the end of January 2016… Oh. I guess I’ll extend my deadline.

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