Ready, Set, Goal!!!

I have learned through my years that I am a very goal-oriented person. But it took many of those years to learn how to make attainable, achievable and reasonable goals. So now I incorporate the holidays into my goals and make it a tradition to set one goal that is realistic every holiday season.

I grew up in a household that did not set goals. My father used to tell me “don’t make plans, because then you won’t be upset if they are broken.” He was a negative person, but he was jaded by the hard realistic life that was around us. Growing up below poverty level and struggling for everything we had, the children in my family never went without. My family was loving and caring, but times were tough.

It wasn’t until I was much older that someone talked to me about goals. I remember my first goal (I was 10) and said that I wanted to be an astronaut by the time I was 18! Ambition, yes…realistic, no. Especially since I failed physics, and math was not a friend of mine.

Fast forward a few years to 2011, and someone approached me in order to film me for a weight loss documentary. I never tried to lose weight before, but at 29 years old and 345 lbs heavy, I thought I would give it a shot. We had a goal to lose 100lbs and I did that in 3.5 months, so then I set the goal to lose 200lbs in one year. Got it!

Next year….what goal to make now??? Well I had six small credit card debts and wanted to pay them off before I finished my masters. I graduated with my masters in December of 2012 and had zero credit card debt. Hello student loan debt, though!

New year…new goal….and this one was scary. In 2013 I set out to run a marathon. I trained and attempted the Five Points of Life Marathon in February 2013. I trained hard…really hard….too hard to be honest. I trained up to 24 miles and got injured. I still set out that chilly morning to attempt the five points of life marathon and faced the painstaking defeat as I turned in at the halfway point and did not attain my goal. It felt like the worse thing in the world. But then I thought back to how my parents would struggle, working two to three jobs each and then was finally able to afford a vehicle, only to get into a car wreck the next week and total it. They dusted themselves off and got back at it. I had to do the same…I had all year to complete my goal, no need to get downhearted about not getting in February! I proudly crossed the finish line of my first marathon on October 27, 2013.

Being a goal-oriented person, I’m already thinking about next year. But in thinking about what goals to set, I always make sure to make them come from the heart; be ambitious, but honest; challenging but attainable; and always valuable to me and those around me. Happy Holidays and wishing you all the best for the New Year!

Tracy Ryan works as a Director of Catering at Paramount Plaza Hotel & Suites. She was also starred in the independent documentary Unsupersize Me, winner of 4 film festivals. She has lost 200lbs in one year through a plant-based, whole diet and a regular work out routine. She received her MBA with a specialization in Human Resource Management, but her heart has always been with food and beverage and especially event planning. In her free time she enjoys working out, running, and cooking for others.