Why I overcommit to resolutions

Mountain trail

We’re about nine weeks (!) into 2022. Studies show that 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions will have given up on them by now. At first glance, it might look like I’m one of them. I made some ambitious goals, and I’m not on track to meet all of them. I don’t consider that failure. I used to, though. For most of my twenties, I gave up on my resolutions by Valentine’s Day💔. This was really discouraging. Every time I tried to improve myself, I ended up feeling like more of a failure. For a few years, I stopped trying altogether.

Then, when I was 25, I realized how unhappy I was. I didn’t feel professionally fulfilled or challenged, and it was affecting my confidence. I sat at a desk all day and needed something to get me out of the office and out of my head. So, I went for the classic office-worker physical challenge: the half marathon. I found a local trail race and signed up. I love hiking, so this seemed like a way to kill two birds with one stone: get back in shape and spend some time in nature. I figured once I had the date set—and the money down 💸—I would be motivated to train and stick with my goal.

Spoiler alert 🚨: That didn’t happen. I toed the starting line completely unprepared. Running 21 kilometers isn’t easy under any circumstances, but trail running requires even more strength, stability, and endurance to handle the terrain and altitude changes. I was in trouble and I knew it. I started the race with no expectations but simply with the goal to make it as far as I could. Throughout the race, everything that could go wrong did, and I finished as the organizers were loading up the vans. When I crossed the finish line, there technically wasn’t a line there anymore.

But, I did finish! Maybe it was grit. Maybe it was perseverance. Maybe I was just too stubborn to give up. Regardless, I felt amazing. I immediately signed up for another race—that’s how they get you! This time, it was a 70k race six months out.

“Okay,” I thought to myself. “I will definitely train for this one.”

And again, it didn’t happen 😣. I got to the starting line just as unprepared as I’d been for the half marathon, except this time I had more than triple the distance to go. But, I had the same goal: run as far as you can. I DNF’d (the runner acronym of shame for “Did Not Finish”) at 35k. Instead of feeling down on myself, though, I felt invigorated. I’d run farther than I’d ever run in my entire life. From then on, I was hooked.

Now, I’m an experienced trail runner with multiple 50ks and 100ks under my belt—and I train for them 💪! More than that, I’ve learned so much from running that has made me a better investor, son, brother, husband, father. I’ve learned discipline, how to be comfortable being uncomfortable, and how to push hard on a solitary effort. I’ve also integrated what I’ve learned about goal setting into my day-to-day life.

Go big. It may have seemed a little reckless to jump straight into trail ultramarathoning after a Half I barely finished. To me, though, having your reach exceed your grasp is a feature of goal setting, not a bug 🐞. Sure, I didn’t succeed in my first 70k, but I made it farther than I ever had before, which wouldn’t have happened if I’d set a more conservative goal.

Don’t be afraid of failure. Failure is part of progress. Accepting that upfront means that you won’t give up when it inevitably happens. My comfort with failure is why I’m not giving up on my goals even though I’m not exactly where I want to be on all of them. The year is long, and we’re only nine weeks in (already?!). You’ve only truly failed if you’ve given up💪.

Make accountability friends. Building a business or training for an ultra are typically solitary endeavors. Even when you have a training buddy or a co-founder, it helps to enlist the help of others to keep you moving forward. At 27V, the portfolio founders meet quarterly, as a group, to talk about goals: what’s going well, what could be better, and—most importantly—how others can support us. For my personal goals, I enlisted the #27Vfam and  my Twitter followers to keep me on track.

I still have a love-hate relationship with resolutions, but I can’t argue with what they’ve given me, so I stick with them. Below are my own resolutions for 2022 and how they’re going. If you want to check on my progress, follow me on Twitter @batraatin—and feel free to bug me if I’m behind on my updates. See, we’re accountability buddies now👯!

  • ⛰🏃‍♂️ Get back into ultras. 2021 was the worst year for me, training-wise, since I picked up the sport of ultra trail running  six years ago. My #1 goal is to get back into shape and train to stay sane. I always do better with race goals so I’d like to run a hundred miler before this year ends. Welcome all suggestions for races, big and small.
    • How it’s going: I’m not training as much as I’d like to. With a growing baby and Fund (pun intended ofc), my training runs are the first thing to get dropped from my day. But, as you know, I’ll be at that starting line no matter what—already identified a couple of contenders for the race to run!
  • 🏡👨‍🍼 Be a present husband and father. Last year, life changed forever for me and my wife. We’re learning to be parents (tough), re-learning to be partners (tougher), and unlearning to be at work 24×7 (toughest). I want to spend tons of time with my son and cultivate what I hope will be lifelong habits of reading and hiking/playing together. I just hope he 👶appreciates the proposed activities.
    • How it’s going: Really well! Being a parent is challenging and fulfilling in ways I’d never expected, but it’s such a joy. It’s still early, but it looks like he enjoys spending time with me as much as I do with him📖.
  • 🧑‍💻🏕 Grow the firm. 27V is now 23 portfolio companies and 48 founders, 50%+ deployed. But, it’s still only me! We have ambitious goals for 2022 as I build this franchise further. I’m working to structure the portfolio support function better and hire a few folks who can help scale the firm.
    • How it’s going: We’re still in the first couple of miles, but we’re on pace. This is something I’ve been training for for years, so let’s go! 🚀

Follow along on my resolution journey @batraatin.

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