2018 #goals.

2017 was a rough one guys. I ended a 4-year-long relationship, faced medical and personal challenges, blew out my knee and had a horrible time in my second 26.2, was unhappy and stressed to the extreme in my professional life and struggled to be okay with who I am. But here’s the good news: I came out on top. And after dealing with what was potentially the worst year of my 26-year-old life, I’m bound and determined to make 2018 my best year. How will I do it? I'm starting with these 12 goals to guide me, which I have so conveniently doodle-lettered into my planner to help remind me of my 2018 intentions.


1. Run TWO full marathons (Cleveland in May and Chicago in October). I’ve wanted to run two full marathons in one year for a while now but something always went wrong in training: I got hurt or couldn't balance training with work or there was some personal catastrophe that prevented me from fully committing to training. Not this year. I’m already registered for both Cleveland and Chicago and am bound and determine to do everything in my power to make sure nothing goes wrong this year. I have the honor of participating in the Cleveland Marathon as a Race Ambassador this year and am very excited to run this marathon for the third time, through my favorite city and my home. Chicago will be my first marathon that’s not Cleveland, which is pretty damn exciting as well. I'll be running both races to raise funds for Bright Pink, but more on that later. (Click here if you want to donate.)

2. Eat Healthy. This is one of those things I put on my goal list every single year but I’m very determined to switch my perspective from dieting to just living a healthier more balanced lifestyle when it comes to eating this year. I’m not going to do anything crazy but I’m hoping to cut the bulk of processed food out of my diet and might experiment with counting macros this year. I’d also like to limit my dairy and gluten intake a bit more. I’m hoping that by switching my nutrition (and by focusing more on strength training), I’ll be less likely to get an injury while training this year. 

3. Raise $10K for Bright Pink. Most of you know that I’ve made it my goal to to raise $30,000 for cancer organizations by the time I’m 30. I’m hoping to knock a big hunk of that $30K out in 2018 by raising $10K for Bright Pink. I chose Bright Pink again this year because of the lack of focus I had to fundraising in 2017 and because I thought running the Chicago marathon for a nonprofit with such a strong presence in Chicago would be really cool. Not to mention, I whole heartedly love the work this organization does for young women. They’re literally saving lives by teaching preventative measures and how to be proactive with breast and ovarian health. My fundraising page is up and running and I'm officially collecting donations! Donate to my page now.

4.  Go on adventures with Lace. For those of you who don’t know, Lace is my relatively new adopted pup (her "gotcha day" is September 17th) and a big part of why 2017 started to turn around for the better for me. I’ve been wanting to get her out more in Cleveland and maybe go on a few weekend trips with her. I’m hoping to include her in some of my shorter runs too. She’s become quite the little running dog. There are many adventures in store for this white, deaf rescue pup.

5. Spend more time with family. Family is extremely important to me, and over the last few years, I’ve taken the time I have with them for granted. So in 2018, I’m hoping to spend much more time at home with my immediate family and make more of an effort to see my extended family. 

6. Have more confidence. I’ve been dealing with this issue since I was a kid. Being a fat kid who has older brothers who are good at everything tends to have that effect on you. But I’ve had a lot of eye opening experiences this year and I’ve come to learn that I’m good at a lot of things and I should be more confident in those things. 

7. Draw more. I’m really hoping to get some more commission work this years to pay off some of my credit cards and that means I need to be creating more.  I’ve fallen in a big rut the last few years and I really need to get out of it. Drawing - even doodling these goals into lettering - makes me happier and I know I’ll be a much better version of myself if I commit to creating more.

8. Try new things. I don’t want to be afraid of living anymore. So when someone asks do you want to try this or if there’s something new to do in Cleveland, this year, I’m going to do it. 

9. Write. Like drawing, writing is one of those things that always falls off the priority list but that makes me better mentally. I’m planning on blogging and journaling a lot more in 2018. 

10. Reach 1,000 followers on Instagram. I made this same goal last year but again, my personal account fell off of my priority list. I’m hoping this year my combination of running, drawing, and lifestyle posts will help inspire more people in 2018.

11. Spend more time outside. My hometown has the most beautiful Metroparks and I don’t take advantage of them nearly enough. I’m the kind of person that actually enjoys dreadmill running and need to make my outside runs much more frequent. I also hope to go on some sort of camping trip or outdoor mini-vacation in 2018.

12. Be okay with who I am. Last but definitely not least (and probably the hardest for me to commit to) I’d like to work on being okay with who I am on 2018. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I’m very hard on myself and lack confidence in even the things I know I’m good at. I think part of this will come with me committing to these other goals but I definitely want to make an effort to change my mindset and be more positive about the person I am.  


I’m hoping 2018 will be a big year for me and I can’t wait to see what else it has in store for me. More to come & miles to go.


Leah Backo