Hard as it is to believe, January is right around the corner. Soon we will be focusing on our resolutions for the new year. As you sip on your champagne and think towards the year ahead, I encourage you to consider adding a cycling goal to your resolutions. Perhaps that hundred you’ve always wanted to pursue is on the horizon. Or maybe you just want to begin cycling to work. Whether your resolution is lofty or tame, a cycling resolution can result in a fitter, happier you!
The trick to setting good goals is to find goals that stretch you without being unachievable. They should be measurable and, better yet, trackable. I find I achieve my goals when I work towards a reward. Perhaps you work well with intrinsic rewards, and just achieving your goal is enough to keep you motivated. But if you, like me, require a tangible reward, find one that encourages your participation in the sport. Perhaps you have been wanting a professional bike fitting. Maybe you want some new gear, or even a new bike. You might just want to set aside a weekend to devote to cycling – with no other distractions. Find what motivates you and create your ideal reward.
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When we set goals, sometimes we focus on grand desires that might not be attainable. For example, maybe you set a goal to ride your bike every day for a year. If you ride nearly every day already this may be realistic, but if you haven’t been on your bike in months, this is probably a stretch. Choose a goal that is feasible and realistic. If it’s too lofty, it will be easy to throw in the towel come February (or even January 5th). If you have a goal in mind but are concerned it might be too much, scale it back some. Maybe you want to ride to work 15 days a month, but you are concerned because you live in an area prone to bad weather. Perhaps commit to riding your bike 10 days a month instead.
Of course, easing up on your goals should be handled with care. Do not make your goals so easy to achieve that they won’t be a challenge. The purpose of creating goals is to stretch yourself. When setting goals, I like to consider my facial expressions. If thinking about the goal makes my eyes bulge, it may be too difficult. If it makes me raise an eyebrow in consideration, that’s the goal for me! Create goals that will challenge but not exceed your limits. Whether your goals are related to cycling, fitness, or any other area of your life, you want to push yourself and strive to do your best.
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The best goals are measurable. Do you love tracking data? Even if you are not a big numbers person, it’s good to have goals that are measurable. If you are striving for a 100-mile ride, you have set a great, measurable goal. As you work towards 100 miles, you can keep track of your increasing distances. Perhaps you want to ride a certain number of miles in a year or bike to work at least fifty percent of the time. If you can measure your goals, you can follow along as you work to achieve them. If it’s June and you are halfway towards meeting your goal, fantastic! If you are only 30 percent of the way there, it’s time to reassess your efforts.
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Measurable goals allow you to set objectives along the way. Good goals can be broken down into objectives. Think of objectives as baby steps towards reaching your goal. Consider your present level of performance. Where do you stand? If you are going for a 100, what is the longest ride you have completed in the past year? If you are striving to bike to work, how many times a month do you presently bike to work? Write down your goal and your present level of performance, then create three or four objectives that you can meet along the way. These objectives should, again, be achievable and easy to track. Set dates you would like to achieve each objective. Perhaps you want to achieve your first objective by April 1st (to allow for some extra time off the bike due to winter weather). You might set a second objective for July 1st and a third for September 1st. The idea is to break a large goal into easier-to-achieve mini-goals. Each time you hit an objective, you will be filled with pride as you find yourself one step closer to reaching your goal.
As you feast on holiday meals with friends and family, take a moment to think about how you can improve yourself. You will thank yourself a year from now when you are fitter, healthier, and happier!
At Kass & Moses, we urge you to enjoy the season with your loved ones. Ride safely and use a helmet and proper gear. As you push towards achieving your goal, exercise caution on the roads. Distracted drivers are abundant, and bicycle crashes are far too common. If you have been involved in a bicycle crash, call upon our team of experienced bicycle crash lawyers for help with your case!
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