Several lives changed drastically yesterday. Hubby and I put our youngest son on the airplane that would take him off to college. It's not just any college, mind you. It is one of the most prestigious schools in the nation: a US military academy. Ever since this little fella was old enough to draw, he sketched out military pictures. When he was 4 years old he declared that he was going to be a General some day. He played with little green army men until he was about 10. While in the 5th grade he announced that he wanted to go to the Air Force Academy. We went to the USAFA website and began taking notes of how to make that happen. Step by step, year by year, he put feet to his dream of a military career. He starts Basic Cadet Training today!
What does this have to do with cycling? Absolutely nothing. Or does it? This is a great example of how to dream a little, put the necessary time in and hit the appropriate milestones to see it to fruition. Perhaps you have other goals that are not cyling-related; the tips below can help you parent better, study with purpose or be a more productive employee.
In the case of cycling or another sport, just what is it you want to do? Win a race? Be the fastest in the club? Simply complete an endurance event? Do you want to go Pro? Do you have goals for your cycling at all? If not, then perhaps a little thinking time and a note pad are needed to get started.
"Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement."
Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog
As a personal trainer, I try and teach my clients that without goals we are simply treading water. We are going nowhere but we are staying afloat. I want more than that for my clients and for myself!
While this is not an exhaustive list of how to set goals, it is a good start.
- Pick a goal. Want it enough to chase it.
- Decide whether it is attainable or not.
- Don't talk yourself out of it just because it 'sounds crazy'. It's not supposed to be easy!
- Be honest with yourself. How much time and energy do you have to dedicate to this goal?
- Either commit to it or lower the bar a couple of inches if it is too lofty of a goal.
- Get busy working towards it. Here's how:
Get Some Accountability
It will be helpful to either have someone do it with you or at least to report to and encourage you when you may not "feel" like doing the necessary part that day or week.
Set Daily Goals
This will help keep you on target; just remember not to go overboard. Perhaps your goal of the day is to rest & recover. That is crucial to your success. Your confidence will be build each time you attain your little goals.
Set Weekly Goals
Log your mileage and keep a journal of your training. This will help in many ways and can be a real motivator on the days you need to either push harder or let up a little. Are you getting behind? Are your goals realistic? Perhaps it is time to do a little tweaking; just do not abandon your mission. Your confidence will grow -or shrink- as your training habits turn from days to weeks.
Set Monthly Goals
Make these measurable. For example: Goal= to ride 500 miles this month. Use your weekly goals to keep you on target to be successful. Don't beat yourself up if you miss it one month; just keep your eye on the main goal / event and push yourself to do better next time.
Set Short Term Goals (4-6 months)
Find a local race or special ride to join. For example, a local cycling club in my area puts on a 200K ride almost every month. Active.com can show you where events are in your area. Too dull? Then look in neighboring states to see what they may have to offer you that will break up the monotony of training. There is a plethora of events to choose. Just do it!
Set a Long Term Goal (1 year or more)
Where do you want to be a year from now? Five years from now? Do your newly defined goals point you in that direction? Oftentimes I find it easier to start goal-setting from this point and go backwards.
If an 18 year old high-school graduate can make his dream come true, what is stopping you from making yours come true? Implement these tips and see where it takes you. Remember that goals are just steps along the path to success. You may take some mis-steps. If that happens, simply realign with your main goal and keep moving forward! Commitment to the end result partnered with a well thought out and executed plan will get you where you want to go. Why not start now?