The importance of setting goals

I know I have been MIA for a few days but I had some thoughts I wanted to share tonight, and I will get back with a new post tomorrow as well. For those of you who have been following my posts for th past few weeks have undoubtedly seen my “weekly training summary” pop up a couple of times. This is where I like to share a few stats of the trips I am taking, thoughts about my training and my goals for the week.

For tonight’s post I want to focus on the importance of the goals section. In order to achieve anything you need goals. It is no secret that setting these goals brings to life the personal challenges. What I am finding almost more important than just setting goals is to write them down, and making them public. I can easily make myself a bunch of goals in my head, never tell anyone, and then if I dont achieve them, only I know. If I put them on “paper” here, at the end of the week when I write my training summary, I have to go back to the goals of the week, and indicate if I reached them or not. It is not a place to make excuses, it is a place to reflect whether or not I was able to achieve what I set out to do for the week. Equally important is looking at them during the week for motivation and to see how I am measuring up to what I have set out to do.

So why is this important and why is it so relevant to me tonight? Thanks for asking! In my training summary for last week, here is one goal for this week: 1. Bike every day at least once per day. Let me tell you that I am running really tired this week and struggling to catch up on a bit of sleep so that my muscles adequately repair and that I can focus at work. This evening after work I had a meeting at 6pm. When I got home the last thing I felt like doing was going to the meeting then going cycling. Why, you ask again? Well it was a stormy afternoon and the weather network was posting winds of 33kmph from the west (I mainly bike west then return east) plus gusts of 55kmph. For a cyclist this is really significant, getting hit with gusts like that can grind you to an entire halt. So I see the forecast then I open my blog with my goals clearly written out, with goal #1 staring me in the face (side note I didnt bike this morning, I could NOT wake up). Just the thought of first entering “0” in my excel spreadsheet for the day made me feel like a failure, then the fact that I would have to report back at the end of the week that I didnt reach my goal was devastating. Had I not put that all in writing I could have easily skipped biking and thought nothing of it.

So after my meeting I got my ass in gear and was out on 2 wheels within 10 minutes of getting home. Was it a hard ride? Yes. Did I have a great time? Hell yes. I used the wind as an opportunity, and I swear I pushed myself to the limit going into the wind trying to maintain speeds of at least 22kmph, and at times I was 2-4 km faster. When I got to the end of the circuit and turned back east I was so rewarded. I got a gorgeous sunset warming my back, and the wind pushed me with all it’s might all the way back toward home. I posted speeds of 30-33kmph consistently on the way home.

I had such an awesome ride that as I approached the turn-off to go back home, what did I do? I blew right past it (pun intended) and tacked on another 6.5 km loop out toward the old port and back. I felt strong, energized and pleased that I kept my goal of biking 7/7 days alive, but I also took a small bite out of my goal for the year (5000km) and my goal for the week (200km).

This one is for all of my CRLT friends / alumni / peers / professors… SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Thanks again for reading and I hope that you can find motivation from my story tonight to help you achieve your goals. Until tomorrow where I think I will tackle the subject of cycling etiquette, I wish you happy and safe cycling. There is nothing to compare with the feeling of freedom and contentment you get from cycling.

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