Your First Step in the New Year, if You Want to Go Big!
Whether you are a first-time triathlete, a new cyclist or you have a few seasons of racing under your belt, the New Year brings some challenges. Everyone seems to be making resolutions and setting goals for themselves. But, you don’t want to make promises to yourself that you can’t keep. It is best to take goal-setting step-by-step. Start here. And remember, you can set goals for yourself any time of the year. Every day is an opportunity.
As a triathlete, you probably fall into one of two categories:
- The Self-Motivated Athlete: You have been go-go-go training and racing since the moment you said: “I’m doing the (fill in the blank) triathlon, race or ride this year!”
- The Cautious, Aspiring Multi-Sport Maven: You are looking at the calendar for next year wondering which races to pick, how to get started, when is the right time to start, how to start, etc.
No matter what kind of athlete you are (aspiring or otherwise), everyone has to start somewhere. And, the place you need to start might not be where you are thinking. Nope, it’s not the gym. We’ll call this first step: “Let Your Goals Marinade.” This is goal planning, minus the work. Before you can plan your goals for the year, you need to set aside some time. Start with this:
1) Set a date with yourself for the next three days (or three consecutive days in a row) to go for a chill 30-minute walk.
2) Set a 1-hour date with yourself on day four and determine a location in your date: coffee shop, out in nature… alone under a desk—basically, somewhere you won’t be bothered.
It’s essential that you put these four dates on your calendar. Schedule them the same way you would schedule a workout. Stick with them. Think of them as important and essential to your success.
Go for a Walk with Yourself
For 3 days in a row, go for a walk by yourself. That’s right, just you. No cell phone. No friends (furry or otherwise). No music. No distractions. This isn’t an exercise walk, it’s a walking meditation. As you walk, take in your surroundings.
When you get about 15 minutes from your starting location, have a seat (park bench, sand on the beach, street curb, etc). Close your eyes, and for two minutes breathe in and out through your mouth so that you cannot hear your breath. Hear and feel life happening around you. Take it all in: the wind on your skin, the temperature of the air, the sounds of nature, people, cars… everything.
Then open your eyes, walk back to your starting spot and go about your day.
Although it may feel like nothing has happened, when you give yourself the freedom to step away from your everyday thoughts, you create space for magic to happen. You can compare these walking meditations to rest days while training. During intense training, muscles need to take a break to recover and rebuild so they can come back stronger. The same can be said about giving yourself time and space to set the best goals for YOU. By allowing your mind to become spacious, you can create the best vision for yourself in the New Year.
It is in the next step, your 1-hour date with yourself, where you actually form your goals for the coming year. Read on for Goal Setting Part 2: Visualizing and Goal Creation.