7 Tricks to Help You Stay on Track and Achieve Your Goals
So, you set yourself up for success this year with thoughtful reflection, wrote down some big goals, and started the process by setting up smaller process goals to help you get there. Awesome! But even with the best plans and intentions, you can still find yourself losing sight of your goals. Don’t let your big dreams get derailed, follow these tips.
1. Find and remember your 'why'
Whether you're an Olympic athlete or a busy mom who's carving out a few hours each week to ride her bike, the time you're spending pedaling is about so much more than just that ride. That workout allows you to show up for your friends, your family, your kids, your clients—it makes you a happier, healthier person who's capable of doing anything, whether it's climbing a mountain or delivering an amazing presentation at work.
2. Take your training seriously
Refer to your weekly excersize goals for what they are: training sessions. Using the term "training" instead of "exercise" or "workout" not only feels more badass, it implies that you have a plan in place and are working towards a specific goal. It might help others to take your goals more seriously—and it might remind you to take your goals more seriously! (This is also why, if you do have big goals in cycling, a first step might be to find a training plan that includes workouts tailored to help you reach those goals in the most efficient, effective way possible.)
3. Use positive self-talk
Self-talk matters more than you might expect! Telling yourself you have to do a training session today might feel like a drag, but reminding yourself that you get to do a 90 minute ride today can shift your mood entirely. (Check out this podcast episode with sports psychology expert Alison Pope-Rhodius about the importance of self-talk at any level of athletics.)
4. Get started
Often, the "getting ready" is the hardest part of any training session. To make the process smoother, look at your current setup. Do you have one easy spot where all of your electronics (bike computer, lights, electronic shifting) gets charged? Do you have one space that stores your snacks, drink mix, water bottles, multi-tools and pumps? Are your jerseys and bibs easily accessible? Make it as easy as possible to get on the bike, to avoid getting stuck.
5. Be consistent
There's no secret interval session that will magically make you faster overnight: True progress comes from consistent training effort. If you're struggling to stick to your plan for more than a few days, though, it might be that you've taken on a too-ambitious training plan that doesn't fit your life right now, and you may need to adjust. The best plan for you isn't the one that maxes out your free time, it's the one that integrates into your life and makes you feel good, not overwhelmed.
6. Stick to a schedule
Setting aside specific chunks for training—and blocking that time on your calendar so no one else can book time with you during those session—makes you much more likely to show up and do the work. If you find yourself still procrastinating, make a list of chores that you hate, like scrubbing the bathroom floors. Make the deal with yourself that if you skip a training session, you can't spend it watching Netflix or scrolling social media, you need to use that blocked-off time to tackle those chores. Suddenly, the bike will look much more appealing.
7. Practice gratitude and reflect on your goals
After you do finish your ride or strength training session, take a few minutes to write down some comments about how it went. Add in a few things that you're grateful for, from good weather on your ride to tires that stayed inflated to the strong feeling in your legs during that final interval. Do this often, and you'll start being grateful for your ride before you're even out the door.
Also, regularly reflecting on your action plan—AKA your training—and how it's moving you towards your ambitious goals makes you much more likely to stick to your plan and actually reach those goals. There may be tweaks and adjustments you need to make, like adding a yoga session instead of an easy spin on Fridays to address those tight hips. Think of your training plan like a road map to your goal: You may hit some detours or roadblocks along the way, but you can always find another way to reach your destination. And make sure you're taking time to celebrate wins in your daily training, not just looking for ways to improve: Be proud of your discipline!
Molly Hurford is a journalist in love with all things cycling, running, nutrition and movement-related. When not outside, she’s writing about being outside and healthy habits of athletes and interviewing world-class athletes and scientists for The Consummate Athlete podcast and website. She also coaches running and cycling, as well as yoga both online and IRL in Collingwood, Ontario.