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Set yourself up….for success!

By: Heather Nielson

Showing up is half of winning. Preparation is key to success. Setting goals before hand give you a clear focus and direction. Still not convinced? So many times we focus on just ‘the doing’ whatever ‘thing’ you want to be better at; and granted, ‘doing the thing’, practicing, logging hours, clocking in, etc is certainly a huge portion of getting closer to your ultimate goal.

The logistics, preparation and planning can be just as important and if you don’t get those things right, your lack of preparation can cost you valuable steps towards your goal as much as a simple lack of fitness from just not ‘doing the thing’ of riding your bike.

I could talk about any goal generally but since Cycle University is about helping you reach your cycling related goals, I’ll talk specifically about cycling.

Let’s say your main goal for 2016 is to become a better climber. That is a very common goal. The main ‘thing’ you can do is go out and climb to become a better climber, but what does that mean exactly? Does that mean go hard climbing every single day you can and see if you can beat your previous time and if you didn’t you’re failing? Absolutely not.

The preparation in reaching a goal like climbing better starts with a specific goal like “I want to climb Hurricane Ridge in under X minutes, besting my previous time of X”. If you have a coach or have been working with power for awhile, you should be able to break that down into how many more watts you need to be able to produce over a given period of time to reach that goal. Now break that down into steps from where you’re at now to where you need to be. Perhaps your time line is realistic, perhaps it’s not’; adjust if you need to! If you’re not realistic about time lines than you’re setting yourself up for failure.

The next step comes down to breaking down those steps into perhaps monthly/quarterly fitness goals. How much time will you need to train? Can you realistically put in that kind of time? Again, if you can’t, change your timeline. After that comes the logistics. What are your resources? What do you need versus what do you have? Make a checklist: Indoor cycling, commuting, a coach, a training partner, on-line articles, a power meter, a new bike fit, a new bike, etc. Be realistic about time frames, cost etc for obtaining the resources you feel you need, then adjust again!

Lastly comes the day to day routine. What do you need to make sure you hit your goals everyday? Do you need to change your routine a little? Allow for commuting time? More gear, bike parts, fuel, bike lights, etc. If you’re not realistic about what you need versus what you have then you’re setting yourself up for failure.

The common themes to setting yourself up for success are setting specific goals, setting realistic time frames and making lists of resources that you need versus what you already have. Prevent failure by now by not being in denial or not being specific enough; all of which can all lead to self-sabotage.

It’s not just about how many watts you can produce, it’s about all the details, steps and resources to help you produce them!