In the craziness of the holiday season, it’s easy to go into auto-pilot mode to get through to the end of December. However, no matter how you feel about the season, it’s a great time to reflect of the past year, and set some goals for the next one.
New Year’s resolutions are all well and good, but they are often tied to the close of the holiday season. For most of us, our resolutions will lay forgotten on the sidelines by mid-March. So, how do we set goals that will last through 2018?
Make plans, not resolutions
The most common issue with resolutions is they are broad goals. Wanting to lose weight, be more positive, or spend less money are all great goals, but they will remain out of reach until you have a game plan as to how to get there.
When it comes to cycling, what do you want from yourself this year? Make a list of things, both large and small, that you want to achieve. Then go through and get specific. If you want to ride more, great, now define what that looks like. Be realistic and honest with yourself, and only plan for what you know you can logistically fit into your life and schedule.
Expect set backs
You may fired up right now, fuelled by the amount of Christmas cookies making their way through your system, but that will fade. Not only will the fire under your butt lessen, but life is going to get in the way. You’re going to get sick, you’re going to get busy, and you’re going to miss a few rides. It’s all good. Rest is actually just as important as training, so when something is keeping you from getting out on your bike, make the most of it.
Looking for a place to start?
Commute to Work
Commuting to work is an easy way to get in some miles. You’re going to have to spend that time in transit anyways, and although it may take a little longer than it would in a car, it can have a huge impact.
Go on group rides
One of the greatest thing about cycling is the community. If you don’t already ride with a group, find one! You don’t need to commit to every ride, even once a month is a great way to meet new people, get inspired, and push yourself a little harder than you would on your own.
Try something new
This can be anything from trying new routes to trying a different type of cycling altogether. If you’ve only ridden smooth paved road, try some single track or gravel roads and enjoy the quiet the comes with deserted roads. It’s easy to find routes you like, and then ride them over and over, but branching out will give you a fresh appreciation of your area. Even if you’ve lived in the same area your whole life, I guarantee that there are roads you’ve never even seen.
Pick a Distance
This goal is for you and you alone. What is a distance that you would like to ride? Forget about time for now, and start working up to it. Find a route, or map one out yourself, and then aim to complete it. Not all of us are motivated enough to do this one on our own, if that’s you, then see below.
Sign up for a cycling event or race
Once you’ve publicly (and financially) committed to something in the form of an event or a race, you’re a lot less likely to drop out. It really is one of the most effective forms of accountability. So, look for races in your area and commit! Even if you’re nowhere near ready right now, once you sign up you’ll have no choice but to get started.
Try a multi-day or overnight tour
Whether you pack up your panniers with camping gear or book into a hotel, an overnight bike tour is an awesome way to get in some destination rides. Even if it’s just cycling to the next town over, having a destination makes the ride a lot of fun, and you can treat it like a weekend getaway.
Travel with your bike
Consider taking your bike on your next holiday, or planning your trip around rides you want to do. Cycling is a great way to explore new areas, and you’ll be able to enjoy those evening beers guilt-free.