Whilst the thought of New Year's resolutions and goal setting may sound overrated, defining what you want to achieve is an extremely powerful process that will help you stay motivated and grow as an athlete and as a person.
Goals will help you work harder, be more focused, and overcome setbacks. If you’re still not convinced that you need to set goals for the New Year, continue reading as we explain the importance of goal setting and how to create achievable goals:
Why should you set goals?
- Goals provide focus - with family, work and technology vying for our attention, it’s sometimes challenging to know where to focus your time and resources. Goal-setting will help you to focus your attention on your priorities.
- Goals help you maintain motivation - goals encourage you to keep going. They enable you to see the bigger picture and give you motivation to take the steps to get there.
- Goals make you accountable - goals help you move from thought to action. Rather than talking about signing up for that sportive, it’s better to make the sportive concrete which means you’ll have to put together a training plan to ensure you get there.
- Goals help you become a better cyclist - they are designed to take you out of your comfort zone, push the boundaries of what you thought you could achieve.
- Goals give you clarity - creating and manifesting small goals can help you achieve a much larger life vision; for example, completing a local sportive could contribute to your vision of one day completing an Olympic distance triathlon or a multi-stage ride in the Alps.
How to set achievable goals
Now that you know the importance of setting goals, it’s time to commit and set yourself a goal for 2018. One popular method of goal-setting is ensuring every goal you set is SMART. The example below sets out how to create SMART goals:
Anthony, a keen cyclist who currently rides 25 miles 2-3 times per week has set the following goal “I want to ride 100 miles.”
Let’s check how Anthony’s goal measures up against the SMART scale:
S - is it specific? No, it doesn’t mention when, where or how he is planning to ride 100 miles.
M - is it measurable? Yes, it states 100 miles which is measurable and proof of whether he achieved the goal or not.
A - is it agreed? Anthony has agreed to this goal, but has he gained buy-in from other people related to his goal? This might include his coach, family, spouse or social group. Telling people about your goals will help you stick to them.
R - is it realistic? Given that Anthony is already a regular cyclist, this goal seems achievable with hard work. Whether a goal is realistic for you will depend on your starting point and how fit you are.
T - is it time appropriate? Anthony has not created a timely goal as he hasn’t stated when he’s likely to ride his 100 miles. Setting a specific timeframe to achieve your goal is key. Use it as an anchor to track back and assess the time you’ll have to prepare.
We’ve found that Anthony’s original goal falls short on a few areas, so let’s recreate it using the SMART method:
“I want to ride 100 miles in under 6 hours at the Great Notts Bike Ride on 26th June 2018.”
Using the SMART method has transformed Anthony’s goal into one which holds him accountable, and motivates him to put steps in place to achieve it.
Take the first steps to achieving your goal with one of our dedicated training plans.