This is a time of year the word “Goal” is used more often than during World Cup action. People state their goal, get excited, and BOOM…they are off and running. Common goals set this time of year are to podium in races, to shed 10 pounds, or to slay people on your group rides. Secretly, many of us want to hit those big goals as fast as we speak them. We forget that change isn’t easy and get frustrated when we don’t see fast progress…a total TKO for goals.
Planning a goal isn’t just one step of the process, yet often that is the way people handle goal-setting. It is the equivalent of stating “I want to drive to California!” and getting in the car without a Navigation system or a map. You might initially take some right turns because you know the roads around your home, but more than likely you are gonna get lost. A navigation system takes that long road trip and gives you simple step-by-step directions, that are easy to understand and take the guess work out of hitting your goal. It’s a lock if you follow the step-by-step plan! Navigation systems also give you a realistic time frame of how long your trip will take.
As you plan your goals for 2014, think about using a Navigation System approach. You know where you want to go, then take a little time to plan out the steps it will take to get you there. Just as when you travel, you tend to mentally hit mini goals and measure your progress when you hit big cities along the way, or with each passing hour. It feels good to see another city in your rearview mirror, or see that you are another hour closer to your destination. Mini goals allow confidence to build and sustain motivation. You also tend to have realistic timelines when you travel. Unless you found a wormhole, you can’t make the North Carolina to California drive in less than 36 nonstop hours (legally left laners). Realistically, you have to plan a little rest along the way, plan stops to fuel up, take nature breaks and get food and water. Plan rest, or active recovery into your goal setting. You might also have a setback such as a mechanical issue, unexplained traffic or weather that slows your progress. Setbacks are almost always encountered on the road to chasing a big goal. While setbacks are annoying…they are temporary. If you expect them, and mentally plan for them, they won’t stop you from hitting your goal.
Good coaches, like the coaches at TotalCyclist have the understanding that hitting big goals and change isn’t easy, so they design creative ways to help you make it as easy as possible. TotalCyclist is like an Autobahn to your goal. You’ll get faster, better, stronger. A great mini goal to add to your plan is “Step over the threshold of TotalCyclist.” Once you are there, you go on autopilot. Your bike is set up, you warm up, you sweat, you experience the PainCave. Then you are done and get to check that mini goal off your list. You get a double shot of feel good chemicals floating around in your brain. Your brain is going to like that reward, and will seek more. TotalCyclist also adds the element of social fun, which makes hitting your goal feel easier and can add another level of motivation especially in the early stages of working toward a goal or when you hit setbacks and need to get back on track. As you keep hitting your mini daily goals, the long-term goal will take care of itself and you will understand why the PainCave is really a ChangeCave.
Barbara Greene, MA Sport Psychology
Pure Performance, Inc.
Barbara Greene helps teams and athletes from the development level to the pro level with performance issues. Barbara obtained a Masters in Sport Psychology from Argosy University in Atlanta, GA with Dr. Alexander Cohen (now a Senior Sport Psychologist for the USOC).