Monday, September 13, 2010

When It's Time to Modify Your Goals

258 Trails and Counting
At the beginning of the year, I decided to set some very specific mountain biking goals for myself. I wouldn't exactly call them New Year's resolutions, as we all know those are destined for failure! Rather, I just wanted to take my mountain biking to an HNL (whole 'nuther level). To achieve that, I decided to set some very specific goals so I would have something to achieve to, and so I would know when I had accomplished what I'd set out to accomplish.

My Goals:
Here were the goals I had set specifically for this year:
  • Ride 2,000 miles on my mountain bike (as compared to 1,100 in 2009).
  • Begin mountain bike racing.
  • Up my average ride length.
I also decided to set some long-term goals to define what my mountain biking would look like over the coming years:
  • 1st, I want to ride 1,000 trails as listed on Singletracks.  If that's easily achieved in the course of ten years or less, maybe I'll up it to 2, or even 5 thousand.
  • Mountain bike in every one of the 50 states
  • Mountain bike in Canada (esp. BC)
  • Mountain bike overseas
How Close Am I to Achieving My Goals?
Not very.  If you've been reading the blog for a while, you'll know that I dealt with some very severe back issues for about 5 months from mid-March to early August. My riding time was severely limited during those months, setting me very far behind on my goal of 2,000 mountain bike miles this year.  Also, the spring racing season in Georgia was in full swing when my back pain really intensified, and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to ride fast (if at all).

Here's the grand total of my days on the mountain bike from May (which was a beautiful month):

A meager 37.5 miles during one of the most beautiful months of the year, and I had no school to worry about. It was misery!

In the month of June, I got back on the bike as per my physical therapist's instructions, but I was only doing a few miles per ride and only got on the bike intermittently:

During the month of July I slowly started stepping it up, and then August was a great month of riding! Still, there is no way I'm going to make 2,000 miles this year.  I'm currently sitting just over 900 miles on the year.

So what am I to do?

Be Willing to Modify Your Goals (If Need Be)
When the unexpected happens, it is vital to be able to modify your goals accordingly.  In response to these dismaying setbacks, I decided that a more realistic mileage goal for the year would be at least 1,000 miles, and to try for 1,500.  As far as racing, there are still a few races left in the season... I may be able to enter one! 

This concept is important:  don't feel so bound by your goals that you feel like a failure when something totally unexpected and unpreventable gets in the way of something you have set your sights on.  Life happens, and while it is a huge part of my life, mountain biking is not my highest priority. 

Part 1: Goals and Mountain Biking: A How-To

Your Turn: What do you do when unexpected things crop up and hinder you in the pursuit of your goals?


    Loving the Bike September 13, 2010 at 10:23 AM  

    Excellent. They say you can't get anywhere without a game plan, so hats off to you for setting yourself some riding goals. So many people don't even set life goals, let alone riding goals so you are way ahead of the curve my man.


    Greg Heil September 13, 2010 at 11:39 AM  

    Hey Darryl, thanks for the compliment! Sometimes I find it easier to set riding goals than life goals because the consequences of not riding 2,000 miles aren't nearly as great as those of failing at life, haha!

    Also, I find that some of my life/occupational goals tend to change every so often... but maybe it's just the stage of life I'm in.

    Again, thanks for the comment!


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