Saturday, July 11, 2009

Remember - They're YOUR Goals!

I am not a wise man, but I used to play one. Let me give you a couple of insights into goal setting and achieving (after all, goal setting is only dreaming if there is no achieving to follow the setting).

Here are two bits of wisdom (you might say this is my "two bits"): First of all, only the Ten Commandments needed to have been written in stone. For your goal setting, especially your cycling goals, use a pencil. You'll save money on the White-Out, and your training log won't look so bad by the end of the year.

Before this year began, I had my training log filled out through December. I had filled in which rides I wanted to do, and what training I would follow in order to be ready for those rides. It was all there; all I had to do was ride it out. Except that life has a funny way of sticking it's head up at those moments and saying, "Oh yeah? Watch this...". So I erased it all and started over. Then it was done. Or so I thought. Since January, I've worn out a couple of erasers changing my goals in my training log.

In fact, just yesterday, I had a mechanical failure with my rear wheel which was an occasion to bring out the eraser again. A big tour I had planned for August would now be scrubbed, and plan B would replace it. Oh, I could keep throwing money at my bike and force my way into that tour, but I've already spent nearly $500 this year to get ready for it, and even I know when it's time to say, "Whoa!". But it's OK, the plans were made in pencil.

There's a reason why pencils are made of wood - they float. When the flood of life washes out the trail you were following, you, too, need to float. You'll use less energy as you get your bearings and scan the horizon for Plan B.

That brings me to my second wind, I mean, bit of wisdom. What do Cubs fans and Jewish Passover Celebrants have in common? They both believe in next year. For about a century now, Chicago Cubs fans have ended their season with a warning to all Baseball fans everywhere - Next Year! And for centuries, every Jewish Passover ended with a toast and the words, "Next year in Jerusalem!" In 1948, next year came for them. In fact in 1967, Jerusalem became their capitol again.

If you erase a goal from the training log you haven't necessarily abandoned it, just postponed it til next year, or whenever it becomes reasonable again. Last year, I wanted to ride home from Metropolis after doing the 60 miles of the Superman ride. When the day came, I rode to Metropolis in Michael Ahrens's pickup truck, cycled only the 38 mile loop with him, and decided to ride back with him in his truck. I was a little disappointed in myself at the time. I had thought I would get about 110 miles and really impress people. Instead I only had 38, and impressed no one. (Captain's note: if impressing people is your big goal in cycling, you need a new goal.)

I decided that "next year" I would accomplish it. Fast forward to June 13, 2009 - I cycled down to Superman's ride, rode the 60 mile loop (dropping some of you on the last big climb) and had the strength left to ride my bicycle back to Marion for 172 miles on the day. (So - are you impressed?)The point of my pointless never-ending bragging is this: last year was last year. This year was "next year".

If you need to erase a goal because it seems reasonable to do so, then erase it - it IS reasonable, but it is NOT abandoning a goal - there is always "Next Year!".

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