I’ve been giving a lot of talks about the mental side of sports and one topic that we keep coming back to is around goal-setting, so I wanted to just touch on my best tip for creating a good goal to work towards. 

Anyway, my friend, Frank L. Smoll Ph.D., explained this simple goal-setting  concept to me, and it’s one of my favorites. Every goal should follow the ABCs: Achievable, Believable and Commit-able.

After talking about the ABCs to a group of awesome NICA GRIT girls from NY earlier this week, I wanted to bump this post up, since I know many girls had goals that they couldn’t accomplish last year as races were cancelled, and goals are looking a lot different this year. (Oh—and if you want to have a talk like this one, which was a yoga session followed by a quick meditation practice and goal-setting chat, get in touch!)

In fact, I want to add one more ‘C’ to this, so that it’s actually ABCC: CONTROLLABLE.

That means that no matter what happens—cancelled races, a competitor who is just super good this year—you can still control the outcome of at least part of your goals. So you may want to have a goal around getting on the podium at a race, for instance. That’s a great goal, but you can’t control if the race will happen or what the other racers are doing. So it’s a good idea to at least have a secondary goal that is completely in your control, like “I want to be able to ride every obstacle on our local race course.” That’s a goal that you can practice for and work towards, and even if the race doesn’t happen, you can still ride those obstacles. Basically, always have a backup goal that doesn’t rely on anything outside of you and your bike, so that even if your main goal doesn’t work out, you can still achieve one of your objectives!

So, for the smartest goal-setting, make sure you think about these three things when picking your next big scary goal:

A goal should be… Achievable

Pick a goal that has an actual end point, something measurable. For example, ‘I want to get better at bike riding’ doesn’t have one specific end point. But ‘I want to ride the double-black-diamond trail at the local bike park’ is a specific goal that you can actually achieve.

A goal should be… Believable

It might be a stretch goal that you’re not entirely sure you can hit, but a goal has to be something you BELIEVE you can do, even if that belief is deep-down and you’re scared that you might not make it. Something inside of you needs to be saying ‘Yes! It may be a lot of work, but I can believe this goal can be met!’ (So using our last example, ‘Yes, it’s going to be really scary but I know if I practice and learn how to hit jumps and drops, I’ll be able to do that double-black trail.’

A goal should be… Commit-able

A goal is only a realistic goal if you actually can do the work required to get there. Using that double-black diamond example again, that goal is only commit-able if you know you can get to the park to practice a couple times a week, that you can rent or you own a downhill bike, that you have time to work on drops and jumps. A lot of us have big scary goals, like riding 100 miles in a day, but if we have only 2 hours a week to practice for something like that, it’s not really a goal that you can commit to, right?

OK—let me know in the comments what your goals in cycling are for 2021! And we’ll talk about how to take them and turn them into an actual action plan next week!


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