So we’ve had Christmas and New Year and now we need to finally accept that no matter how fast 2014 came and went we are now in 2015. Inevitably we will set some New Year’s Resolutions whether that is in your own head, to your family or announced to all of your Facebook and Twitter friends. How can we make these lists just a little bit more successful?
Firstly you need to make them SMART then you need SMARTER training. There is no point saying: “in 2015 I want to win a race” or “at the end of the season I want to complete a sportive in a gold standard time. Neither of these goals have any reference or focus that will help you maintain motivation and stick to your training. It’s one of the fastest ways to fail your resolution or loose motivation in it.
SMART stands for:
Specific: Be very specific in your objective, something like: ‘in the Etape de Tour I will…’ or ‘At the National track championships I will’. This sets the tone for your focus and training.
Measurable: Give the goal something you can measure yourself by. This could be a time, a speed, or points. Try and steer away from position related goals as so much can go wrong in these events that might mean you lose your goal through no reason of your own. Obviously bunch races might have no alterative.
Achievable: You are not going to win the Tour De France, or for that matter set a British record in the individual pursuit. Be realistic and aim for something you know you can achieve if you work hard. If you are not going to be able to go to the gym six days of the week, don’t set that as a goal!
Relevant: If you are a bike rider, you wouldn’t want to set a goal to swim the English Channel. Make the goal personal to you and your strengths. The fastest way to lose interest in something is to not be able to relate to it. So make the goal personally relatable.
Time Related: This means, coupled together with your first part, specific, that you have a time frame to complete your goal by. Again this focuses and motivates you. Your event doesn’t disappear into the future or vanish in the mists of time and so you can tick down each day.
A good goal would be: On the 23rd of September I want to ride a 4:40:500 in the 4km national individual pursuit championships.
Or: By the 10th of August I want to have 250 British licence points gained through track and road racing.
So you have your SMART resolution, now how to maintain your motivation and training to achieve it. Well you’ll find that this SMART method will have created a goal that is infinitely more motivational than a bland unspecific one. The best thing is this method can be put to your training too.
SMART goals need SMARTER training. Your training should not be heading out on your bike for 5 aimless hours for no purpose at all. You should be specific (go out and work on a specific part of your fitness), measurable (go out with a purpose that you can record), Achievable (don’t try to do too much too soon), related (keep it focused on your goal), Time related (set your training on specific days and stick to them).
Training also needs to be:
Enjoyable: If you hate the static trainer, and you decide to do all your training on the static trainer you will just cause yourself to go off the whole idea. Instead make your training as enjoyable as you can, this will maintain your motivation.
The R in SMARTER can mean a number of things; for me it means restful, recordable and rewarding. Make sure you keep your training diary and make sure you rest enough for your training so that you keep your energy levels up and reward yourself for doing it.
So lets all keep our New Year’s Resolutions SMART and your training to achieve them SMARTER and I wish you a great year ahead.