One little word. An innocent word really. But depending on where your head is, the word “goals” can be a tad unnerving. To step up and to really honestly set some goals takes a lot of guts. Honest goal-setting forces you to take a hard look at yourself.

These goals can’t be simply whipped off in a matter of minutes. Nope, you need to look at the complete package. That is – yourself and your abilities. What can you achieve? What do you want to achieve? What if you fail? There are lots of ways of setting goals. You can set one main goal for the season and then develop a plan to achieve this goal. You can set the main goal and some intermediary goals that you can use to measure your progress and hopefully develop your main goal. You can go so far as to set weekly goals, these can be super useful if you struggle with staying on track with your training. A dangling carrot can do wonders for motivation.

As for me, well, I’ve learned that I need goals. Without goals, I’m simply going through the motions. No fixed plan. No real idea why I’m sitting on my bike seat and pedaling away. I’ve also learned that I need to set big goals. Almost unattainable (in some people’s minds) goals. These big goals really fire me up and get that “I can do it” attitude out. I’ve also learned that if I don’t achieve my main goal, it is not the end of the world. Because of this, I also set goals for each and every race I do. They might be small things like always keeping my head up and looking ahead or they can be bigger, such as winning the race.

Once I’ve set these goals, what do I do with them? I write them down on a piece of paper. I then take this piece of paper and make it waterproof (I cover it in clear packing tape). Then I carry that piece of paper with me – wherever I go. It is in the front right pocket of my jeans – when I jam my hand in my pocket, I feel this piece of paper and I’m reminded of my goals. I put this piece of paper in my cycling jersey when I go out to train. I read this piece of paper daily. It keeps me focused. It keeps me feeling confident. On the other side of the piece of paper, I write some key mantras that I use to maintain my self-confidence.

You might think this is a bit much. Maybe for you it is. But for me, this works. It helps. This is the thing about goals, they are personal. Goals are all about you and no one else.

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