I’ve written a lot on this site about goals… primarily my cyclo-cross racing goals – the reasons for them, how I’m planning on achieving them and my feelings when I have or haven’t achieved them. As you can likely guess, I believe that goal-setting is a crucial part of life – goals should not be limited to just bike racing – we need personal goals, professional goals and even daily “to do” goals. These are the hopes, dreams and accomplishments that keep us motivated and encourage us to meet each day head-on.

Now is likely the time in your cyclo-cross season when you’re thinking about your goals. If you’re a Canadian, you likely have some very specific goals for this weekend’s upcoming Canadian National Cyclo-Cross Championships. If you’re American, you’ve likely got some big training goals and racing goals to keep you motivated for the rest of the season and nationals in January. Some of you likely have goals for World Cups, other European races and the 2013 World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

There are also some of you who have set goals for earlier in the season – you achieved them or you didn’t. If you did achieve your goals – congratulations. The next step is in assessing these goals – were they too easy? what worked and didn’t work in helping you to achieve these goals? what will you strive for next? If you didn’t achieve your goals – this is disappointing but it is not the end-of-the-world – after all you’ve still got more races left in the season. Set some new goals and work towards those. Before doing so, consider the goals that you fell short of – were they too lofty? did something happen that prevented you from achieving them? were they performance or outcome based goals?

Lets face it – everyone wants to win – heck everyone wants to be national or world champion. Are these realistic goals? For some of you – most definitely. For a lot of us – not really. So when setting your racing season goals and reassessing where you are right now in achieving these goals – don’t lose perspective of your abilities and strengths.

For me, I always had a range of goals – big season goals, training goals and race-by-race goals. The race-by-race goals always included some that were attainable and some that likely wouldn’t happen, for example:

  • Stay focused at all times.
  • Start hard and fast.
  • Look ahead and where I want the bike to go.
  • Race a full race – don’t ease up at any time.
  • Stay off the front brake.
  • Accelerate out of every corner.

As you can see these goals are not tied to an outcome or a result. Rather these are goals, that should I have achieved them all – would likely result in a good outcome for myself. You might think this is a bit of a cop out, but I’ve learned over the years that the number on the results sheet can be so varied – depends on who else is there, where I’m racing, and the course conditions. I could have a top 10 result in North America but in Belgium, I’d be aiming for a top 20 or 30 result.

Regardless of how many races you have left and how your season is going so far – take some time to think about what has worked and what hasn’t worked. Set some goals for yourself and focus on these. I find these goals really make it much easier to get out and train in the dark, rain, and snow… Remember, these are your goals – you don’t need to tell anyone else (except your coach) – and don’t let anyone judge your goals – these are about you and not anyone else.

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