First, a little plug to let all my loyal readers know that there are only six days left in my team’s Haiti relief fundraiser. For every Adageo Energy Pro Cycling jersey sold, Adageo Energy we will donate three dollars to the Red Cross efforts in Haiti. Look cool and help someone in need. Go to www.AdageoEnergyProCycling.com for more info.
This one is going to be short and to the point.
How do you set a goal and make it come to pass?
What does it take to have a dream and see it come to fruition?
The answer is as simple as the old adage, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
It’s true, you can.
It’s the setting your mind part that trips people up. Telling someone to set their mind to something is like telling someone to cheer up. Easier said than done.
Sure you can want something and you can fantasize about something but what does it take to create a state of mind that is so concrete, so unyielding that the universe has no choice but to alter time and space to drive you towards your destination?
It’s simple. Sounds hokey? Remember the first Martin Luther and his 95 theses that he tacked onto a church door in Wittenburg? Think about how such a public proclamation changed not just his destiny but world history by ushering in the Protestant reformation? Think of public documents such as Galileo’s book arguing for the Copernican philosophy of the Earth revolving around the Sun than vice versa and how that affected the world, or Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species.” Rather than keeping these thoughts and ideas to themselves, these greats dared to proclaim their thoughts to the world at large.
On a smaller scale, let’s take an example from my own life. It’s been raining here in Los Angeles. The other day I decided to do my threshold workout on the trainer. An hour and a half with three fifteen-minute intervals. If you’ve been reading me for a while you will know that I am notoriously terrible about training indoors. I have literally been known to set up the trainer, set up the fan, pick out a movie, load some caffeine, put on my gear and ride for a total of three and a half minutes before scrapping the workout due to sheer desperate boredom. Training indoors just isn’t my thing.
But this was an important workout and I have an important season coming up. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been and, after 21 years of hard work, I will be entering my rookie season as a pro.
So you would think that would be enough motivation to sacrifice 90 minutes of agony, right? Not for me.
So at the last minute, before I get on the bike, inspiration strikes.
I call my wife. It goes something like this.
Me: Hey, how you doing?
Rachael: Good, how about you?
Me: Good. I’m going to ride the trainer.
Me: I’m going to ride for an hour and a half.
Me: I’m going to do three fifteen minute threshold intervals.
Me: You know why I’m telling you this, right?
Me: OK. Bye.
I jump on trainer and do the best indoor workout of my life, completing all three intervals and even setting some personal wattage records in the process.
There is no doubt in my mind that I would not have lasted more than 5 minutes if I had not first called my wife to tell her my intentions. Every time I thought about giving up, every time I considered just bagging the workout and answering some emails, I thought about what I was going to tell her when she asked me how my workout went.
The quick and easy lesson is that it’s not enough to just be accountable to yourself. Humans take accountability very seriously. For both large and small things, we have an almost inescapable urge to be consistent in the eyes of others with our own thoughts, words and actions.
So if you want something, really want something, don’t keep it to yourself. Bring others into the fold. Share your dream with friends, family, strangers on the street. In fact, the more people you tell, the stronger your commitment will be.
By way of a social experiment, I’d like you to try the following. Sit down and write out a goal for yourself. Really think about this. What do you want to get out of your cycling in 2010? Make it as specific as possible. Make it realistic but ambitious. Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will create a goals page on LiquidFitness.com. I will publish every goal that is sent to me along with the first and last name of the goal setter. Your ambition, your desire, your dream will be out there for the world to see. I will pick a few goal setters at random and check in with you periodically. Then I will do a follow up article towards the end of the year to see how this little experiment worked.
Try to escape your destiny now. I dare you.
Josh Horowitz is a USCF Certified coach and an active Category 1 racer. For more information about his coaching services and any coaching questions you may have, check out his website at LiquidFitness.com.