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Old 07-06-08, 10:16 AM   #1
cranky old dude
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About goals

I've often written in this Forum how I don't tend to set personal
goals. I do record my daily mileage in bikejournal.com as I like to
know how far I've ridden, but I've hesitated to actually set a
mileage goal of any kind...that is until this month.

After seeing that I rode a little over 500 miles last month, in a
moment of weakness, or maybe it was a moment of madness,
I set a goal to try to adhere to for the month of July. I chose
to attempt to average 20 miles a day for a total of 600 miles
for the month allowing one day off. Well, it's the 6th and I've
got 122 miles so far and I still have to ride home yet today. It would
appear that I'm off to a good start. I'm not. I'm miserable. I
don't like being concerned about not getting in enough miles
on any given day and then having to ride even farther on the next day.

I know that setting a personal goal like this is not a binding contract
with myself or any such thing. The fact that I set it though kind of
compels me to make a sincere attempt to complete the month with the
afore mentioned mileage, or risk feeling like I have let myself down
and failed in some way. So I'll keep hammering away, knocking down
mile after mile. If I succede, I'll bask in the warmth of my own little
victory.....if I fail I'll suffer my own little humiliation. One thing
is certain though. If the mileage quest has become this tedious
already after only six days, I'll not likely do such a thing as this again.

I have attained a much higher level of respect for all of you who are
successful goal oriented achievers. My helmet's off to you all.
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Old 07-06-08, 10:30 AM   #2
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You'll never know if it will work for you unless you try it. In my opinion, a "successful goal oriented achiever" is born -- either one is, or isn't. That's not to say that goals aren't for everyone, just that everyone has to set them in a way that is reasonable for them and fits their own personality and lifestyle.

For me, I have to set a goal but keep it flexible. I've found that setting a specific number of miles to ride each week sets me up for failure, frustration, and disappointment if life gets in the way and I can't meet the goal. But by keeping it loose, say, setting a goal of riding after work just 3 days/week and once on the weekend (very doable for me), that's a goal I can keep that doesn't lead to burn-out or frustration.

My helmet's off to you for your accomplishment thus far!
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Old 07-06-08, 12:35 PM   #3
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2 hours a day of good exercise works for me.

I much prefer going by time rather than miles.

And, I am flexible and don't feel guilty if I don't make it. But, I generally do.

That includes bicycling, swimming, weight lifting, walking and stretching.
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Old 07-06-08, 01:39 PM   #4
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A goal does not have to be just milage. I know most may contain a ride of Epic proportions but it can also be that hill that has always defeated you. Point about a goal to me is that it should just be out of reach of your current capabilities. Pointless setting the goal as climbing a mountain if you live on flatlands and your Lowest gear is 42/23- and pointless setting a goal to do a metric next week in 4 hours if your current speed is around 12mph.

I have set two goals in my riding- One was to do a ride in 2003 that is hard and this was after a couple of illnesses and 6 years after I last did that ride. The other was to climb a mountain- but I live in a hilly area- just don't have any 2 hour hills to climb. Both took practice and training and that was hard enough.

Just found another goal for me attempt. A Hill. Saw it last week when I was out seeing customers and it is only 60 miles from where I live. A 20% hill for about 1 1/2 miles. Might take a few attempts but I want to start training as soon as I get back to some decent riding (The saga of the wifes pool is still going on)

And a warning to Beverly- It is quite close to Chichester- so if they suggest going to Bury Hill- Get a headache that day.
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Old 07-06-08, 01:47 PM   #5
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Oh baloney, Cranky! You're right on target.

600/31=19.35

19.35*6=116.1

So you're a bit ahead of the game, even before the ride home. What's wrong with that?

It may be that the goal isn't the problem so much as the constant comparison to it. People aren't machines, something that becomes more easily evident as we age. There's variation every day. Allow for it.

I've learned that I don't really like to ride more than five days a week. It makes me feel run-down instead of rejuvenated. For me, if I'm not in sight of a rest day, everything goes to hell. Maybe your single rest day for the month is too few?

Alternatively, perhaps the goalsetting method needs adjustment. I do horribly against arbitrary, dartboard goals. If a number is picked out of thin air, I'm likely to give up just after the start. Worse, if a number seems unachievable to me, it will become unachievable.

I got around this on BikeJournal in my first year by not setting any sort of goal until after four or five months into it--about halfway through the year, since I started that April. I figured out what I was likely to end with and made that my goal. I had to move it out further a bit, and still hit that.

Last year, having had more experience, I broke it down by month. It seems 200 miles a month meets my basic transport needs, so it was easy to figure how much, if any, more I'd do in any given month. I did really well with that method. Some months looked incredibly challenging, and I missed few along the way. But I hit my annual goal Thanksgiving week. Added 8.5% to it (our local sales tax) for a new goal (plus tax), and beat that too.

There are three points in that story.
  1. The goal must not just be achievable, it must seem achievable. A pie-in-the-sky can be added as a challenge goal, but the base goal should be realistic and allow some wiggle room for off days (as opposed to days off). And reasonable days off should be included.
  2. It should be broken-down into easily digestible portions. But unless you're mechanically assured of riding every single day (read: young), making daily goals is counterproductive. For me, weekly is too fine-grained as well. Monthly seems to work for me.
  3. Some interim goals will not be met. So far this year I was 100 miles short in March and 70 miles short in May. I just sort of shrugged and said, "Huh." Yet, I hit mid-year with 26 miles to spare. It just works that way, so don't beat yourself up over it.

Goals are a tool for measuring the future, which by definition, is unmeasurable. They should be used to guide you, not as a tool of self-flagellation.

Edit:

Last edited by tsl; 07-06-08 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 07-06-08, 07:29 PM   #6
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For me, goals tend to turn riding into work. so I pared down to riding a lot and riding in ways that make it enjoyable.
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Old 07-06-08, 08:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
A goal does not have to be just milage. I know most may contain a ride of Epic proportions but it can also be that hill that has always defeated you. .

+1 I like seeing my mileage increase each year but it's not always possible. Other commitments and injuries often get in the way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
Just found another goal for me attempt. A Hill. Saw it last week when I was out seeing customers and it is only 60 miles from where I live. A 20% hill for about 1 1/2 miles. Might take a few attempts but I want to start training as soon as I get back to some decent riding (The saga of the wifes pool is still going on)

And a warning to Beverly- It is quite close to Chichester- so if they suggest going to Bury Hill- Get a headache that day.
Egads! Who ever designed a road with that type of hill
But I've never seen a hill I couldn't walk
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Old 07-06-08, 08:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
2 hours a day of good exercise works for me.

I much prefer going by time rather than miles.

And, I am flexible and don't feel guilty if I don't make it. But, I generally do.

That includes bicycling, swimming, weight lifting, walking and stretching.
+1 to that approach. It's what 'works' for me too. The activities I do differ a bit, but the principle is the same.

Yeah, sometimes stuff gets in the way and you can't fit in even that couple of hours of being active, but it balances out because you can often do more on other days.
I also find that I do a bit more during the warmer months, and that helps me hold onto a bit of fitness over the colder months, when I'm not out and about as much.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:22 PM   #9
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It all brings to mind:

"What is the purpose(s) of a goal, particularly in non-work related activities?"

"Why have goals, anyway?"

"Why not?"

"Do you care if you meet goals?" If you do, how?
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Old 07-06-08, 11:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
2 hours a day of good exercise works for me.

I much prefer going by time rather than miles.

And, I am flexible and don't feel guilty if I don't make it. But, I generally do.

That includes bicycling, swimming, weight lifting, walking and stretching.
I'm with you dude. If I get it done fine, if not I'm still in great shape so I just miss that day as long as I don't start messing a lot of days, thats riding or lifting.

There are other things in life, today it's pluming, and a happy wife.
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Old 07-07-08, 12:13 AM   #11
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I'm thinking instead of raw mileage as a goal, having some specific task:
--complete a circuit TT style at (say) 16 MPH.
--don't get dropped by the club ride, ie climb hills better.
--make it up Barralton Hill without stopping.
--do the OKHT (110 miles in two days. I'm signed up for that one).
--do a metric century, probably the first week in August.

This will require me to put in saddle time and to do (barf) hill repeats up my friend Wibble Hill, but I feel better about these goals than to do x number of miles in a week/month/year, given my family obligations.
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Old 07-07-08, 04:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
I'm thinking instead of raw mileage as a goal, having some specific task:
--complete a circuit TT style at (say) 16 MPH.
--don't get dropped by the club ride, ie climb hills better.
--make it up Barralton Hill without stopping.
--do the OKHT (110 miles in two days. I'm signed up for that one).
--do a metric century, probably the first week in August.

This will require me to put in saddle time and to do (barf) hill repeats up my friend Wibble Hill, but I feel better about these goals than to do x number of miles in a week/month/year, given my family obligations.

This is much more to my way of setting goals. Set the destination, don't try to micro-manage the process of achieving it.

My current goals are:
-survive the next two months while the tumor in my throat does not
-ride 53 somethings on my bike on October 9th
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Old 07-07-08, 06:50 AM   #13
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Your post was painful to read. I have shared similar frustrations related to mileage goals. I'd like you to think about what you've done in a different context. Perhaps it's not that you are unsuccessful as a goal related achiever. Perhaps it is that you are setting goals that you lock yourself into and they then make your journey harder than it need be. There are numerous suggestions by others in this thread related to how they look at and set goals. Maybe one of these other approaches is more realistic for you, your personality, and current reality. What doesn't make sense to me is sticking with a goal that will not produce positive results. In one way your story reminds we of the following:

A man set out to reach his goal of driving from New York to L.A. However, somewhere in Ohio, his car broke down. He recognized he had three choices: 1. find a way back home; 2. stay in Ohio; 3. find another way to L.A. He choose. Since he didn't have the money to get his car repaired, he bought a bus ticket. He was no longer driving to L.A., but was still headed to L.A. Somewhere in Kansas, the bus broke down at the same time the bus company filed for bankruptcy. He was once again faced with a choice: stay in Kansas, find a way home, or find a way to keep moving to L.A. He made his choice, and found a truck stop where he talked a driver into giving him a ride. This, he had to repeat four different times before he got to L.A. Now, this man could have said, he failed in his attempt to "drive" to L.A. Instead, he realized that the driving was just one way to do what he really wanted to do: see the country and get to L.A. In Ohio he could have thought, "I've failed." Instead he thought, "OK this isn't working and I'm not there yet. How else can I get there?" He did this in Kansas too. Moral of the story: You are not failing, you're just not there yet, and have to find another way to get there. So, if you really want to ride "x" number of miles in a given time period, you might want to think about why that's important (focus on this as the real goal), recognize that the current plan isn't working, and make a new one.
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Old 07-07-08, 08:45 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=tsl;7009055]Oh baloney, Cranky! You're right on target.

Goals are a tool for measuring the future, which by definition, is unmeasurable. They should be used to guide you, not as a tool of self-flagellation.

Good thoughts.
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Old 07-07-08, 09:28 AM   #15
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Hrmph. My goal for July is to watch as much of the TdF as I can.

Doin' pretty good thus far.
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Old 07-07-08, 09:56 AM   #16
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One of my regular riding buddies is very competitive - he logs every mile. In the winter I ski with guys who log very verticle foot - both have weekly and yearly goals they are working on. My goals are simple - I want to be comfortable and have a good time in the sports I participate in, this means being fit and having good stamina, I don't want to feel like I can't keep up with the crowd but I don't feel the need to bury other people either. My only hard and fast goal is to complete painting the outside of my house before winter - and if i don't make it I'll have Mrs. hell to pay.
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Old 07-07-08, 09:58 AM   #17
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For the last four years (including this one) I have set a yearly mileage goal. About this time of year, I check to see how many miles a week I need to average to make that goal. I have always found that it is reasonable amount and, in my mind, I know that I can miss a few rides and still make it (OK, one year I did have to take a short ride on Dec 31). But I still feel a BIT anxious when I can't get out on a planned ride day, like today. (Here in California, just above Sacramento, the air quality is so bad today the weather people don't have a color for it. Too many fires burning.) But unless I am training. I don't want my cycling to feel like training. I want it to be fun.
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Old 07-07-08, 11:46 AM   #18
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I only have one goal in life,waking up in the morning!Everything after that is gravy.
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