5 S.M.A.R.T Rules For Achieving Your Cycling (And Health) Goals

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland.

Setting goals is an integral part of participating in sports and fitness. It helps keep you motivated and, according to research, makes you a happier person.

If you’re planning to cycle regularly, you probably already have incentive. You may want to better your health, reduce stress, save money, make new friends, or be kinder to the environment.

The S.M.A.R.T rules of goal setting will help. Write them down, follow them, and you’ll be well on your way to success.

SPECIFIC: Get detailed with your goal. For example: “I would like to increase my cycling fitness enough that I can participate in a Critical Mass group ride at the end of January.” Or: “I want to replace my gym membership with a bike share membership and save $420 per year.”

MEASURABLE: Aim to “clock 365 miles this year” – a mile a day – instead of “increase my endurance”. Pro tip: You can track your miles traveled and calories burned in the Social Bicycles app.

ACTION-ORIENTED: Break your long-term goal of cycling every day down into smaller, actionable efforts. “I will cycle for mid-afternoon coffee twice a week” or “I will cycle to the farmers market once a week for fresh produce”, for example.

REALISTIC: Take your current obligations and time-commitments into account. While it may not be possible to go for an hour-long bike ride every morning before work, you can complete smaller tasks – like the aforementioned ride for coffee – or parking the car and cruising to dinner with friends downtown. If you’re planning to ride every day, you decide what counts. It could be using all 60 minutes of bike share membership, or simply hopping in the saddle and traveling a short distance. (It all adds up.)

TIME: Your personal goal-setting could span days, weeks, months or the entire year, but a firm deadline is important when it comes to accountability.

ASSIGNMENT:

  • Jot down your cycling goals in the S.M.A.R.T format.
  • Go for a ride!

Throughout January, we’re offering daily tips, tricks and motivation to help you ride your bike every day. Follow the #DailyRideChallenge on Twitter and Facebook. No bike? No problem. Sign up for your $15 monthly bike share membership, which comes with 60 minutes of ride time every day.