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Don’t be SMART just take AIM and Enjoy

Make sure that your goals are ambitious and inspire and motivate you

It is that time of year again when people around the globe are being forced to sit down and write down what they are trying to achieve in the coming year. One of the most common goal-setting methods is to use SMART criteria.

All Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Whoever invented this should have patented it, it’s a popular method and so many people blindly follow its doctrine.

So let’s have a go at setting a cycling coaching-related goal to this methodology.

‘I am going to have an FTP of 300w by April 1st.’

300w is a specific and measurable metric. Your current FTP is 280w so a 7% increase is probably realistic and achievable. And we have a target date of 1st April. Tick. Job done.

But there are 2 problems here:

  1. The human body is complex and physiological adaptation just does not follow a set timetable. You might reach 300w earlier, later or never. We just can’t know for sure.

  2. This goal probably won’t motivate you to get out of bed on a cold winter morning and do your endurance ride?

SMART objectives are a tool to hold people to account. ‘You said you would do this by then and you haven’t so there is no jam for you this quarter.’

The thing is, with cycling training, you can’t hold your body to account can you?

You might want to blame your cycling coach if you are not improving and that might, or might not be fair. I have been doing this long enough to know that improvements in cycling fitness are the sum of a whole lot of things that go on in your life, not just your riding.

At Propello as cycle coaches, we also believe that an obsession with chasing numbers is counterproductive both in terms of performance and enjoyment.

We believe you all need goals and a cycling coaching plan that is Ambitious but also designed to Inspire and Motivate (AIM) you. What’s going to get you on the turbo for a hard threshold set? The thought you might be adding 1w to your FTP or the thought of gaining the fitness to cruise up a mountain col in the sun or being able to make a break in a race that sticks and you take the win?

Rather than fixate on numbers and overly precise goals, think about the outcomes you want from your cycling training plan and set goals based on those. For example rather than have a specific FTP training goal like the one above, set a goal like this:

‘My goal is to consistently complete my training to enable me to ride my events and races to the best of my capabilities.’

‘My goal is to be physically prepared to enjoy and complete my first high mountain Gran Fondo.’

‘My goal is to improve my technical riding to enable me to compete in my first mountain bike race.’

We believe setting cycling goals in this way will make you a happier, more motivated and more accomplished rider and probably give you more balance in your life generally.

The numbers are great for tracking progress and keeping us on track but they are not goals in and of themselves.Most of you reading this are not being paid to ride your bike. You do it primarily for fun and enjoyment. Improving is really fun and enjoyable so take AIM and design cycling goals that are Ambitious, Inspiring & Motivating.

At Propello, we deliver bespoke cycling coaching online anywhere in the world by providing the ultimate cycling coaching support crew who can help you realise your cycling goals and dreams.

Get in touch for a friendly chat about how we can make the available cycling training time you have available, work harder for you.