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“It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of the one you don’t.” ~ Stephen Kellogg

Regardless of your present riding ability there is always a skill or something revolving Rolling down Sticks and Stones at Northstararound your time on the bike that you could refine. Setting a goal is not only rewarding when you reach it but without specific or concrete goals to strive towards, where do we get the motivation to ride and improve on the bike?

Imagine… want to go on a mountain bike trip in British Colombia with more experienced fellow riders at the end of the summer but before that you want to learn how to ride technical terrain with more grit and confidence.You may have several goals here you want to work through. Being committed to the trip and to the experience will be motivation in itself.  Starting off your training and preparation for the sweet mountain bike trip with a specific goal in mind and taking the steps to make it happen will get you as absolutely prepared as possible.

The acronym SMART below is easy to remember and right on when it comes to accomplishing any goal on or off the bike. Be specific when choosing your goal.  Vague open-ended wishes are hard to nail down. A specific  goal is much more likely to be accomplished then a general one. Make sure it is measurable.  Measuring your progress so you can actually see you accomplished something.  For instance ask yourself, how will you know it is accomplished? A before and after. I find it helpful to write it down and write down my progress.  Your goal must be attainable. Is it something that is realistic?  Is your goal something that is meaningful to you? When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true.  Your activities and choices begin to mold around your desired outcome. Is it realistic or relevant? To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. And lastly time-bound. A goal needs to be built around a time frame.With no end completion time or date the urgency, motivation and adherence to completing it will dwindle.

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Now with all that said when setting a goal it is imperative that it is actually an obtainable goal. For instance, there is a 24 hour endurance trail race in a week but you haven’t ridden your bike in a year, is this obtainable? Probably not. Choose something that works for you and your lifestyle. For instance, there is an Enduro race in a few months you want to complete but you have never done one before. With adequate time to train, and seeking out a clinic to get you prepared are all ways to achieve this. Another possible goal I see and hear many riders wanting to perfect is the wheel lift or wheelie. Practice, practice, practice and again seeking out an experienced proffesional to help you accomplish this skill. A goal can be anything from an event to a skill needing  improvement, or a personal block such as you want to build more confidence on the bike in technical terrain. With  appropriate time, patience, proffesional coaching and support you can  absolutely obtain the goal you set for your self.

Now, how about the motivation  and persistence to actually accomplish the goal and set the time to work on it. Well first off for anything in life if it is enjoyable your adherence will be much greater. Picking something you like to do rather then what you think you should do. You really really love  smooth flow trails, so perhaps pick cornering as a goal you want to work on.  Making sure it is realistic otherwise you will talk yourself out of it or never start. Signing up for the RedBull rampage may be realistic for a few but not for many.  And lastly getting a partner to assist in the  training or hire a proffesional coach. Often friends and partners will take a clinic together so they can practice what they have learned. Teams benefit tremendously from group learning because they rely on each other for race support and skill support. They can be each others shadows.

Goal setting certainly applies to life off the bike as well as on. Success comes when you commit, face your fears and visualize what it is you want.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Tony Robbins