It’s that time of year again. Everyone has started talking about what they are going to do next year and then they do it for only a couple of weeks. If you’ve ever been to the gym during the first week of January then you know what I’m talking about. According to Forbes, fewer than 25 percent of people actually continue to stick with their resolution after just 30 days. Don’t let this statistic intimidate you; let it motivate you! Too many people set resolutions that are too vague or too unrealistic to truly follow through. Check out these 10 fun and realistic New Year’s resolutions to up your cycling game. Pick one, two, or all ten to tackle in 2021!
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1. Set a goal
The first step to most achievements is simply setting a goal. Be bold enough to say it out loud. Start off 2021 by vocalizing something you want to achieve. Make sure that your goal is SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely). Your goal might be to ride more miles than in the past, gain muscle, increase your power, or a whole host of other things. The possibilities appear endless on the bike so instead of riding just to ride, put a purpose behind your pedal strokes.
Hydrating is probably one of the simplest things you can do for your body to have the biggest impact. Your hydration needs will largely vary by the environment you live in, your personal size and weight, your activity level, and your sweat rate. Make it a goal to keep a hydration log or pick a large bottle that you plan to finish every day while you work. So many people think they are adequately hydrating only to discover that upon recall they have let their hydration fall to the wayside. Keeping a log or any other physical way to see your fluid intake will not only keep you accountable, but it will also likely inspire you to pick up a glass of water.
3. Address your injuries
Too many people live with chronic pain. Pain should not be the standard. Make it a resolution to address your pain, whatever that may mean. Your first step may likely be to schedule an appointment with a doctor, athletic trainer, physical therapist, or other health care professional. It also might mean committing to a stretching routine or even getting a bike fit. Make it a goal to finish 2021 pain-free.
4. Enhance your sleep
Practice good sleep hygiene in 2021. That means going to sleep and waking up at similar times every day. It also means getting an appropriate amount of sleep. Most people need about 8 hours of sleep. If that’s wishful thinking for your lifestyle, then start by just small increases. Try to limit screen time before going to bed and make your bedroom a sanctuary. Don’t allow your work into the bedroom, instead put some effort into creating a calm and relaxing space with cool temperatures and minimal bright lights.
5. Maintain your bike
If you don’t already, make it a goal to maintain your bike. Aim to wash your bike a couple of times a week, and to also increase your knowledge as a mechanic by taking an online course or heading down to your local bike shop to learn a few more tricks of the trade. The better you maintain your bike, the better your bike will perform.
6. Upgrade one piece of equipment
Cycling is a sport that is infamous for inspiring constant upgrades. It’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest cycling accessories and be overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. That said, good equipment can make a huge difference. In 2021, commit to upgrading one piece of equipment. Spend some time researching and deciding what equipment upgrade will give you the best bang for your buck and give yourself the time you need to save up and make your purchase.
7. Give back
In 2021, make a resolution to give back to the cycling community. Volunteer at a race, build or maintain a trail, advocate for bicycle safety, or volunteer or donate to a youth cycling organization such as NICA. Find something that you are especially passionate about and put your passions to good use. The warm feeling you get from your efforts is the best payment you could receive.
8. Invest in a training plan
Too many people think that they have to reach a certain level before they can hire a coach or get a training plan. A good coach or the right plan should be able to meet your current fitness level. In 2021 commit to a training plan. You can keep it simple and purchase a generalized 8-week training plan just to give you some structure and ideas for your workouts or you can go the whole 9 yards and hire a personal coach. It’s a coach’s job to help you improve so stop selling yourself short and thinking you aren’t good enough yet to have one.
9. Do something you’ve never done before
Plan to do at least one thing you have never done before. If you’ve never done a century, build up and get it done. If you’ve never raced, try signing up for an event. This could be trying a new discipline such as mountain biking or cyclocross, or completing more elevation gain in a single ride than ever before. Make sure to complete at least one ‘first’ this year.
10. Connect with your community
Last but not least, connect with your cycling community. This past year probably included more solo adventures than ever before and far less group rides and gatherings. I think we all hope that 2021 will present a safer environment to connect with fellow riders. Start by finding your local groups online and joining your local cycling forums and Facebook pages. As restrictions loosen and we get the green light, seek out your community for group rides or add a new member to your community by introducing someone to the sport.
Remember that the reason we set these goals and resolutions is because we want to. We desire to better ourselves or challenge ourselves. When these resolutions become challenging come June or July or even just the end of January, remember the purpose behind your resolution and get back on the saddle.