For the past handful of years we’ve created a thread on the Singletracks forum to share our goals for the new year, and to update each other on the progress we’ve made. But to be honest, I’ve never been a fan of new year’s resolutions–mountain biking or otherwise. I think you should skip the New Year’s resolutions in 2015, too. Here’s why:
By definition, your new year’s resolution will end at the end of the year… if it lasts that long.
While I may be anti-new year’s resolutions, I’m very much in favor of setting goals and changing your life for the better. So if something is worth doing for a year, why isn’t it worth doing for the rest of your life? Even if you DO make it all the way through 2015 with your resolution, having an end date gives you an excuse to quit after the year is over. Personally I think that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing indefinitely.
If something needs to change in your life, then change it NOW.
While I’m currently writing this post at the beginning of 2015, you could reach this post via search engine or social media at any point in the future… heck, for all I know this combination of words we call an “article” could exist in cyberspace for millennia to come! With that in mind, whenever you do read this article, I’d like to encourage you to start changing your life for the better NOW. There’s no reason to wait until the beginning of a new year to make a goal: you can decide to make a change right here, right now, in this moment. You could determine that you want to ride 100 miles on your mountain bike. You could decide to ride your mountain bike 5 days a week. Maybe today is the day you actually start eating right… the sky is the limit, so don’t limit yourself by thinking you have to wait to change your life. YOU are in control.
New year’s resolutions aren’t conducive to mountain biking.
One of the big problems for us mountain bikers is that setting a biking resolution in the dead of winter is tantamount to setting ourselves up for failure. Even if you fat bike regularly, it’s still winter in the northern hemisphere, and chances are good summer is still the “on” riding season for you. (Even if you live in the southern hemisphere, January isn’t the beginning of spring… so at best, you’d be half way through your ideal riding season.) What you think your goals should be for the upcoming riding season could very well change by the time spring rolls around. Or, if you set some sort of goal such as riding every single day, the hardest part will be getting through January-March… and you may get sidelined before you even begin. Maybe instead of setting a mountain biking goal in January, you should wait until May to decide what you want to do with your season.
Your goals could change throughout the year.
Seriously now: a year is a really long time. What you think you might want to do in 2015 could very well change by the time July rolls around. Why get trapped into trying to fulfill a goal that you made in haste because it’s culturally expected of you? Instead, be willing to flex, by changing and modifying what your goals or dreams are as the year progresses.
Even if you don’t make a new year’s resolution, you should still set goals.
As I mentioned above, I’m a big fan of setting goals and changing your life for the better. Personally, I’ve taken to setting goals for myself and evaluating them on a roughly 6-month time table. Sure, the beginning of one of those 6-month periods roughly coincides with the beginning of the year, but giving myself the freedom to reevaluate in June is liberating. Also, taking the time to reflect on my goals and what I want to change about myself at least a few times a year helps me to center and focus my efforts. Oftentimes I’ll find that I’ve quickly and easily made progress on certain goals, but have made almost no steps towards attaining other goals. This allows me to shift my focus throughout the year to work on the parts of my life that need the most work–and *gasp* maybe that’s not even mountain biking some of the time!
As 2015 begins with a bang, I wish you the greatest of success in achieving the goals that you set for mountain biking and life! But I encourage you to think about the points I’ve made above, and to not get trapped into a pointless New Year’s resolution. So get out there and shred, and start changing your life NOW!
I agree on many points, Greg! Mainly that goals are better than resolutions and you (the person making the goal) should decide when to make it, not some calendar.
I think goals are better than resolutions because people work towards a goal (say smoke one less cigarette per day, per week) while a resolution (say quit smoking) sounds more like a finite idea to me. The person may slip once or twice with the smoking but as long as they’re still working towards the goal they’re good. Where as with the resolution, as soon as they have that cigarette, they’ve broken their resolution. (For all our young readers out there: I’ve found the easiest way to quit smoking is to never start!)
With the calendar part, I think it’s all in the person’s mind. When they’re ready to quit, they should take steps to quit, not because some calendar said “Now’s the time!”
That said, if they need the extra motivation by the calendar, then by all means, go with January 1st! Just keep striving for the goal.
I completely disagree with less mountain biking though, that’s crazy speak! 😆
Great advice! Thanks for chiming in, Jared!