Goal setting – How to keep a growth mindset

As it’s a new year, and a new decade, its likely that a you’ve been looking ahead and setting goals.

Last year I set myself a goal to cycle 6000 miles by the end of the year. It was a target I missed the year before but would be my highest annual mileage ridden. I like to set an annual mileage goal as it helps me to commit to getting out regularly. This in turn helps me achieve some of my other goals around keeping fit and healthy, riding long distances and encouraging others to ride.

I surprised myself and had achieved that goal by autumn, and so I decided to up my target to 7000 miles. By the week before Christmas I was 350 miles short, and so cycled a lot on the days between Christmas and New Year. It was hard work, but I got it done – exceeding my previous highest annual total by 1200 miles. I felt awesome – although pretty tired as well.

On my last ride on New Years Eve, a friend of mine asked why I simply increased my goal, when I had already achieved my original target. He didn’t understand why I didn’t just take it easy and enjoy that I had ridden further than ever before. For me, the goal wasn’t something that I planned to be like a mountain that needed to be climbed, once it was done, that was it.  The goal was instead something specific to aim for that would keep me focused in my drive for much higher goals in 2020. If I had stopped at just 6000 miles, then I would subsequently undo all the good work and fitness I had gained, and be back to square one.

This single goal helped my growth mindset remain focussed, and so when I ticked off the initial goal early, it simply meant that I had been successful and surpassed my own expectations.  In turn that gave me even more confidence to set yet higher targets.  It was a tough last week as I decided to make sure I hit the magic 7000. At a time of year when we tend to sit back and enjoy all the extra food and relaxation, it reminded me that I still have the tenacity to go for what I want.

Are all your goals static?  Or have you set goals that will help you to grow towards who you want to be?  Are you prepared to move the goal if you achieve early? 

If you are not sure whether your goals are challenging enough, consider setting a smaller goal, and then reassess when you reach it to determine what the longer term goal should be.

A good example might be for someone who wants to take part in Ride London next August, but doesn’t own a bike, and hasn’t ridden since they were a child.  Going from zero to hero in this context can seem quite daunting, so maybe setting a smaller, achievable goal is a better way to start. Maybe you will commit to being able to ride a 40 mile ride in 3 months time.  And by doing that you will start by riding your bike locally 3 days a week, and joining a beginners cycling group.  In 3 months time, once you have completed your 40 mile big ride, you can then focus on getting ready for your 100 mile ride in August.

When you ride your event in August, will you then just lock your bike in the garage and never ride it again?  I would hope not. The focus of getting ready for the big event should have had lots of positive unintended consequences.  You may have new friends, you are likely to be fitter and healthier, and have found new places to go. You are likely to have a whole new expanded social circle, putting the bike away risks losing all of this.

So if you are setting goals for the year ahead aimed at helping you grow, be prepared to flex them if you achieve early, or find they are not challenging enough. The way to grow is by challenging yourself and moving forwards, and that means always moving towards what it is you are looking for.

If you want yet more inspiration about women’s cycling, why not head over to Top women’s cycling blogs, where this blog has now been included.

Have a great 2020!

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