If We Were Riding’ is a weekly triathlon-ish newsletter written by Kelly O’Mara and produced by Live Feisty Media. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every Wednesday morning. You can also read past issues. This episode is from Jan. 2, 2019.
Say your goals out loud & proud
If you listened to last week’s podcast (or if you’ve ever met me IRL), you know I’m not a huge resolutions person. At least not in terms of arbitrarily evaluating your life on Jan. 1. I agree with Sarah True, too, that the word “resolutions” sounds so harsh, so critical, as if there is something wrong about yourself you must fix. I don’t have resolutions.
But goals? I definitely have goals.
I’ve also said previously: There are standard principles of good goal-setting. Especially in a sport context. Goals have to be specific. They have to also be flexible and within your control. For example, ‘I want to do good’ is a bad goal. What does that even mean? ‘I want to get second at this race’ is a common goal, but it’s also not great one, because you don’t have control over what anyone else does. It’s better to have ranges of goals and adjust — A, B, and C goals as people call them. Goals are supposed to be time-based, ie. this month, this year, this week. And you’re supposed to have process, not just outcome, goals. Things like: ‘I’m going to go as hard as I need in order to make the swim pack — which will get me on the podium.’ And working backwards, in order to achieve your goals along the way, you must have even smaller process goals. ‘I will swim six days/week. I will hit ‘x’ time in ‘y’ practice set, improving from now to three months from now.’
There is a school of thought that believes stating your goals makes them easier to hit. You can’t achieve what you haven’t articulated. Take it a step farther and there’s a school of thought that believes stating your goals publicly, putting them out there for the world, makes you accountable and creates a support network. At least you were brave enough to say, ‘this is what I want.’
I’m not sure how I feel about this. And, certainly, for the biggest star athletes, public goals can create added pressure and a firestorm of bullshit, full of critics and haters. (Which may or may not motivate you.)
Still, let’s try it. Here I will state my goals for the year — subject to change at will:
- I want a 70.3 Worlds spot. I certainly recognize I am capable of getting one and it’s a bit of a crapshoot in terms of who takes the spot at any given race. But I will put myself in a position to go after one.
- I will be on a pro podium. (And not like some massive 10-person podium and not at some tiny race.)
In order to do this, I know I need to:
- Get my shit sorted in my new spot.
- Fine-tune my bike efficiency and fit, and get set-up on my new bike within the month.
- Swim 6-7 days/week.
- Train more. I mean, probably.
What are your goals?
- I gave you my predictions for triathlon in 2019 and we expanded on those thoughts on the podcast. Slowtwitch, however, is apparently more optimistic than I am, according to an email I got with Dan Empfield’s predictions about the coming windfall. “Our sport is taking off again. I predicted in 2012 our sport would take a downturn for most of this decade and no one listened. I predicted last year that our downturn would end. Is anyone listening now?”
- Does everyone know how many miles and hours they did in 2018? Is the annual counting a weird byproduct of all our digital training now?
- There was a lot of exercise science research this year on the tiny biological changes and benefits from exercise. We’re only starting to understand it all. My prediction: When it comes to women + exercise, we’ll see even more research in the next few years.
- In case you were following the whole Steph Curry-girl fan shoe story, an update: He did send the shoes.
- In other news you may be following: Turns out you can’t shut down parks. You can, however, fuck them up by not staffing them.
- News this week of a duck who was once thought extinct reminded me of this New Yorker story on extinction. What have we wrought?
- In Tibet, basketball is huge.
- And just because everyone needs this oldie-but-goodie in their lives: The Rock for President!
Comments & thoughts
Some thoughts, emails, messages and notes from listeners and readers this week.
A lot of people wrote in to say we should stay “niche af.” Of course the people who think otherwise probably are keeping their thoughts to themselves…
Alexis says, “Selfishly, newish to traithlon, I NEED someone to explain all the crap, all the insider junk…Who will be that voice if you stop?”
Amanda says even for someone who may never do an Ironman, she doesn’t believe we’re too insider-y.
And Peter thinks the podcast sounds like “an actual conversation for and by people who love triathlon.” Which is good, since that’s sort of what we’re going for. 😉