Last year, I set some of my most ambitious goals ever. They centered around the two big races I planned to do and required scoring good results. So of course, when things didn’t go as planned, or I completely choked, I felt pretty down about myself.
This year, I’m changing the TYPE of resolutions that I’m setting. Instead of outcome-based goals, I’m focusing on process-oriented goals. Also, instead of just becoming a better rider in a physical sense, I also want to be a better rider in terms of attitude and spirit (see goal #1). These resolutions should be more sustainable long-term, and improve my happiness and health.
2024 Cycling Goal #1: Wave at People
With one simple gesture, I will thaw the icy walls I've built around my heart.
Do you wave at other cyclists? I usually only wave if waved at first. However, I’m ashamed to admit that I often don’t wave back. What the heck is wrong with me?
To be clear, I don’t believe anyone is obligated to wave at another cyclist. There’s no point in complaining about not getting waves from other riders. But if I think about the reasons why I don’t wave, they’re pretty silly. Mostly, I just feel awkward. Waving feels lame and I’m worried about feeling rejected if I don’t get a wave back. Silly, right? I’m a grown man acting and thinking like a teenager.
This year, I want to get over my hang ups by waving at EVERYONE.
When I say everyone, I mean everyone — roadies, gravel riders, mountain bikers, triathletes, commuters, E-bike riders, recumbent riders, unicyclists, people cruising on hybrids, kids on department store bikes, that guy clearly riding because he lost his license — if you’re outside pedaling, you’re my friend and ally, and you’re getting a wave.
I actually started practicing my waving last month. As you’d probably expect, most riders don’t wave back. I felt super self-conscious about it at first, but it barely phases me now. If I do get a wave back, it feels great. Sometimes the other rider is super stoked and the joy waving creates is palpable. The best part? Waving costs me nothing.
It’s too easy for me to succumb to negativity in my life, which helps no one. I don’t need other riders to wave back. I just need to keep expressing my love for cycling. Maybe that love will spread.
2024 Cycling Goal #2: Improve My Sleep Hygiene
My Garmin is always calling me out. I'll work on it.
I’m a performance-focused rider, but I often neglect the one thing that will probably improve my riding the most: good sleep. According to my Garmin watch, I get about 4-6 hours of low quality sleep most nights. That is BAD.
I have two main problems. First, I suffer from “revenge bedtime procrastination.” I like to stay up late to make up for a lack of leisure time during busy days. Second, I’m addicted to screens. As a result, I sleep like crap, and everything in my life, not just cycling, suffers.
I’ve been experimenting with tweaking my sleep habits for a few weeks by setting a strict 10 P.M. bedtime and wearing a sleep mask to force myself to put the screens down at night. (My newest sleep mask also has built-in Bluetooth headphones to play white noise.)
Making these changes has been super hard, but I’m improving. When I do succeed and get 8+ hours of sleep, wow… I feel invincible. Sleeping well could help me finally perform the way I do in my dreams. Hopefully, I have more good nights than bad nights this year.
2024 Cycling Goal #3: Keep Improving Hip Mobility
Sitting on the bike shouldn't hurt. Playing with your kid shouldn't hurt either.
I’ve been working at a desk for decades and it has destroyed my hip mobility. I came to this realization one day when my son asked me to play with him on the living room floor. I lasted about 10 minutes before my legs went numb with pain. Similarly, I’d been noticing more discomfort on the bike during long rides.
What can I do to fix this? Here’s my easy 2-part plan:
- Sit on the floor more often. Sit with legs crossed for as long as possible when playing with my kid, watching TV, reading, or doing work.
- Stretch more regularly. Stretch after rides and runs or before bed.
Improving hip mobility was actually one of my resolutions last year, and it's also the only one I managed to keep. Incorporating more floor sitting and regularly doing an easy ~10-minute hip mobility routine (there are tons on YouTube) after rides has led to huge gains.
Not only am I more comfortable on the bike, but I’m also much more comfortable during long car rides, chopping vegetables for dinner, crawling under my car for oil changes, and carrying my kid around at the zoo. My once-fragile lower back has seemingly de-aged. I'm going to keep at it because improving my hip mobility has improved my whole life.
2024 Cycling Goal #4: Curb My Bike Addiction
Hi, my name is Bruce, and I'm an addict...
You all know I love geeking out over new bike gear. Getting new gear is a lot of fun, but holy crap, it absolutely wrecks my wallet and it creates a lot of waste. This year, I’ve decided to enter a new period of austerity and sustainability. The rules are simple:
- Don’t buy new gear unless I absolutely need it to ride.
- Use the gear I have now until it’s worn out.
Do I want to buy new tires? Yes, always. Do I need new tires right now? No, all the tires on my bikes have plenty of life left. The same goes for riding kits. My drawer of cycling kits is overflowing. Similarly, I don’t need any new pedals, new shoes, new helmets, or new head units. I just need to chill. And all my bikes? They’re all fine. Surely, I can survive a year without getting another new bike… right?
I have a suspicion though that this will be the hardest resolution for me to keep…
Do you have any good cycling-related resolutions for 2024? I’m on a major self-improvement kick and would love to hear (and maybe steal) some of your resolutions!