August 1, 2022

RIDE LIKE A GIRL: Setting Goals

Back in late May I went on a pretty epic adventure with one of my closest riding buddies to Moab, UT.  She and I spent 4 days riding The White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park.  The entire route was 80 miles with 3 overnights in the desert.  

I went into the ride with zero idea of what I was getting myself into aside from the knowledge that I was going to have to train by getting myself and my body ready for long and very hot days on a mountain bike.

It was the adventure of a lifetime.

It was also the hardest thing I have ever done.

Having something I was working towards set me up with something to accomplish, but I also really needed to amp up my time on the bike and my fitness level in order to do so. 

I hired a personal trainer for weight training, muscle toning, and mobility.  With her help I determined approximately how many miles each week I needed to be riding to give this challenge everything I had.

As I sweated out every ounce of water I had in my body under the unrelenting desert sun, breathing heavily, legs working to keep rolling forward on some of the steepest terrain I have ever climbed on a bike; I thought a lot - because what else can you do when you’re alone on your bike working hard?

Now, I know not everyone has the option to train the way I did or travel to the desert to find themselves on the bike, but everyone does have the ability to set a goal and work towards it.  In a world filled with information and having that information right at our fingertips leaves us with little excuse to not work on ourselves and our bodies.

Where there is a will there's a way.

Personally, I am motivated to contribute to the world I live in.  Goal setting, and then developing the discipline to do what it takes to achieve the goal helps shape and soften me.  When I show up for myself to grow and evolve my life to the best of my ability - to achieve even a small slice of something that fills me with a sense of pride in myself - that eventually translates out into my world in a positive way.

This I call a win.

As I rode my bike in this amazingly dry and expansive landscape, I spent a lot of time thinking about discipline.

What could I have done differently? How could I have prepared better?

Sometimes the word discipline elicits expectations. Expectation is a scary scary voice that nags at all of us. When we don’t live up to our own expectations then that creates what can feel like a set back.  

I’m a fan of flexibility.

If the goal I have set for myself is not working and the expectation I have for myself is falling short rather than feeling bad about it I take a hard look at what is working and what isn’t.

Then?

I ADJUST THE PLAN ACCORDINGLY.

It really is that simple.

I try my best to stay focused on the goal.  If it turns out that the goal needs tweaking then I adjust the goal.

What I don’t do is throw the whole idea out the window the first time it gets hard or I hit a snag. This is when discipline and the willingness to trust the process becomes most vital.

This is when the commitment to the goal is truly tested.

Meanwhile, I also have to examine those gross attachments to my ideas and expectations. Funny enough, I usually do this on the bike. It happens on those days when I don’t really want to even be on a bike. But I know I’ll feel better after I go for a ride, so I make myself get on anyhow.. you know those rides too, right? I love and hate them.

I want to live a healthy lifestyle.

I want my life to be full of living.

I want to have a lifetime of adventures.  I imagine most people do in some capacity.

In order to lead the life I want, I know there are things I have to set into motion.  

Excuses for me are not optional.

Discipline is imperative.

It isn’t easy - ever.

It’s not supposed to be.

That’s what makes doing hard things worthwhile.  They make us stronger.  They test our conviction to ourselves.

When I show up for myself, simple things like going for a walk after work, or doing a quick mobility set on my living room floor eventually become habits that improve the quality of the rest of my life.  This in turn, contributes to the way I try to give to the world around me.

The better I take care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually, the better I can care for those I love, which is my most important goal.

I finished the trip on my bike.

I walked a fair amount.

I struggled.

There are parts of that trip I am still working through emotionally.  In many ways it broke me down - exactly as it should have and it gave me a mental fresh start.

There was a lot of time to think while traversing that magical landscape.

I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

I WILL do it again sometime in the future or at least something like it.  

For now, I have not yet figured out what the next big thing will be for me, but with the habits I developed while training for my most recent adventure I’m still growing stronger.  My mobility is improving.  My ability to ride further continues to improve.  I’m still showing up to train because it has now become an important part of how I tend to myself.  Most importantly I feel good inside and out.

I’m on the hunt for my next big challenge.

I hope you are too.

~ Sarah Hubbard

@listening.to.silence

www.listeningtosilence.com