The tradition of New Year’s resolutions is said to have started when ancient Babylonians vowed to their gods in the beginning of each year that they would give back borrowed objects and pay debts. Today, New Year's resolutions are most commonly practiced in the West, and are typically an act of self-improvement. In December of 2013, the University of Scranton published a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology that found just 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their resolution. Despite this, millions of Americans continue making resolutions each year, myself included. Do you ring in the New Year with a new personal goal, too?
A couple of years ago, I decided to set personal mountain biking goals at the beginning of each year. I found it was a great way to reflect on the past year’s two-wheeled adventures. Once I discovered what I accomplished and what I fell short of, I planned ahead for the next year. Did I hope to master a specific skill? Did I want to take my mountain bike on a vacation with me? Did I wish to stay fit during the cold, winter months?
I find that setting goals helps me to become a better mountain biker. If you’re looking to better yourself on the bike, too, take a look at this list for possible New Year’s resolution ideas.
Train During The Off Season - Strength training in the off-season will help to keep you in top shape once you break your bike out again come spring. Add a strength training program to your week so your exercise routine doesn’t have to end when warm weather does. Check out this article for tips from a personal trainer on how to start up a muscle building program. Or this one to learn about the benefits of weight training in the cycling population, conditions it can help prevent and potential complications. Looking to focus on one area in particular? Try honing in on your core.
Sign Up For A Race – Why not pencil an event on your calendar to work towards next year? Never participated in a mountain bike race before? Sign up and see what it’s all about. I remember the exact point in time I took steps to make the idea of racing something more than just an exciting concept. Find a local event that sounds fun and register. To quell your nerves before the big day, read this article on learning how to prepare for your first race.
Bike To Work – I always wanted to ride my bike to work and never did. I always had an excuse: it was too many miles away, the weather wasn’t ideal, a proposed bike path had yet to be built, etc., etc., etc. Now that I work from home, I lost my commuting opportunity. (Call the waaambulance, I know.) These days, I try to commute to other close-to-home spots, like the grocery store, post office and friends’ houses.
Master A Skill – Do you always stop when you come to a log crossing? Do you dismount when you reach the top of a tricky descent? This year, attempt to pedal over an obstacle before getting off your bike to walk. The more you practice that skill the better you’ll become, until eventually you master it!
Join a Group Ride – Sick of mountain biking by yourself? Even if you don’t know anyone who mountain bikes now, chances are your city, town or surrounding area has a group of bikers that meet for weekly rides. Join the group next time they gather and you’ll make new friends who are always up for a two-wheeled foray into the woods.