Accurate commitment is something I have been passionate about since I started coaching cycling. In a world where the general advice about commitment seems to be “you have to be 100% committed to achieve your goals”, it’s hard for my “no you don’t” to make sense or be generally accepted.
Covered in this blog
- Why you can't be 100% committed (unless you're a pro)
- Why you can (& should) still have athletic dreams
- Why realistic goals are incredibly important
- How to be a realistically committed athlete
You’re not a professional athlete
First of all, if you are a professional athlete, or chasing a dream that is going to be nearly impossible, then you probably do need to accept that less than 100% commitment will result in failure. However, if your targets include any of the following, I suggest 100% commitment is just another load of crap you should stop listening to:
- Having the choice of riding inside or outdoors
- Enjoying riding in the sunshine
- Avoiding riding in the rain
- Riding with your friends
- Riding to a cafe stop
- Eating cake at the cafe stop
- Enjoying the occasional ‘cheat’ meal
- Enjoying the occasional alcoholic drink
- Skipping a session because of; work, family, sickness or other
- Enjoying cycling
This is just a short selection of many of the sacrifices you might have to make as you pursue 100% commitment. You might want to think about your situation and circumstances and add some more of your own.
Now I get that, in reality, if you are chasing an almost impossible goal, you might still achieve it (thus proving me wrong) if you have the occasional slice of cake, and there are probably a few people reading this that will be thinking that they have achieved their dreams while not sacrificing everything on this list. To that my answer is simply “you didn’t dream big enough”. Ultimately, you achieved your ‘dreams’, but you could have committed more and achieved even greater. You still weren’t 100% committed.
Why you shouldn’t give up your dreams
When I present on this topic, I always get a few worried faces. Some people take it so far as to say I’m trying to stop people from trying to reach their dreams. Well I’m not, I’m just disrupting the falsity that we have to be 100% committed to everything we do. Today's modern amateur athlete has more to worry about than their athletic dreams (see work; money; family; food; fun; work again; global pandemics; health in general; neighbours cat pooping on their lawn; you name it).
It’s like being a perfectionist; nothing is ever good enough. If you burden yourself with this belief that you must be 100% committed to reach your dreams, you will burden yourself with all the times you fail to be 100% committed. Give yourself a break and enjoy the journey, being realistic about what you can actually achieve and what your dreams are.
Why your goals are incredibly important
Here is where you need to take a very objective look at yourself and what you want to achieve. If you are aiming for Olympic success, Tour de France wins or anything that only a small handful of people can actually achieve, put down the cake and get back on the bike. If you are doing something challenging, but ultimately not impossible, you should be fine to enjoy the journey a little more.
How can you tell? You can use a combination of your previous data and experiences together with what you know about your goals and dreams to determine how likely you are to succeed. You can then make an educated guess at just how committed you have to be.
The magic happens when you correlate how committed you need to be with how committed you think you can be (use my list above, adding some more limiters that relate to you). If you believe you can still be successful in your goals, great! If you are concerned that it is close, you can use this knowledge to be a little bit more strict with yourself, like accountability and motivation. If you are now seriously scared you will fail, you might simply need to reassess your goals. That is fine and reassessing your goals is far better than complete failure or quitting when you start to realise you’ve over-committed.
Giving up the idea that you have to be 100% committed to achieve your dreams will allow your mental state much more freedom. Having an accurate idea of what you can and can’t do, while still achieving your goals, will ensure that you are actually more likely to achieve them. We all know too many people who quit because it gets too hard - the truth is that it was never too hard, most of them just over-committed to the goals than what was realistic.
Break the stigma with me and enjoy riding your bike and achieving your dreams!
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