OPINION COLUMNS

Finding new motivation in a new year

By David Talley | Published Saturday, January 14, 2017
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I’m really not big on New Year’s resolutions. According to statisticbrain.com, only 9.2 percent of people who make resolutions feel they were successful in achieving them. They all seem to universally fail after crowding the gym for the first few months of the year. I dislike both failure and crowded gyms.

But after a pretty lackluster 2016, I’ve felt compelled to start the new year with a few loosely-worded goals. My solution to statistical likelihood of failure – aim low.

David Talley

David Talley

I rode my bike 6,162.6 miles over more than 412 hours in 2015. I won five individual bicycle races, including two against fields of professional riders. Those numbers paled in 2016 when I rode less than half of that – 2,851.7 miles at 182 hours. I competed in one bike race last year, finishing midpack in the lowest category. Since I started racing bicycles in 2012, I’ve only felt good about myself when I know I’m in good shape. The miles I log (I use the fitness/social media app Strava) are crucial to this. Last year’s lack of performance had a definite impact on my outlook on life.

Unfortunately, I’ll probably never have another 6,000-mile year if I plan to stay employed anywhere. Unlike college, full-time jobs just don’t offer the free time needed to train at that level, and I’m not motivated enough to ride at night or on my lunch break. But I can do better.

While I can’t always commit to the two hours needed for a short ride (this includes preparation, one-hour ride with 15 minutes of extra time in case of a flat tire or another emergency and time to clean up and shower afterward) daily, I can exercise in other ways. My goal this year isn’t to ride more, it’s to double the number of days I do something. That something can be defined as any form of exercise, indoor or outdoor.

So far, I’ve logged everything from yoga sessions to stalking deer at the family lease as forms of exercise. Looking back over the first two weeks of this year, I’ve got a check marked by almost every day and a more positive outlook on things. It may not be the same as training like an elite cyclist, but it’s good enough to keep me happy. This isn’t me trying to bring back the glory days of college racing. This is blazing a new trail.

I’ve also resolved to compete in at least one endurance event per month. That means setting a calendar and preparing and dieting for something for which I’ll have to wake up early, drive to and pay an entry fee. This can be anything from a charity 5K run to a mountain bike race.

I used to do this on a weekly basis during the fall and spring in college, and the constant travel and strict training schedule always seemed to keep me going to bed early and motivated to get through the week. The responsibilities of post-graduate life make this unsustainable, but I’m hoping a competition will keep me motivated to complete my first resolution.

Finally, I just want to get out of bed within 10 minutes of my alarm going off more often this year. It’s been an issue in the past, but I’m hoping to keep my unconscious mind on its toes by switching my alarm tone on a weekly basis.

Have a New Year’s resolution strategy you’d like to share? Shoot me an email and we’ll keep each other on task.

David Talley is a Messenger reporter.

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