Monday, December 10, 2012

Little Goals

Some days are harder than others, and it is becoming more and more apparent the magnitude of the commitment I have made.  In a nutshell, to make 11,000 miles in a year, I will have to ride, without fail, 30 miles a day, every day, for 365 days.  Now of course, there are some days that I simply won't be able to ride.  Work may dictate my schedule, and I have a five year old, and he comes first.  But, that will simply mean that if I miss a ride, I will need to make the following rides longer or I will have to "bank" miles by doing longer rides prior to an anticipated day off from riding.  This last Saturday, I scoped out a 15 mile route that I plan on riding in mornings before work for about an hour (5am-6am) daily.  Add on longer weekend rides, some ultra-races (12/24hrs), 100 milers, and commuting, and the numbers are very doable. 

Physically, that is.

You see, depression has a way of pushing you away from the things you love -- family, friends, and things you love to do, and I love cycling.  Sure, my depression is treated, and I am waaaaay better off than when I was undiagnosed.  However, depression isn't something that gets squashed and you never hear from it again as long as you take your medication.  It lingers just below the surface and as emotions and environmental factors ebb and flow, it has a tendency to peek its head up above the surface and remind you that it is still there.

That was the case last Saturday.  I didn't want to ride my bike.  I didn't have anything else to do.  I just didn't want to ride and the whole idea of getting into my bike clothes with the stupid little colors and the stupid Spandex, and those ridiculous shoes just seemed like a complete exercise in frivolity.  It seemed like such a better idea to go take a nap and, I dunno, waste time on Facebook.  On top of that, I felt snappy, and just irritable.  Blah.

Yet, I've learned a lot about this disease, and I know how to recognize when it is exhibiting itself, and more importantly, how to give it a good smack down from time to time.  

Here I was, needing to get on the bike to ride (I have a race in February -- need to train!), but not wanting to get my butt on the saddle.  So, I initiated the "gift" strategy.  The gift strategy is a little trick I play on my mind to get myself training, but with a limited perceived goal.  Something easily attainable that makes that negative little influence have very little to protest.  So, I told myself that I would ride, but only ride 5 miles.  That's nothing, and amounts to about 20 minutes of riding.  Of course, you know the ending to this story... Once I am out riding and on the bike, 5 miles gives way to 10, then finally 17 miles for the day.  Not a record setting distance, but a good hour workout and much better than taking a nap.  Although, I do have to say, depression or not, I do like naps.  Happy naps though, not depressed naps.

Moral of the story?  Well, it applies to really anyone who needs a little extra motivation to do something physical.  When you know you need to train, workout, or just work on something, whittle the mountain down to a mole hill and reduce the size of the goal to something you can wrap your mind around.  No, limiting the goal doesn't mean nap time, but what it does mean is make the goal look and feel like something easy.  Once you get started, you will almost certainly do more than you planned, and every minute and every mile you go beyond your goal, the more you succeed beyond your expectations.  That is awesome therapy and a great positive moment to put a heel onto whatever is trying to demotivate you.

Little goals can lead to big successes.  Score one for perseverance.

1 comment:

  1. I take a very similar approach... there are days where I just can't get myself to clean around the house, work out, read... etc. I'll tell myself, "Well, just clean the bathroom or read a couple of pages. You don't need to do more than that." Once I get into the swing of it, I tend to do more and feel better after.