As we have discussed before, fitness goals can be incredibly motivating and yield impressive results. They can also become frustrating or disappear into obscurity if you don’t have a plan to see them through after the initial enthusiasm wanes.
Thankfully, with the help of a few smart strategies and tools, you can set yourself up for success and ensure that you don’t fall off the fitness bandwagon come February. We are here to point you in the direction of some great online resources, from dedicated cycling apps to time-management tools, that can serve as a coach or support buddy when the going gets tough.
Before we dig into the tools, though, let’s go over some guiding strategies so you can approach these little helpers with the right mindset.
Give yourself the pleasure of celebrating small wins: We all know how triumphant and motivating it feels to meet a goal. Likewise, we have all experienced the deflating sensation of coming up short. Goals aren’t reached overnight, and it can be hard to stay on track when the road ahead looks long. Beat the ennui by breaking your fitness journey into smaller milestones. Every time you hit a minor target, make the space to feel proud and remind yourself that you are one (celebration-worthy) step closer to where you want to be.
Never lose track of your why: Write it down, stick it on your mirror, make it the background on your phone, tattoo it on your forehead (OK, maybe that is too far) but seriously — the number one way to stay on track is to keep reminding yourself why you set the goal in the first place. From being a fiercer racer, avoiding a potentially chronic health condition or having more energy to run around after your kids, let your why be the north star that guides you into the saddle when an extra hour of sleep feels oh so tempting.
Create habits that support your goal: Achieving a big goal will likely require more than sheer willpower. What do I mean? If you want to up your turbo sessions from two to four or even five times a week, you will need to adapt your lifestyle to accommodate the change. That might mean packing a high-protein and high-fibre snack for work each day, increasing your consumption of liquids or talking to your spouse about how you manage the kids’ bedtime routine. Whatever the case, don’t assume everything will fall into place on its own. Implementing some simple new habits can go a long way to ensuring the time you invest on your bike will yield the rewards you are looking for.
Have the right tools on hand to help you
Fitness and training apps, time trackers, and regular mindfulness practice are all great allies in your cycling journey. So let’s look at how they can support you and your unique fitness goals.
Unlock the full potential of Strava
If you spend much time on We Love Cycling, you know we are fans of Strava. It is affordable, has an active community aspect, and can easily sync to other devices so you can record your performance metrics. Did you know that you can also create custom goals and training plans to monitor your progress further? Beyond just tracking your weekly rides — take advantage of these features! Set aside time to design a custom training plan and set goals for distance, time, and elevation.
Tapping into the community aspect can also be a great way to stay motivated. The ability to share photos and comments with friends, find local clubs or even engage in a bit of friendly competition with other users is the perfect way to keep your goals fresh as the months wear on.
Use MapMyRide to cycle the route less travelled
If you love to ride outside but struggle with the monotony of riding the same route over and over, you will do well to invest in the very reasonably priced app, MapMyRide. It is a great app that focuses on cycling and boasts all the essential features, including performance metrics, goals and training plans, and GPS tracking. Notably, it also provides new cycling routes to help you keep your fitness routine fresh and varied. Like Strava, there is a community aspect to MapMyRide, so you can stay in touch with pals and see their cycling records. Another nice touch is the enhanced level of individualisation this app offers.
Understand where the time goes with an easy-to-use tracker
Using a habit tracker or a manual notes app to acknowledge whether you met your daily training goals is a great way to note patterns, determine what works for you, and build sustainable habits. The Strides app is one we are a big fan of, and it can help you make a perfect routine to track and organise your goals. In addition to your workout schedule, you can use it to build other healthy habits and prioritise what matters. You can customise the requirements rapidly, set targets, and even analyse the data to make adjustments when necessary.
Keep motivation high with custom to-do lists
We all benefit from a little positive reinforcement. Streaks App lets you create motivational to-do lists so you can stay on top of everything from walking the dog to clocking miles on your turbo trainer. Helping you to prioritize according to your current goals, this mobile to-do list sends you daily tasks and helps you work in balance. It also issues reminders when specific goals are being neglected (and a few words of encouragement to help you get back at it).
Stay mindful, stay healthy, stay focused
Mindfulness is a worthwhile practice for anyone who wants to get more from their time and feel better while doing it. It is also a brilliant tool for getting into the right mindset before a ride or calming yourself down so you can get a good night’s sleep before your morning workout. Headspace is one great option to help you get started. It is a guided meditation app that aims to calm your mind and establish a regular meditation practice. Having a personal mindfulness coach in your pocket sounds like a good idea to us!
Give yourself a day off and listen to a cycling podcast or read a cycling book
Finally, on those days when you simply cannot make it onto the bike due to time constraints, weather or pesky winter cold, you can still focus on your overall cycling goals by investing a bit of time in learning about the sport you love. Check out our reading and listening lists, find a cosy spot (if only for a few minutes), and don’t beat yourself up too much if you need to alter the week’s workout schedule. Consistency over time is what matters. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, and thankfully there is tons of excellent cycling content to help you build inspiration for when you are ready to get back out there and ride!