I rode my bike for the first time this year today, barely managing to get my seat in the saddle before January ends. When I cut images of women on bikes from magazines and pasted them onto my vision board, I vowed to make a few solid changes to my daily routines. Riding bikes feels like play and I get that giddy high that comes from endorphins and spending time in the woods. Plus I’d get fit, I figured.
How had almost a month passed and I hadn’t gotten on my bike? Maybe the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures were to blame, or the muddy conditions left in their wake. Probably, though, my general tendency to hibernate until spring unfolds was the culprit.
I’m not alone. One third of resolutions don’t make it past the end of January and over half of resolutions fail over the course of a year. Even as I doubted that resolutions really work, I felt a pang of guilt every time I walked past my mountain bike propped up on the screened porch as I rushed out the door to meet a work deadline or pick up my son on time. I missed riding bikes with my friends, reminding me of something important – riding bikes wasn’t a chore, I actually wanted to get out there.
Looking to make a long-lasting change was going to require more than pasting a photo of someone else riding her bike. It was going to require me to make room in my already busy schedule. I wasn’t going to go far or ride anything tough, I just had to get started again, reminding myself that any ride would be better than sitting in front of my computer.
I pulled out my calendar and added group rides, making them sacred, uninterruptable time the way work and time with my son are. If a ride was on my calendar, I wouldn’t bail if I didn’t feel in the mood or wasn’t particularly motivated. I’d put on my biking clothes, pump up my tires and meet the group at the trailhead.
Getting to the trailhead was the most difficult part of riding. Once on my bike, the miles rolled by as I caught up with friends and met new ones, sharing rides we’d love and ones we wanted to tackle this year. The searing burn in my hamstrings subsided as I found a groove, one pedal stroke at a time.
Big smiles and high-fives were shared, and I remembered the power of making a plan and sticking to it.