And now I’m officially the insufferable biker guy. It was bound to happen and, frankly, I’m shocked it’s taken this long. I’ve barely put foot to pedal, but I can already sense the ground swell of ill-advised gear purchases and over-worked quadriceps. I’ll be the guy with a basket full of almond milk and protein gel in front of you at whole foods wearing a skin-tight, lime green unitard and reeking of fresh lower back sweat. I’m excited about my new life as a hedonistic bike rider, but one question still remains:
Will my enthusiasm last?
It’s happened before. Actually, it always happens. I get worked up over making some significant change in my life that will alter the trajectory of everything. It happened when I learned the guitar. It happened when I got into architecture school. It happened when I started this blog and wrote an article a day for two months before leaving it to die a slow, unceremonious death at the hands of my complacency. Who’s to say it won’t happen to my high hopes of ushering in a new era of bike fitness?
I hate to prognosticate too much, because following these types of mental threads can be damaging to the very thing I’m trying to achieve. By my patters are worth noting in case you’re wondering – like I wondered – why I keep getting stuck?
It’s quite common, actually. We follow up an epiphany moment with two days of gung-ho excitement then a week of maligned interest before the very thing that we had such hopes for disappears like a fart in a hurricane. How can something that can provided such vigor and intense motivation so quickly evaporate?
It’s a matter of forward momentum. That first exciting light bulb propels us into taking action, giving us hope that positive change is just around the corner. We think the change will happen overnight, and when it doesn’t we get discouraged and slip back into our own self-deprecating cycle of why me’s and it wasn’t meant to be’s. Any tiny bump in the road kills momentum and it becomes almost impossible to get started in the right direction again.
So, how do we prevent this?
It’s one of those easy in theory, difficult in practice sort of deals, unfortunately. There are no easy answers when it comes to making significant changes in your life. First, you have to dial back your expectations from “lottery ticket” to “two for one taco Tuesdays.” That initial epiphany moment is a spark to get your britches burning – nothing else. The rest of the journey requires a lot more work, and it has to start with your attitude.
So, my attitude towards being a freshly anointed bike owner? I’m going to have to except the fact that I’m not a few rides away from climbing the Pyrenees and understand how hard it’s going to be at first. I went on my first ride today for a few miles up a slight incline and I thought my thighs were going to burn a hole through my skinny jeans. Normally that form of resistance would send me straight to the couch with a pint of Cherry Garcia and a spatula. Not this time, brain!
Fight the urge to relegate your habits back to the things that made you unhappy. Epiphanies come in many shapes and sizes, so whatever the life change your hell bent on making today, set yourself up to be hell bent on making it tomorrow, too. You’ll find that the more you move in the direction of change, the easier it gets, and the more galvanized you’ll be towards the inevitable obstacles.
When the journey gets tough, keep your ass in the saddle and your feet on the pedals. Write that down.