The following is an excerpt from an upcoming book on technology, distraction, and why training simply is the most effective way to improve your cycling. To get updates and follow the progress of the book please sign up for our newsletter.
Once you’ve committed to organizing your thoughts, the next step is to build a system by which your intentions are most likely to become actions.
Whatever your goals on the bike, strengthening your relationship with a calendar is a simple way to improve your chances of making cycling progress.
A calendar can help facilitate the strategy of Implementation Intention (II). II is a method of recording the when, where, and how you plan to do something .
Here are a few examples:
- I will ride on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 3:30 PM and 5 PM.
- I will plan my meals for the upcoming week on Sundays at 3 PM.
- I will prep my bike, clothes, and food for the next morning’s ride at 7 PM tonight.
II is effective because it strengthens the associative link between your intent to train and the logistics required to make training happen [2, 3].
The more specifically you outline your intention, the greater likelihood your commitment to the future will stick .
Utilizing a Calendar
Here are a few suggestions for using a calendar to make II a habit in your training.
- Utilize a block scheduling approach. You can take this to the extreme by scheduling every moment of your day, but I’ve had success keeping it simple and only scheduling the biggest chunks of my life. Work time, family time, free time, and training. Block scheduling helps keep my life simple, reassuring me that my diverse priorities are always represented whenever I pull up my calendar.
- Review your calendar appointments the day before. This review process allows me to reevaluate my future intentions, increasing the chance I’ll make good on all my commitments.
- Don’t wait to enter events into your calendar. Try to get in the habit of immediately entering details for future events as soon as they come across your radar. A calendar works best when you know it’s airtight, containing every obligation without fail.
- Schedule your free time. The more intentional you are about how you spend your time, the more likely you’ll participate in activities that aid in your recovery (mentally and physically). Better recovery means greater enthusiasm and energy for future training.
- Gollwitzer, P.M. and P. Sheeran, Implementation Intentions and Goal Achievement: A Meta‐analysis of Effects and Processes, in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. 2006, Academic Press. p. 69-119.
- Kompf, J., Implementation Intentions for Exercise and Physical Activity: Who Do They Work For? A Systematic Review. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2020. 17(3): p. 349.
- Wieber, F., J.L. Thurmer, and P.M. Gollwitzer, Promoting the translation of intentions into action by implementation intentions: behavioral effects and physiological correlates. Front Hum Neurosci, 2015. 9: p. 395.
- Robinson, S.A., et al., Time for change: using implementation intentions to promote physical activity in a randomised pilot trial. Psychol Health, 2019. 34(2): p. 232-254.