THE MENTAL CYCLIST MANIFESTO
At the heart of THE MENTAL CYCLIST is a structured 12-stage program designed to help you become an expert in yourself and change your relationship with cycling
Unless you’re a world champion, you’ll always encounter people who are fitter, faster, slimmer, stronger, smarter or sexier than you. Which is why it’s time to stop comparing yourself to everybody else and work on your own self-esteem.
— Learn how to stop your critical mental voice obsessing over negative comparisons.
— Understand when your defence mechanisms are helpful, and when they’re really not.
— Enjoy the significant benefits of improved self-esteem.
SUSTAIN YOUR SUPERPOWER
Willpower is what you call upon to make yourself do something you don’t want to do. The more you don’t want to do it, the more willpower you need. Willpower can get you through just about anything… until, of course, it doesn’t. Here we find out why.
— We all have a persuasive inner voice that offers lovely alternatives to things we should be doing. Meet yours.
— Willpower is powerful, but it’s not ALL-powerful. It has an Achilles heel: doubt.
— Discover four essential weapons for bolstering your willpower.
MAXIMISE YOUR MOTIVATION
When you have to something tough to do, willpower sometimes wins. And sometimes it doesn’t. Is sometimes enough? We don’t think so. There’s a smarter way to get things done. Here’s where you discover what really motivates you… and what really doesn’t.
— Understand the difference between immediate gratification (Jam Today) and long-term rewards (Jam Tomorrow).
— Align your intrinsic and extrinsic motivators for maximum gains.
— Explore your physiological, psychological and experiential goals.
FEEL THE FUN
Discover which kind of cyclist you are under the Lycra, er, skin. Obviously you love riding your bike, but do you love it even more when you’re riding for a reason? If so, what motivates you more – a happy day in the saddle, or stunning stats?
— Professional cyclists don’t ride for fun. You can, and you should.
— Understand the problem with performance goals, and why they can make your miserable.
— Focus on fun. It actually makes you faster.
SQUASH THE SELF-CRITICISM
In this stage, you come face to face with your Cruel Critic. We all have one. It’s the nagging voice inside your head that assures you, with unrelenting conviction, that you’re crap. Too slow, too weak, too fat, too unfit, too… whatever.
— Understand how, when and why your Cruel Critic tries to bring you down.
— Recognise your personal triggers for negative self-talk, and how it affects you.
— Overcome your Cruel Critic with affirmations, mantras and mindfulness.
BIN THOSE LIMITING BELIEFS
Some people believe they’re smarter, stronger, sexier, funnier or cooler than they actually are. You’re not one of them. Limiting beliefs are much more common. They hold you back – on your bike and in life. And your Cruel Critic just loves to reinforce them. It’s time to change that for good.
— Understand the difference between knowledge and belief, and why it’s so important.
— Identify and tackle your limiting beliefs head-on. Some are untrue. Others may be true but don’t matter.
— Flip your thinking and focus on can, not can’t.
SHAKE OFF THE STRESS
Stress in cycling sucks. It makes you tense and miserable, and sucks the joy out of everything. But here’s the secret. Cycling doesn’t need to be stressful. The trick is understanding why you suffer stress – and knowing what to do about it.
— Understand why ‘stress’ isn’t the problem. It’s your emotional reaction to a situation that cause problems.
— Retrain your brain to cope differently with potential stressors.
— Learn to avoid binary thinking: good vs bad, success vs failure, triumph vs disaster.
THWART THE THREATS
A challenge is something you can overcome, like training a wayward puppy not to pee on the floor. A threat is something you probably can’t, like persuading a hungry bear to relinquish your chicken supper. It’s really important not to confuse the two.
— Positive thinking is an ally that can push you forwards, so long as it’s not just wishful thinking.
— Learn why achievement goals are so much more motivating than avoidance goals.
— Pushing beyond your comfort zone improves mental and physical performance, but only if the challenge level is just right for you.
DESIGN YOUR DEFENCES
If you worry too much, you might never leave the house. Don’t do that. Almost anything that can go wrong on a ride can be predicted. If you can predict it, you can plan for it. Do that, and you’ll be a lot more confident in your ability to handle any crisis.
— Develop smart if/then plans for every eventuality.
— Swap anxiety for strategy and be happier in the saddle.
— Learn how to choose your effort and design your attitude.
FIND YOUR FLOW
If your mind is somewhere else when you ride – if it’s focused on the destination, or a time target, or anything else other than what’s happening right now – then you won’t have a meaningful and enjoyable experience. But when you ride mindfully, every ride can be amazing.
— Understand why arbitrary targets can be self-defeating and self-destructive.
— Lose your attachment to outcomes.
— Find the magical balance between the degree of a challenge and your ability to do it.
ESCALATE YOUR EXPERTISE
Mental Cycling is about getting to know yourself better. A really powerful way to do that is by analysing your rides – what happened, how did you feel, what did you learn, what can you change, and so on. You might be in for a few surprises.
— Learn how to write reflective ride reports.
— If you’re taking the digital course, swap reports with a buddy to share and analyse one another’s learnings.
COMMIT TO YOUR CHALLENGE
Take everything you’ve learned on your journey as a Mental Cyclist and use it to design and commit to the most amazing, life-changing challenge of your life! It might be might be nailing KOMs in the Pyrenees, riding 100 miles for the first time, commuting to work, or racing around the world. Whatever it turns out to be, it will be exactly the right challenge for you.
— Explore the difference between ‘do’ goals (what you want to do) and ‘be’ goals (how you want to feel).
— Lose yourself in a visualisation that helps free your imagination and lets you design the cyclist you really want to be.
— Find your Mental Cycling Challenge, and commit to it 100%.
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