Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lessons Learned #2 and #3 - Park Your Bike in the Kitchen and Celebrate the Small Things

I had another great ride today with my 2 best girls - my 7 year old granddaughter and her mom, my thirty-something year old daughter.  We did the 5 mile old Village of Hilton bike route together, plus a small detour for a treat at Abbotts near the end, for a total of just over 6 miles.  Although Brianna has ridden 5 miles with me before, this is the first time she has done it without a break and with several good-sized hills in the mix.  This brings me to the next 2 Cycling/Life lessons in my series.

Lesson #2 - Park Your Bike in the Kitchen
Cycling Lesson - There are so many obstacles/excuses that can prevent you from riding your bike - it's too hot, it's too cold, it might rain, I'm too tired, I have too much to do, not enough time, big hills, blah, blah, blah.  And after not riding for a few days, inertia can be a powerful force to overcome.  I don't have a garage.  We have a shed in the back of our yard, which is where we normally store things that others would put in a garage, like bikes.  But if my bike were way back there, out of sight, those excuses and inertia would win.  Instead, I park my bike in my house, in my kitchen.  Every time I go into my kitchen, there it is, begging me to ride it.  Not getting on my bike and riding is what weighs on me, not all the reasons preventing a ride.  It's a great motivator!  And every time I ride, I'm so glad I did!  Today was one of those days!

Life Lesson - There are so many things in life that that get in our way and prevent us from doing what we should/need to do. Find what motivates you to do the things you'd rather not and put that motivating force where you can't ignore it.  Park your bike in the kitchen, if you need to.  

Lesson #3 - Celebrate the Small Things
Cycling Lesson - Frisbee Hill is my nemesis!  It's the steepest, toughest hill I regularly encounter.  The other day I was determined to make it all the way to the top without stopping.  I didn't make it.  I did have to stop once.  But I didn't stop twice, and after catching my breath for a minute, I powered up the rest of the hill in a higher gear than usual!  That's incremental progress!  Who hoo!  Focus on what I did, not on what I didn't! And today, riding with Brianna, she faced a steep hill on Short Hills Drive.  It's a tough one for me too.  She stopped half way up, so I stopped with her, which makes it that much harder to start up again.  So I did something I've been nervous about doing.  I stood up and pedaled and, viola!  I powered up the hill in my highest gear!  All the way I could hear Brianna behind me cheering me on and when I started to sit down, Brianna yelled, "No Nana, don't sit down, you can do it!"  And, not only did I get up the hill, but Brianna powered the rest of the way up too, and so did Heather!  Hooray for us!  Every hill I do better on than the time before, every small increase in my average miles per hour, each extra mile I add to my ride, are all additional ways I keep motivated to keep riding.

Life Lesson - Sometimes we get so caught up in the big goals and the things we struggle with, that we forget to recognize and celebrate the incremental goals, the smaller successful steps along the way.  My 3 year old grandson is a baseball fanatic!  He will swing and strike out a hundred times when you pitch a ball to him, but he keeps going and cheers emphatically for himself when he does connect and hit the ball!  It's those hits that keep him trying.  As a teacher, and as a parent and grandparent, I frequently find myself positively reinforcing small steps children make.  Why is it that we forget to do this for ourselves?  So take some notice of all the small successes you make and give yourself a cheer!  Celebrating small moments can keep us working towards those bigger, tougher goals.

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