Sunday, January 16, 2011

Goal Achievement Ratio

In National Football League vernacular, the terms Takeaways and Giveaways are used in reference to a particular team’s turnover statistics. Usually, the most successful teams will have a greater number of Takeaways than Giveaways, or more times their defense has intercepted passes and recovered fumbles over the course of a season than when their offense has suffered the same fate. This will often be expressed as a ratio. For example, in 2007 the San Diego Chargers had a 2-1 turnover ratio with 48 Takeaways and 24 Giveaways.

When pondering the idea of cycling goals today, I came up with a loose restructuring of those terms to fit the needs of a cyclist. As cyclists, regardless of our interests, many of us have at least one personal goal we want to accomplish because we saddle up and ride. Over the course of our cycling lives, we hopefully will have opportunities to set and achieve goals many times over. The nature of the goal(s) will be different for each of us. For some, it will be the thrill of racing while for others it may be a simpler joy of pulling the next climb without toppling over from a coronary.

These goals would be our Takeaway Goals—the pursuits we, as cyclists, gain as a direct result of our physical effort while in the saddle. However, in cycling parlance, success would, and should, be considered as having achieved more Giveaway Goals; or goals where we give back to the cycling movement, helping to grow the culture and its future. The Takeaway Goals, while hopefully numerous, would be the lesser number for each of us while our Giveaway Goals would be the higher tally.

The whole idea is summed up in two statements:

Because we are people engaged in a worthwhile pursuit, we will gain many interpersonal and tangible benefits due to the proactive nature of being cyclists.

Because we enjoy cycling so much, we will want to give back—or return—something of worth to ensure the future of cycling.

To sum it all up in a neat and tidy package, let's call it the Goal Achievement Ratio, or GAR.

The fun thing is that the same physical, emotional, and intellectual strengths we use to achieve a Takeaway are also usable, perhaps in different forms, to score a Giveaway. And there is nothing negative with a tally on either side of the ledger. As preeminent sports psychologist Dr. Dennis Waitley is fond of stating, it’s a Win-Win situation.

I'd love to hear your goals regardless of whether they are Takeaways or Giveaways. Who knows, maybe you can inspire someone else or be spurred on to greater heights by another cyclist.

Giveaways or Takeaways—it makes no difference. Just get out there, achieve those goals, and begin developing your own GAR.

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