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Bike Spedometer

This morning I achieved another goal I had set for myself on the bike. I began this year riding for 20 minutes as part of my morning routine. At first, I was rather slow and averaged about 12 mph. So I set a goal to reach 15 mph. To my amazement, I achieved this just about a month ago. Hoping to make it a habit, my next goal was to average more than 15 mph for an entire week. This week, I did it!

As I was riding, I noticed that I looked often at the spedometer. With the goal of 15 mph, I have to pedal fairly hard to get there and I rely on the feedback of the spedometer to tell me how I’m doing. The mode I generally use displays three things to me. The first, in large numbers, is my current speed. Below that is a timer counting up from when I started. And to the right of the speed, is a small arrow pointing up or down. This arrow points up when my current speed exceeds my average and down when my current speed is below my average. With the current speed and arrows, I can monitor my performance second-to-second.

As I ride, I often have to encourage myself in my mind and out-loud to keep going, press-on, and focus. With a blank wall in front of me, the only external motivation is my iPhone playing some Celtic music with a fast beat. As I look down to the spedometer, I often want it to encourage me too. And it does, when I am riding above my average and the little arrow points up. It seems to say, “you’re doing great; you’re average is rising.”

But when that arrow points down, I feel discouraged. “You’re not going fast enough.” I feel like I have to step it up or stop. If I keep riding below my average then I’ll pull it down and won’t achieve my goal. My impulse is to either improve or stop entirely.

It may seem strange, but business is similar. Some months are great and others aren’t so much. The trick is to keep going, press-on, and focus regardless of how well things are going. And, when things aren’t going well, to put all the more effort into their improvement. But when things trend downward, I see that arrow and it’s not encouraging.

The temptation to project a trend to either wild success or complete failure is a fallacy. If I cannot raise my current speed above my average this second, then I should not stop. I should simply try in the next second. Thinking 20 minutes out and deciding the result does me a disservice. Each second, I must ask, am I achieving my goal? If not, I press-on to ask in the next second.

Last updated on February 16, 2022.