Bill Benjamin

Goals are overrated, unless you don’t have one!

With the Olympics just ending, I wanted to share an important lesson I learned from my attempt to ride the Etape du Tour(a stage of the Tour de France).

Let me start by telling you that I did not meet my goal of finishing the ride. When I told my sister that I didn’t finish the ride, she said “that’s ok, goals are overrated anyway”. I agree with that, but I want to amend it to “goals are overrated, unless you don’t have them”. What do I mean by that? Having a big goal like riding a stage of the Tour de France provided me with incredible motivation and focus to do things I would not have done otherwise. I would not have done all the training I did, I would not have ridden mountains in Las Vegas, California, Tucson. I would not have had the incredible rides in the Pyrenees of France, and I would not have rediscovered my passion for cycling. Finally I would not have lost 25 pounds and gotten into better shape.

So what I really mean about goals being “overrated” is that focusing on whether or not you achieve the goal in the end is what is overrated. There are so many factors that go into making a goal that are outside of one’s control. For me, I didn’t achieve my goal of finishing the ride, but in hindsight, that was never realistic anyway. I didn’t even achieve my “secondary goal” of making it up the first two mountains. But I had an incredible ride, I did my absolute best and gave it everything I had. More importantly, the six month journey leading up to the ride has had a huge positive impact for me.

Set big goals for yourself, but don’t get too caught up in whether you actually make it. It sounds cliché, but it really is about enjoying the journey.

P.S. when I do my next Etape du Tour in a few years, I still won’t reach my goal of finishing, but the important thing is to have one!

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