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I’ve always loved a challenge and over the years I’ve certainly tested myself physically and mentally. I’ve completed triathlons of various distances, climbed Kilimanjaro, run the London Marathon, cycled from London to Paris and last year completed the L’Etape Wales (reputed to be the hardest sportive in the UK) and more recently the Scilly Swim Challenge.

Despite promising myself that I was going to ease up this year, I’ve committed to my biggest challenge yet – the Ride Across Britain! In September I’ll be cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, in other words doing 980 miles over 9 consecutive days, on two wheels.

Why am I doing this? Because I thrive on setting myself goals that are going to push me to my limit and in many cases beyond what I think I’m capable of both personally and professionally.

Having a good understanding of what it takes to achieve a goal is essential and something that doesn’t dawn on you over night. Here's how I’ve approached getting ready for the Ride Across Britain and what I’ve learned (so far)!

Break it down

When I signed up, I was brimming with excitement and enthusiasm. However, there was also that nagging voice ‘what have I done’?

To overcome this I had to break the challenge down in to more manageable chunks which has helped me focus on one thing at a time. My ‘mini-goals’ include following a strict training programme, organising several fundraising events and even making sure that I schedule enough ‘me’ time.

This also results in ‘mini-successes’ to celebrate along the way! Each helping to keep motivation levels high and on track!

Re-evaluate your goals

I set out to raise £10,000 and I’ve achieved just shy of that with several months to go. I want to raise as much as I can, so I’ve decided to up the fundraising target – I need a focus and big enough target to keep me motivated – and there’s nothing wrong with tweaking goals along the way!

Keep balanced

Inevitably, there’s been bumps along the way and days when I’ve questioned my sanity. I’m lucky that I’m tackling this challenge with my cycling buddy Samantha, so we’re ‘in it together’ and can pick each other up emotionally (and sometimes physically!). Family and friends have also been invaluable during stressful times. Having the right support network in place makes all the difference.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable

Achieving a big goal or something new often means breaking out of your comfort zone. For me it was learning to embrace the discomfort of climbing steep hills at pace, it was a mindset change that was needed more than anything. You need to be prepared to change and that’s not always easy – but it’s worth it! I now fly up the hills.

Enjoy the unexpected

I’ve been blown away by the generosity and support we’ve had from local organisations, including Sandler Training who are one of our corporate sponsors. I knew Exeter and the surrounding area had a pretty awesome business community however it’s proved to be above and beyond anything I’d expected. Thank you!

What’s your cake?

To support our challenge, The Bard Collective have developed our ‘Get Your Cake’ brand. The brand is all about setting and reaching goals and supporting others to achieve theirs. For me the ‘cake’ not only represents fuel that enables me to ride long distances (burning around 3500 per 100-mile ride) - but it’s also the reward for all the effort. But the ‘cake’ can easily be a metaphor for anybody’s goal(s)…What’s yours?

Samantha and I write a weekly blog, where you can keep up to date with our journey. If you’d like to get involved in any way, I’d love to hear from you, get in touch!

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