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Time, Lessons, Reset, 4 words.

2014 is here. How crazy is that? A simple minute, 11.59 to 00.00, but with it a switch from one year to the next. Even though in reality it’s just a brief moment, the new year is a great marker – a catalyst to wipe the slate clean, reset, change.


I suppose the first part of this post is just an attempt to personally distill and clarify some thoughts by writing them down. The second part is a fun goal-setting exercise that hopefully you’ll join in with.

Quickly looking back, last year was amazingly crazy, and it brought with it a lot of learning. There’s been specific questions on my mind recently, which are: What did it mean? How, specifically, did it change me? What can be applied from those lessons? It’s easy to look back on 2013 and come up with attempted half-answers that are loose, vague and un-actionable. But there’s also real, actionable, tangible stuff that I would not be aware of were it not for last year. Some of the main lessons that I took away from the year of living on a bike are:

Stop Being Intimidated

Intimidation is in our mind. Obviously there’s times when there’s good reason to be hesitant and nervous, but so often those moments are fabricated within ourselves and by missing out on the things that intimidate us, we miss out on great, unforgettable experiences. It’s a disservice. The things that scare us are those we should face in order to grow. Finding a way to turn the anxiety into excitement is a massive game-changer.

Don’t Stop

Grit beats skill. Determination and stubbornness beats experience. Literally and metaphorically, it’s really easy to bike a long way – you just have to keep going and eventually, lo and behold, you end up in the right place. But more generally, it’s the number one lesson I took away from talking to people like John and Martha. Keeping going is the easiest way to make something happen.

Build a Routine

If you wake up and think “I’ve gotta ride today”, then you’ll probably fail. But if you wake up, know that the bike ride is part of the routine, and think about how – even though it might not be that fun setting off into the cold or the dark – by the end of the ride you’ll be refreshed and loving it, then suddenly it sounds much more tempting. The way we frame things in our minds affects our chances of success.

Roll With The Punches

Sh*t is probably going to go wrong. Whether that’s a puncture, a snapped chain, or a run of bad luck in life. It sucks but it’s already happened and time machines aren’t real yet (maybe 2015). Move on and work it out – the process of working it out will probably be intrinsically worthwhile and may lead to a hidden gain.

Set Ridiculous Goals

Most people set goals that are based on past experience, and on what they know will be a guaranteed success. Setting moonshot goals, that seem so far removed from something you have experience of, is a great way to learn quickly by default and do something that might shock you. Diving in at the deep end, acknowledging that you don’t know it all, and being cool with that can be a valid approach.

With the festive season, some of those have fallen by the wayside recently, but with 2014 acting as an incentive, it’s time to implement these lessons and embrace the future. What can be done in 365 days?



If you had to base the next 365 days on four words, what would they be? Chris Brogan posted recently about taking three words and using them as a central focus for goal-setting the coming year. Not enough range, buddy. Settling on four instead, it was fun to think about which words to choose, and which areas to step into the new year with. Give it a try! In the end, an in no particular order, these four came to mind:

Consistent. Adventurous. Build. Adapt.

Consistent – Blogging and building a great site relies on consistency. Specifically with this site, the aim is to press the publish button consistently, every couple of weeks or so. Simple really.

Adventurous – Last year was epic in so many ways, and experiencing that kind of lifestyle has shifted my values and mindset dramatically. It’s an aim for this year to contain more adventures, and for that type of learning to continue for the foreseeable.

Build – Disposable things aren’t appealing anymore. I’d love to use this year to build the foundations for a committed future (relationships, business, adventures, lifestyle etc).

Adapt – Tom from Tomsbiketrip recently published a new post and a sentence grabbed me. “There is sometimes — not always, but sometimes — an air of desperation around ‘post-trip’ blogs.”

It’s totally true, it happens all the time, and it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while. There’s going to be a pivot in the coming months on which will highlight some adventurous content that isn’t directly connected to last years ride or even cycling. It will introduce you guys to some fascinating people and their stories, which I hope will inspire, amuse, teach, shock and maybe even move you. Adapting beats going stale.

So that’s my four words. What are yours? It’d be awesome to discover what you’re aiming for in 2014, what adventures the year has in store, and which words you’ll focus on this year. Let me know in the comments down there ↓

Happy New Year!


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13 comments on this post

  1. Henry Oswald says:

    really liked this post and gave the 4 words thing a go.

    courage, present, believe, seek.

    courage: to say yes to more things instead of hiding from uncomfortable experiences
    present: to appreciate the people around me and my surroundings and even when it’s not going great to know that i’ve got it ok in the grand scheme of things
    believe: to believe that dreams are achievable. by the end of last year it seemed like nothing was working out. can’t wait to be positive again.
    seek: seek and ask for the opportunities i want to get.

  2. SF Sara says:

    Hi Dave,
    Happy New Year and looking forward to seeing what comes of the site pivot!

    OK, let’s do this…


    Happy – whilst life could throw a curveball within the next year, I want to just focus on being happy this year and enjoying each day.
    Build – start and build a sustainable company.
    Active – it’s so easy to get sucked into looking at a screen for hours and days on end. Not this year.
    Unusual – the daily grind can be dull, why do we do it now we have connectivity in so many places? Why not an unusual remote working trip somewhere new?

    Here goes! And good luck!

  3. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for bringing my attention to this post – you say there is often an air of desperation about post-adventure posts. Well, there is an air of promise, new beginnings and thoughtfulness about this post. You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into what you want to say at this significant time of year. Thanks for sharing the lessons you learned from the road and also your thoughts on goal setting. What a great idea! And something a little different… :)

    I’ll have a think about my 4 words and come back to you!

    Look forward to having a proper catch up soon and who knows, maybe our aventurous paths will cross in 2014


    Sophie (From a wet and windy London)

  4. Boab says:

    Those thoughts mirror my own since my transam almost exactly. Overcoming fear is the big one, then simply keep going one pedal stroke at a time, and believe 100% in your own success. I used to repeat over and over…”all I have to do is keep pedalling and I will surely get there, of that there is no doubt whatsoever”.

    I like what you said about picking challenging goals. I have a few to pick myself right now.

    Happy 2014 to you and thanks for the ride :)

    • Dave says:

      Awesome phrase – got you across America and then up Britain so it clearly worked well!

      Good luck with the goal setting!

  5. Jim Cregan says:

    Dave, I simply love your posts. That is all I need to say. My four words for this year are:

    KEEP –
    Keep the business ours and keep going.

    FOCUS –
    Tighten what we do, channel our energy and learn to say NO even more.

    Learn to live better. Work has been the 24/7 the last 3 years and I need more time with my epic wife and rad boy.

    CO-OP –
    We need them to list our products.

    The End. Keep Your Chin Up. X

  6. Will Mayers says:

    Planning. Change. Kindness. Relax. Merry 2014!

  7. Shannon Cecil says:

    Dave, awesome post. I printed it out so I can read it again and again when I am feeling stuck.

    So funny, before I even read this post I had told myself to focus on a few words to help propel me into the new year too. Here are the ones I chose:
    Take the actions necessary to move forward. In those moments when I pause because I don’t know what to do next, just pick something and do it. Be persistent with myself to work hard. Push my boundaries of work ethic and determination.
    Be efficient with my time. When I am working, work hard. When I am playing, don’t think about work and feel bad for playing. Playing will make working easier.
    Being diligent with my work ethic will in turn create efficiency with my time, which will allow me to have uninterrupted time for everything: fun, exercise, down time, and work.
    Focus on whatever I am doing so that that time is spent efficiently and I can create a balance between work and play.

    I also chose on word to avoid,
    Don’t be disappointed in myself. I am embarking on a new endeavor. I am pushing myself in ways that I have never pushed myself before. Be excited about that, not intimidated. Turn that intimidation of the unknown into excitement (words of wisdom from Dave Gill that I hope to latch on to) for a direction that you never thought your life could go in. Focus on the steps that you have already taken and the pride in yourself that amounted from what you have already accomplished. You are capable.

    Love reading your posts! They always leave me feeling inspired and not alone :)

    • Dave says:

      Amazing Shannon! Rad words and awesome meanings. Your 2014 has amazingly epic written all over it! Can’t wait to see how it goes.

  8. Bob says:

    This post is definetly a keeper and should be read often
    Great way to start off 2014
    I look forward to my year and especially getting on bike and travelling together

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