How Big Is Your Why?: ICA’s Signature Inspirational Profile

How Big Is Your Why? is a motivational ride to help inspire your students to set a big goal for the coming year and to understand the steps needed to accomplish that goal. I also hope you will be inspired to set your own goal as an instructor or in your personal life.

Early in my career as a cycling instructor, I called my New Year’s profile my New Year’s Revolution. I used it to help my riders set a goal and commit to their dream without falling into the trap of declaring resolutions that were likely to be tossed aside after only a few weeks or months. I’ll talk about the concept of “revolution” vs. “resolution” in a moment, but first a little history about how I developed this ride.

In 2008, as a Spinning® master instructor, I created a ride for the World Spinning and Sports Conference (WSSC) called The Secret Ride, based on the ideas of the popular book The Secret. I used hard efforts in class as metaphors to examine how to get what you want out of life, even despite the challenges you face. The next year at WSSC, after researching goal setting even more, that ride morphed into How Big is Your Why?. It was a huge hit and has become a big part of my own personal motivation, as well as the basis for when I coach others, including cycling instructors and my personal training clients.

WSSC is in June so it wasn’t originally a New Year’s ride, but I realized how powerful it could be at the beginning of the year when many people look to make lifestyle changes or set big goals. So I combined it with my New Year’s Revolution concept, and have been teaching it that way ever since.

While you can do this ride anytime in January of the New Year to focus on New Year’s goals, you can also modify it as a goal-setting class to use any time of the year—simply take out the references to New Year’s resolutions (although you can still use the concept of having a revolution in your thought processes).

This profile has both a 60-minute and a 90-minute version. I recommend doing the 90-minute version as a special event, with promotional flyers and a social media campaign to draw a large crowd. It can be taught as a team, with two different instructors alternating songs. Why not celebrate with a party afterward?

Not just for your riders!

Keep in mind that the message of this profile is not just for your students. I hope it will inspire you to take on a major “revolution” in your own life this year! The reason instructors join ICA is to become an even better, more motivating, more knowledgeable instructor.

But go even further than that…why not make this coming year THE YEAR for you to challenge yourself to do what you never thought possible?

It could be in your teaching career, such as challenging yourself to teach those types of classes that scare you. Maybe they are the mind-body ones, maybe it means using some different teaching techniques, perhaps it means taking the next step to learn to teach with power.

Or, it could be a fitness or cycling goal, such as a triathlon, a century ride, losing weight, etc. Or maybe it’s something in your personal life such as a career change that you’ve been dreaming about for so long. Why not finally accomplish that thing you’ve been telling yourself for many years you want to do?


Pick something that scares you a little bit, and let’s work together to make it happen.

But do not call it a “New Year’s resolution”! Why? Because, if you hadn’t heard by now…New Year’s resolutions don’t work. We are all programmed to believe they are rarely, if ever, successful.

Why? Because they rarely have been successful in the past. Articles are written about how no one sticks to them, jokes are made at the futility of resolutions, songs are written how nothing changes, people quote Mark Twain who laments on their uselessness.

“New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
~Mark Twain

How many “resolutions” have you been successful at achieving? Don’t you usually joke with your family/friends a month or two later when you are asked about your “resolution”? It’s almost like it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Our subconscious mind has more control over our actions and results than we might think. We can say we want to change something about ourselves until we’re blue in the face, but until we change the underlying subconscious beliefs we have about that thing we say we want to change, nothing will change.

In a way, we are programmed to avoid change, even down to our evolutionary biology. What you’ve got to do is reprogram the brain. In other words, you need a revolution in your thinking, not a resolution. 

For more information on reprogramming your brain and the reasons why New Year’s resolutions do not work, check out this post I wrote on setting goals. I first wrote it in 2008 during an introspective period of my life; I was reading everything I could find about how the brain functions as it relates to goal setting, creating new habits, and getting rid of unwanted habits.

In that post, I discuss how we sabotage our own goals through our subconscious mind. Knowing that your doubts and fears are little more than chemicals released in the brain (as neurotransmitters) might help you overcome those fears on the way to achieving your goal. Add the information you learn to your inspirational coaching as you lead the How Big Is Your Why? ride.

Nothing is impossible if you approach every goal and dream with the understanding that you, and only you, control your future and that YOU create your own reality! You DO have control, but it takes commitment and a willingness deep inside to make it work. That willingness to keep moving is powered by your WHY.

That’s what this ride is all about.

I hope you decide to take on an important and worthy challenge for yourself in the coming year. Once you do, it’s going to be much easier to inspire your students to set a goal and do something amazing in the coming year.

Download the PDF to How Big is Your Why? below along with both the 60- and 90-minute Spotify playlist. Please leave any comments below about your experiences teaching this ride.


  1. New to Spotify lol, how do I find the playlist on there

    1. Author

      Hi Kellie, the links to the Spotify playlists, both the 60- and 90-minute ones, are at the bottom of the post. Click on them and it should open up your Spotify. Enjoy!

  2. Jennifer thank you for reposting this ride I am so excited to teach it, I am going to do it as a 90 min ride just before we start winter training . I will let you know how it goes..

  3. Jennifer I took your Secret Ride in Miami awhile back. It was the Best ride ever. I still talk about it in my class. I am so excited to be able to teach this class . I can’t wait. Thank you for all that you do and for all of the great information you and your Team provide.

  4. Hi Jennifer. Thank you. I bought a 3 month subscription for myself for my birthday, already regret not getting a full year… but baby steps. 🙂 I have been listening to this playlist and love it so much. The program itself, after one read through is already shifting things in me that needed shifting. I’ll be working hard over the next few days to prepare it, translate it and modify it to suit my group here in Denmark. I am so excited for me and them. Best birthday present to myself ever. Happy New year to you.

  5. I love this article. Thank you so much for all of this great information!

    1. Author

      thank you Yvette. It’s always been one of my favorites to teach and to share with other instructors!

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