Motivation – a desire or willingness to do something; enthusiasm.
Sometimes we find it already hard to motivate ourselves to go out for a lovely walk or a run. We have lengthy discussions in our minds that try to convince us with nice weather conditions and that positive feeling you get after an exercise.
But sometimes nothing works! You feel lazy and even bringing up the secret cupcake you had for a dessert, as an advance treat for your workout, doesn’t work. You’re just lacking motivation doing sports!
Fortunately, we have made some research to try to figure out how professional athletes stay motivated over the long season and what are their best tips and practices to tackle their lack of motivation.
Start from the beginning
I’m sure that all of us have had a day like this, where nothing motivates you, even to go outside for a walk in the fresh air.
Your couch seems too comfortable and Netflix has too many new movies and TV shows. You just can not find the motivation to do anything!
The root of the problem might lay in various things. Sometimes you have to ask yourself the following questions to really understand why are you actually feeling this way:
- Is the goal, I have set for myself, something that I really desire?
- Am I in control of my physiology and is it actually helping me?
- Am I aiming high enough?
- Am I too overwhelmed?
- Am I prone to procrastination?
- Am I being specific enough to spur motivation?
- Am I seeking motivation where I should be seeking habits?
It is the mission that guides you. You need to understand why are you doing this, what are you trying to accomplish, and what do you need to do to get there.
You have probably asked yourself many times why do you keep putting yourself through this, but this is not the right question! How you respond to the grind of training is what will determine the level of your motivation.
So next time you are feeling low, remind yourself of the mission behind the why.
Right here and right now
Sometimes, thinking about your training plan or calendar might make you lose your focus.
It is easy to get caught in upcoming training days and come up with reasons why to postpone your training. That is why it’s essential to take it to step by step or day by day.
Rather than thinking about the time and days you have to achieve your goals, think about what do you need to do today, to push you towards achieving your goals.
Love the grind
Teri McKeever, swimming coach at UC Berkeley and for Olympic Swimmers, has stated that all the successful athletes and medalists who have trained under her, have loved the training part as much as competing against others.
It is important to find value and affection in your everyday training sessions. Make them diverse, interesting, and challenging for you.
Create an environment where you love to come back to, every single time. Love the grind!
Set and track your goals
Setting goals in sports is about challenging yourself to be the best. When you start setting them, be sure to keep them as realistic as possible. Of course, you want to push yourself to newer limits and challenge yourself during workouts, but it is vital to keep them down to earth.
It is easy to demotivate yourself and loose interest in goal tracking with unrealistic expectations and goals!
So, next time when you are thinking about the bigger goal, set smaller realistic goals for yourself so you can meet them daily, weekly, and monthly.
Also, don’t forget to track them by using some cool tracking gadgets or plain excel! Looking back at all of your achievements, may they be small or big, you can’t help yourself to feel super motivated to achieve more!
The training buddy
In team sports it’s easy, you have the whole team to keep you motivated and to push you further.
But as a lone wolf, it is relatively easy to get lonely and lose sight of your goals while training alone.
So, why not get yourself a training buddy? Find a friend, relative, or even a total stranger (at first) to start training together!
There are many websites where you can find people who are looking for training friends. Just find a person who is into the same sports as you and voila!
This way, you will keep each other busy, happy, and motivated. So next time you are feeling low and trying to find reasons why to skip leg days, your training buddy will not take a no for an answer!
Celebrate the good times and be kind during the hard times
Never miss an opportunity to celebrate your achievements! Is it a weekly or monthly goal met, never forget to feel positive and think kindly of yourself.
It doesn’t mean you have to celebrate with champagne and cakes, sometimes recognition is just the thing! Recognize the hard work you have been doing and feel grateful!
And if things haven’t gone as you have planned, don’t punish yourself with making yourself feel guilty. Try to analyze the situation and find the true reasons for your small failures, so next time you won’t repeat them!
Start by asking yourself the questions above to understand the reason why you are lacking motivation.
When you have all the answers to your questions, find the sport that you really love, appreciate and enjoy all your training sessions, set yourself realistic goals, and find a friend with whom you can meet them together.
Never forget to be kind to yourself! Even when things are not going as planned, and celebrate all of your accomplishments!