Archive for 07/03/2013

Motivation: Chapter 1

Motivation is one of the most powerful tools we have in sports, and for that matter, in our lives too. Without motivation even the best athlete won’t reach half his or her potential, and similarly, a mediocre athlete with high motivation may well beat much stronger athletes. I’ve seen runners of all levels, from world-class champions to beginners, lose motivation and abandon races or even sports itself with no physical reason whatsoever. Motivation is essential for achieving goals and for living a full life.

When one starts to run, or to practice most similar sports, it’s easy to motivate oneself; in general we like new things and experiences. Everything’s an adventure: the feelings and sensations, the people we meet, first races, new goals, the ability to break one’s own records or to win races. At the beginning it’s easy in the same way that the beginning of a new relationship is easy – the first months or even years are exciting and new, full of the motivation and adventure necessary to continue. Later though, when the experiences are no longer new, and the excitement begins to lessen, is when you can lose the motivation totally if you don’t work at it.

As I said earlier, time itself and experiences already lived can cause loss of motivation, especially considering that in the times we live in, most people’s values are very tied in with the culture of consumerism, where new is best, and where rapid turnover is almost necessary. All too often I here people saying “Been there, done that.” or “That’s nothing new, it doesn’t interest me…” For those who live like this, those whose values are based on searching out what’s new, who are always in search of adrenaline, running or any other sport will therefore be no different. Once they have tried it all they risk demotivation. This is only one of the causes of loss of motivation – there are many more.

The runner who starts to run with his or her best friend, or always trains with the same person, can easily lose the necessary drive to continue when said partner gets injured or decides to stop training.

Many people don’t know how to balance their sports, and over train or push too hard on speed before they are ready. Over training of any sort can lead to injury and certainly to exhaustion, both of which are also cause loss of motivation.

Another major cause is lack of strategy, and failure to set realistic goals. If you’ve set yourself goals far beyond your capabilities, it’s possible that the disappointment of failing to achieve these goals will leave you totally disheartened. Those who know me know that I’m a woman who thrives by setting tough challenges – for me, if it’s easy and if the outcome is guaranteed, then it’s not a challenge. Obviously I like uncertain goals, but this said, when I set one of these gruelling challenges I prepare myself exceedingly well, both physically and psychologically, and I always ensure that there is a logical progression to my challenges. Failure to do so can lead us to failure, after which will no doubt follow a certain degree of demotivation.

Loss of motivation due to avoidable reasons often leads to abandoning the sport completely, and at times may even lead to abandoning sports in general. This same lack of motivation may also lead you to not prepare fully for a race or challenge, leading in turn not only to failure but also to injury. Less obvious, but by no means less serious is the fact that demotivation can also feed depression.

So what can we do about all this then? There are many things we can do, many tools we can use, and to do so we need to go deeper into the topic and need a lot of time, but for a start, we can look at how to try to prevent it…

Enough for today – tomorrow you can return to read Chapter 2…

Be Excellent!

Alex Living Excellence
Alex Living Excellence
Alex Living Excellence
Alex Living Excellence
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