Friday, November 1, 2013

Time To Get Motivated

We have all had those days!  We know we should workout. Our plan calls for a work out and we want to work out but we just can’t see to get life out of the way and get on with our workout. Sound familiar?  If not, congratulations you are a rare exception!  If this does sound familiar, you are in great company.  Regardless if you are just beginning an exercise program or training for 140.6 mile triathlon, motivation is one of the keys to sustained success.
Motivation is the ability to initiate and persist at a task. In order to maximize your motivation, you first need to understand why you work out or compete in endurance or other physical competitions.  Motivators can be internal such as passion for your sport, the drive to lose weight or become more it.  Motivators can also be external in nature like developing new friendships, enjoying new skills or gaining respect from others. 
Despite your best efforts to stay motivated and committed to your sport or fitness routine, obstacles will arise that prevent you from enacting the drive or desire to achieve your goals. Lack of desire to train or not enjoying your sport or workouts is a sign of low motivation. It happens, we are all human!  It’s how you respond to times of low motivation that is important.
Jim Taylor Ph.D. and Terri Schneider offer the three D’s of motivation, Direction, Decision and Dedication.  You need to consider the different directions you can go with your efforts. Do you need a break, do you need to work harder or do you need to try a different sport or routine? Next you must make a decision on the direction you will go. This will be your new focus and will require dedication to carry out your new plan.
The act of thinking through the root of your lack of motivation and coming up with a new plan often times can be enough to reenergize you.  We are creatures of habit and fall into ruts, often times completely unaware of the drudgery we have created for ourselves. You want to be successful and you have rededicated yourself to your revised or new plan. Here are some other strategies to help you develop and maintain motivation.
Focus on your long-term goals, keeping in mind the feelings of pride and accomplishment you will experience when you reach your goals.
Surround yourself with people that are supportive of your efforts.  This could be a workout partner, a personal trainer or simply a friend that shares your love for what you do. This is one huge benefit of triathlon, the strong support you receive from the triathlon community.
Set short-term and long-term goals and recognize your accomplishments along the way. After every workout or race, stop and congratulate yourself on what you accomplished. 
Motivational cues are an excellent means to ignite a fire in you. Inspirational phrases or photographs can be powerful motivators and should be readily visible so you can see them several times a day and experience the strong emotions they crate. One motivational tactic I use is keeping pictures of professional triathletes in a binder that I look at when struggling.  If I want to look at perform like them, and then I have to work hard to be the best I can be.
Congratulations! You have plan and are motivated to succeed, but do you have the confidence to carry out that plan? Confidence, like motivation is an important mental contributor to your success. In my next column I will show you how to develop the confidence you need to be successful and maximize your motivation to the fullest.
Here is to being fit for a lifetime!

Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.