Staying motivated doesn’t happen by chance, it’s a skill, a learned methodology for mastering your chosen goal. If motivation was a natural, easy skill then everyone would be doing it, instead it’s a minority who are truly motivated so that even when their impetus slows, they are still able to move forward!
No one is motivated all of the time, motivation is fed by the prospect of an end goal, without a target there is no fuel to the fire, nothing to keep the flame alight.
Identifying what motivates you
Motivation is entirely subjective, so whenever I set a nutrition and training regime with my clients I always start with a question and answer session. These sessions usually glean key snippets of information that can help to direct their training plans.
For example I might establish that the client is extrinsically motivated, meaning they need an external stimulus to get their butts into gear. External factors might include seeing their competition succeed at something, or the potential for personal reward (recognition, financial gain or a title). Others prove to be highly intrinsically motivated (self- motivated), this means they only really need a vision of what they want to achieve to serve as a dangling carrot.
My motivation techniques
It is therefore my job to clarify what that vision is, and to work with the athlete to ‘refocus the lens’ when that vision becomes a little blurred. For the extrinsically motivated person, the coach should know what buttons to press in order to ‘poke the fire’ and get the person back on track.
You can make motivation maintenance a whole lot easier and achievable by setting out clear SMART goals from the outset. SMART goals are a good way to reduce the risk of overreaching and overtraining syndrome (a sure fire way to erase all motivation) because they ensure a training plan is structured and achievable. It is important to make sure goals are not too broad i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and within a timeframe. This is a great way to offer small, yet significant rewards that enables people to see interspersed results, thus helping them to stay motivated!
Specific = Lose total body fat and increase lean mass
Measurable = Lose 5% body fat and increase bicep circumference by 1mm
Achievable = Get up at 6am, perform 20m sprints followed by 20m walks for 10 minutes on an empty stomach
Realistic = Perform resistance training 4 times a week
Time Frame = Lose 5% body fat in 8 weeks
SMART goals are also a useful way to periodize a training schedule, having a goal in mind with realistic targets is key to planning and structuring a long term plan. A beginning and end date also reduces complacency, directs focus and reduces the risk of overreaching and injury.
One thing that is for sure, there is nobody less motivated than the person laid out on the physiotherapists treatment couch…so train sensibly!