by Alan Cardwell, XTRI Coaching Network
A Date In The Diary
Not a week goes past without someone asking me the motivation question. But specifically January is that lovely month where your favourite bit piece of equipment in the gym or lanes in the pool are overwhelmed by the “New Year, New Me” influx. It doesn’t last though as the initial drive, or Christmas guilt, dwindles when the realisation of developing consistency and the reality of the effort required work hits home.
In the main, the motivation is what subsides — so what is ‘motivation’ and how do we keep it high? Psychologists have several theories on what drives us and I have spent many hours studying and discussing these in business, sports and well-being contexts. The more I learn, the more I realise how much more there is to find out, so I am far from being an expert.
Modern life is generally pretty safe and comfortable so the basic motivations of avoiding predators, gaining shelter and finding food are rarely relevant. We therefore seek out more stimulation — whether that be adrenaline based thrills, a challenge, improving health or just a sense of well-being or fun.
We have no absolute need to keep fit, stay healthy or race sporting events, but we choose to do so. Rather than exploring motivational theory it is simpler to ask yourself ‘Why am I doing this?’ Once you understand your own Why and if it is important to you then you can then make a series of decisions as to your behaviour and actions in the short and long term. Your Why is yours and yours alone — no-one else can tell you what it is, it’s down to you and your cognitive processes.
Saying that, one approach that does work for many people is having a ‘date in the diary’. It is relatively simple to see who has one — they are generally doing stuff that is designed to take them successfully to that date. This is true in every aspect in life. It could be something as simple as saving for a holiday.
Goal setting has been maligned recently in various articles but without them the destination or result you are after will be fuzzy and the old adage of ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there’ definitely applies.
Simply saying ‘I am going to lose weight’ might work — but how much?, by when? and of course why? Even this needs a goal or targets as without these it is more likely to be a failure. So what can help?
Having a date in the dairy works. Of course, we can still think that the date is far away so we slack off a little…until panic sets in.
So if you are struggling for the M word, what’s your date and why are you doing it?
Alan heads up our team of XTRI specific coaches, who cover all aspects of XTRI preparations and training.
Find our more at xtriworldtour.com/coaching