Despite what people think no athlete (not even elite athletes) are motivated ALL the time. We all have days where it is a challenge, or even a battle, to get our workout started. Honestly, I’ve been there. Here are a few tips that I recommend and use regularly to facilitate a motivated mindset. The key is to have as many “tools” or strategies as possible because sometimes one will do the trick, and at other times you may have to use them in combination.
Be mindful of what is actually keeping you from starting your workout, and address it. Is your energy level too low? Do you have too high expectations for yourself? Are you feeling fatigued due to lack of sleep or nutrition? Are you “feeling” unmotivated? Address the issue or issues and refocus.
Become aware of negative self talk and try to replace it with encouraging self-talk. Be your own (positive) mental coach by telling yourself “I can do this,” “Let’s get going and do an easy warm up,” “Step one, get the gear. Two, out the door. Three, get going.”
Validate the process. Stop what you are doing and take a moment to non-judgmentally acknowledge that you are in a season of your life and sport. Seasons come and go. Realistically, most people (myself included) are not in “peak performance,” “race weight” condition, or “competition mode” 24/7 365. Be patient with yourself. Results will come with consistency.
Post a status on social media about what your workout will be. I know it sounds silly, but what it actually does is hold you accountable to someone or something, yes even to the Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram world.
Watch motivating athlete videos on YouTube. This will get the energy and fierceness juices flowing. It will also provide you with images and feelings for your mental bank (for later retrieval during your workout when you need that extra focus or confidence).
Wattie Ink. Heather Jackson – My W-Clique
Power pose for 2 minutes. Psychologically and physiologically, power posing is a scientifically sound method of increasing testosterone level, decreasing stress chemicals, and increasing a sense of confidence. It makes you feel more powerful. “Don’t fake it until you make it. Fake it until you BECOME it”
Repeat powerful and energizing affirmations or quotes.
“I am strong, fierce, and focused.”
“I am in control of my mind, body, and spirit.”
“I am doing the best I can.”
“My mind is focused. I know what to do, and I know how to do it.”
Play MUSIC that elicits powerful and energizing feelings or a hardcore mentality. Listen to the lyrics, and if you have to, act like you are in the video. Do whatever gets you pumped. I highly recommend Jay-Z if you want to feel like a badass.
Jay-Z – Public Service Announcement /
“No matter where you go, you are what you are player
And you can try to change but that’s just the top layer
Man, you was who you was ‘fore you got here
Only God can judge me, so I’m gone
Either love me, or leave me alone”
Visualize a past race performance or great training workout and recall aspects of it that make you feel motivated, powerful, and full of energy. Sift through past race pictures or images if you need help retrieving the images.
Just do it. Don’t allow an unmotivated mind state to dominate you today. Just get out the door and on the road, in the pool, on the trainer, in the gym, or to that workout.
When all else fails…
Tip #11-Call your mental coach for a pep talk or verbal kick in the butt 🙂
If you followed me on Twitter yesterday you may have seen that I shared a video that featured Heather Jackson during her run training workouts (Thanks Wattie Ink.!). I Tweeted this right before my 10 mile run workout. During my run I was able to bank those images and retrieve them to help me focus on a strong and steady pace. This visualization and feelization practice is something that I do this often and it’s been a powerful in helping me stay focused and energized during workouts.
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to developing a mentally tough mindset. They are generalized so that anyone can apply them. However, if you want to increase your mastery in specific mental skills that are tailored towards your individual needs then I recommend working with a mental skills coach or sport psychologist (like myself). Do not hesitate to contact me for a consultation or if you have questions about my services or approach.
“Motivation is something nobody else can give you…other’s can help motivate you, but basically it must come from inside you, and it must be a constant desire to do your very best at all times and under ANY circumstance.” -Joe DiMaggio