How I Keep Waking Up With Motivation
To put it bluntly, performing at the highest level of sport – or anything, for that matter – has almost nothing to do with luck. Many people say they would love the opportunity to be able to make a living from ‘playing’ a sport, and to be honest there are certain physical attributes that you probably need to be born with.
But as Paralympic athletes in particular demonstrate on a daily basis, so much of their success is comprised of a combination unbelievable determination and incredible hard work.
And that’s not all. While many people would rather spend their day practising their favourite sport rather than being at work, that view is actually quite short-sighted. Why? Because training at the highest level is actually incredibly hard, repetitive and arduous. It means looking after your body all the time, eating the right things, watching what you drink – and so much more. Going to bed at sensible hours, getting up early, training often to the point of pain and exhaustion – only to get up and do the very same thing the next day. And then the next.
What’s the key to all that? It’s quite simple: enormous levels of motivation. Here are some tips based on my personal experiences on how to keep motivation levels high when the going gets tough.
1. Love What You Do – Every Aspect
The key, of course, is passion. While I may not love every minute of training or even the lifestyle, I just love wheelchair tennis. I really care about it. I feel nothing but positivity towards it. And, in my humble view, what comes with that is a sort of intrinsic motivation.
Not only that, I don’t just love tennis, I love the process. I love getting into shape to compete just as much as I love competing and striving to succeed. I love finding my limits and pushing them out just that little bit more.
2. Coping Mechanisms
In short, I talk to myself. I rationalise what I am doing to myself every day. I segregate my challenges into what I can control and what I cannot. I keep reminding myself that I love what I’m doing – because I do.
It is my strong belief that athletes who succeed are inherently optimistic and positive – which really helps when it comes to things like failure or injury. Luckily, these are also mind states that we can work on achieving, which ties in with an earlier blog post I wrote about getting in ‘the zone’. I truly feel as though I have been exposed to some of life’s darkest times and have encountered some of life’s greatest hurdles, and I feel extremely fortunate to have made it through these times in one piece. When that happens, you’re able to live your life with a profound sense of optimism, which has helped me during times when I’ve required maximum motivation levels.
It is so easy to allow your ‘now’ moment to be poisoned by what has gone before (the bad days and the failures), and what is coming next (the fear of failure). But competing, in particular, is all about the now. Forget what happened in the past, there’s no better time than the present to show the world that you deserve to be right where you are.
Although mindfulness is important, training today is all about preparing for the next event, and having goals like these is a great motivator for athletes – because training is not just an arduous task, it’s the stepping stone to success.
I know that many of my readers are also very knowledgeable when it comes to what makes an athlete tick, so I’d love to hear your thoughts as well or any feedback.