123rf with permission
Source: 123rf with permission

Motivation is the foundation of everything that you do in your athletic life. With motivation, you wouldn't go to the gym in the early morning, you wouldn't put in the time practicing your sport, and you would give up quickly if training got too difficult. Motivation is so important because, though you may love being an athlete in your sport, you probably don’t love every moment of being an athlete in your sport. Your ability to push through what I call the “grind,” namely those times in training when you are struggling physically, technically, or mentally, will determine the effort you put into your sports training, what you get out of it, and how well you perform in competition.

Here are three exercises you can do to increase your motivation:

  • Identify your greatest competitor: Ask if you’re working hard enough to beat him/her. When you feel like easing up or quitting, think about what your greatest competitor is doing and what you need to do to outdo them.
  • Ask two daily questions: Morning: “What can I do today to become the best athlete I can be?” This question focuses on what you need to do that day to achieve your athletic goals. Evening: “Did I do everything possible today to become the best athlete I can be?” This question holds you accountable for what you did that day and if you are doing what is necessary to perform your best. It also reminds you of what you need to do tomorrow to be the best athlete you can be.
  • Ultimately, motivation must come from within: Identify the deep reasons why you compete. You can use different motivational strategies to keep you going on any given day, for example, during a tough workout. But to sustain that motivation, you must find the reasons deep inside of you for why you do your sport. It may be, for example, your competitive goals, your enjoyment of your sport, the satisfaction of improving, or the fulfillment you receive from giving your best effort. Whatever your reasons, you can tap into them every day in your sport.

If you can strengthen your motivation “muscle,” you prepare yourself to stay committed and determined every day in every aspect of your training, no matter how tiring, painful, or boring it might be.

The end result is that, if you can stay motivated, you have a much better chance of achieving your athletic goals.

To learn more, watch this week’s vlog Prime Sport 101 segment on increasing your motivation in your sport.

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