Motivation is one of those words or concepts that can feel like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. “Once I find motivation then I’ll start practicing…”
When I think of a highly motivated individual I can picture someone who has a very clear idea of where they want to get to and is energised and excited by this prospect. The occasional knock back doesn’t really affect them and they have the ability to frame events and situations in such a way that helps get to their goal quickly. Their clarity of ‘where they want to be’ enables this person to live each moment in the moment rather than in the past or the future.
They are risk takers and are willing to experiment out of their comfort zone as they know this will help them reach their goal quickly. The very highest achievers have the foresight to be able to see an ‘end result’ as an ever changing series of stages. They often take stock and ask themselves questions like: ‘what do I need to do to get to the next stage?’ and ‘what would it mean for me to achieve this?’
Discovering what excites you about your sport is the first step in developing motivation needed for achievement.
One way of ‘fostering’ motivation over a period of time and organising time and priorities is by setting goals. There is usually plenty of talk about goal-setting in sport psychology circles, particularly at this time of year.
From my experience goal setting is not done particularly well as a rule and is often seen as a one-off process of setting some prize-related targets rather than an ongoing ‘review and reset’ of the processes involved in improving performance.
Start big and end small; take your dreams and shape them into smaller chunks. Keep asking what do I need to do today to help me achieve my goals?
It is much easier to live by your core values than some prescriptive to-do list. The more you can structure your goals around your core values the more rewarding the goal-setting process will be. An achievement goal such as: ‘winning the county championship’ would be well served by several value-based process goals such as: ‘take up another non-impact competitive sport to assist with co-ordination and fitness, pushing myself hard and playing to win whilst maintaining showing respect to opponent at all times’.
Continually ask ‘what do I need to do to achieve this goal’? How can I link this to my core values?