What’s Your Goal?
I’ve spent time this week reflecting on conversations I’ve had with several clients about motivation for training. Mainly from the perspective of how to approach things when motivation feels as if it’s lacking. It’s apparent that a lot of people start to become quite self critical and intolerant when motivation is harder to come by and as a result they begin to question the point of things, seem a bit hopeless and definitely find it hard to let go of all or nothing thinking. There’s certainly no magic fix in these instances, but it’s important to reconnect with what started you on your path in the first instance. What’s your goal?
There’s no one size fits all with this. We all have different personalities and lead different lives and therefore our reasons for exercising will be dependent on many factors. Generally speaking though I think motivation for training falls into 2 distinct categories:
- Progression and improvement in performance.
- General health and well being, including:
- Weight loss
- General fitness
- Lifestyle improvement
- Improve confidence
- Stress management
It is very likely that your reasons for following a training plan or exercise regime will be as a result of one or more of the above, and quite possibly the case that these reasons change over time. All of these reasons are of course completely valid and it is possible to be following the same training plan as someone else whilst at the same time having completely different goals. That’s the beauty of exercise. Target one goal and there will undoubtedly be other positive benefits.
When motivation comes into question the best advice I can give is, concentrate on what you want from your training not what someone else is trying to achieve. They could well be on a separate journey. Training doesn’t have to be brutal, prescriptive and directive at all times. If it is, then resentment is the likely outcome…and since when has resentment helped with motivation? Take ownership of your training, approach every session with a clear goal for that session and make adjustments accordingly if that’s what the circumstances dictate. Let go of attachments to all or nothing thinking. Recognise the dangers of an inability to allow yourself some ‘room’. The only real failure is you sabotaging yourself by failing to recognise what’s genuinely needed on a session by session basis.
In my generic training plans I offer individual pace guides that cater for the whole spectrum of participants, from those who are trying to push on and improve their times, to those who are more focused on their physical, emotional and psychological well being. Ultimately training and performance goes in waves, nothing in life is constant. There’s a natural ebb and flow to everything. The challenge is in striking the right balance between pushing when you can and being flexible when the circumstances change, whilst at the same time giving yourself the credit to know what’s best.