There are some questions I sometimes ask myself or others to reflect on what supports one’s longevity in athletic activity, or I could use them to explore what might be standing in the way of doing it more if they haven’t found that consistency yet.
How much do I need to do this activity/sport with others in order to stay motivated? If I fell into either extreme – always doing this with others, or never with others, which would negatively impact my motivation more?
How much do I need others to know that I do this sport, or be made aware of what I am accomplishing (like posting to social media) to stay motivated? If I fell into either extreme – an audience always being made aware or never made aware – which would negatively impact my motivation more?
How much do I need scheduled events on the calendar to motivate me? If there were none, how likely would I keep training consistently?
How much do I need clearly-defined, objectively-measurable goals to motivate me? If there were none, how likely would I keep training consistently?
How much does this sport/activity tie into my view of self and social identity,? If I suddenly could no longer do this particular activity again, how much would I suffer, and how quickly might I adjust to doing something else that I could be as motivated to do?
Photo by Jonathan Gallegos on Unsplash
It can feel vulnerable to answer these questions honestly because I can imagine some people being critical of another’s way of being motivated, thinking their own way is the best for everyone. But trying to live out someone else’s motivational pattern doesn’t work well or work for long. Those athletes on either extreme – those needing a lot of interaction with others and external support and those needing very little – might be judged for not having a ‘healthy balance’ with the other side. But again, knowing yourself and how you personally gain energy, how you sustain your joy in the training, is the key to longevity, not some sort of arbitrarily imposed balance.
That arrangement of activities, people, and support that consistently gets your engagement and energy going strongest is likely the best for you.
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This is a very necessary post, thanks. I train alone and without an upcoming event or another Robben Island crossing to motivate me, going into the 11 degree Atlantic ocean on a cold day, it is very difficult.