Regaining The Motivation
These are my feelings, but from the messages I have had over the year, it would appear that I am not alone.
It seems a few of us have struggled recently with the motivation to train with intensity, consistently or with a purpose. Although 2020 probably gave most of us more time to train and many of us used this time positively to get out and about for daily walks, the motivation and goals to push ourselves hard may not have been there.
If I am honest, Covid-19 did not sap my motivation or desire to push myself physically and mentally. That desire was gone long before March 2020. The 6 years that lead up to these “Strange times”, had been a period of frustration. Either trying to go to big to soon and blowing up with injuries or on occasions the lack of motivation to finish an event when the going got tough.
I have always believed that you should never not do something because you are afraid of failure. However, I now know that every non completion of a challenge or race DNF, takes something away from your mental strength and resilience and makes the next time you quit so much easier to do, not good.
The way I see it,
There are 3 reasons you can fail.
- It is genuinely physically too hard.
- Things outside of your control, went against you.
- You were just not well enough prepared.
If it is number 1, you have got to put your hands up and say, that is beyond my abilities and reassess your goals.
If its 2, this can eat away at you, you know its not your fault, but you also feel like you must justify why it went wrong. If it really means that much, you will feel like you have unfinished business and will have to put it right before moving on.
If its 3, you must ask yourself have you got what it takes to put it right, to do the hard yards and get it done, or did you just want to do it for “The Gram” and have the kudos without the hard work. Failure on number 3 is no ones fault but your own and shows what you are about, if you have the ability to go back and rectify it.
Personally, I have failed several times on all 3 points and the more this happened, the more I found myself in a motivational wilderness. Don’t get me wrong, I am also in a fortunate situation that my work allows me to see others achieve amazing things and this became my new goal. Plus I also spend my time coasteering, kayaking or in the Mountains, which keeps me active and provides so much enjoyment, but for the vast majority of the time all of this is well within my comfort zone. And I crave something to take me out of this but lacked the motivation of what?
Step into January – Pembrokeshire 2021
Then the step into January challenge popped up on my radar. The challenge was to walk 10K steps every day over the month of January.
At first, I thought this is a good idea, but I always try and do 10K steps a day anyway, so probably already do this. And it won’t take me out of my comfort zone. So initially I wasn’t going to do it.
Then I looked at my Garmin Connect and could see that during 2020, I had not completed the 10K recommended daily steps once for a full month for the entire year and on several occasions I was up to 20 days short per month. I thought to myself, this is shocking.
So I took a better look at the step into January challenge and a few things caught my eye. And for the following reasons I signed up.
- To give me something positive to focus on in a Lock Down January (we all needed that)
- The challenge was for two great charities, “Get the Boys a lift” and “Megan Starr Foundation”. (If you or any one you know, young or old, need help with Mental Health issues or Bullying (online or in person) please contact either and start getting help).
- The event was being put on by two local guys “Colin Picton” and “Tim Hughes” and I wanted to support them in their efforts.
- Personally, I knew the challenge would not put unnecessary strain on the body and cause another overuse injury, so knew it was achievable.
- I new the challenge may not take me out of my comfort zone, but it would involve motivation, time management and staying power. All things that are baselines for any challenge and attributes that we need to keep us focused in these times.
- In the simplest terms, something I could aim for, enjoy and achieve.
The challenge was managed within a private Facebook group with a diverse mixture of people, all doing it for their own reasons. The support and encouragement was great, no egos, no pressure, 100% Positive.
This might sound weird, but the month of January actually seemed to go pretty quick. The challenge certainly helped with this and under the current situation you can’t fault that.
On a personal note, I started off as usual, smashed the first 4 days with double the required distances. Then I thought, calm down and enjoy it. From there on, I just relaxed, took nice daily walks. And hoped the steps would take care of themselves.
Sounds easy right, However there were still a fair few days, That I had been busy doing other things (believe it or not) and then found, it was late at night, I was warm and comfortable, the legs were feeling stiff and tired and the wind and rain were howling and I still needed to make up 2 miles or so. These are the times you need an extra bit of motivation and for January mine came from being part of this group.
Now that this challenge has finished, I am genuinely pleased for the following reasons.
- That I stuck with it, was motivated to get up, put my shoes and coat on and get out, no matter the time or weather. Factors of distance and weather have never been a problem, its the consistency that has been lacking in recent years and what I am most pleased with.
- That I have actually completed something and my body is not broken and that I now feel motivated to move on and build on what has been done and set a new equally manageable February challenge.
- Pleased to have been part of the group and in seeing others achieve their end goal too.
- The group raised £8000 for the two charities. Now my part in this was minimal, but to be involved a little bit is so good. A massive well done to all those who worked hard to make this happen, especially Col and Tim, awesome effort and much needed funds raised for two great local charities.
I think if you are stuck in the wilderness of inconsistent training, lack of motivation or the ability to push yourself into that pain barrier. Stop thinking of and judging your standards of where you were at or what you have done previously, but do something fun and achievable instead.
Something that will get you back into the routine of exercising. And from there you just do what makes you happy, if walking is your new running or an e-bike is your new TT just enjoy it. But if and only if, the desire then returns to start stepping outside the comfort zone and taking on some epic challenges again, you will be in a stronger place.
But whatever don’t be hard on yourself.