Study after study has shown that an individual’s willpower is one of the best predictors of lifelong success. Certainly, this is true for athletes. We’ve all heard stories about athletes with an iron will… athletes that subjected themselves to decades of rigorous discipline before they achieved their ultimate successes. I get really inspired by these examples, don’t you? I mean, who doesn’t get pumped when they watch the training montages in Rocky movies. Something about seeing Rocky transform himself as he runs through the neighborhood, pounds dead cows in a meat locker, and chases chickens to the sound of an epic soundtrack gets the blood pumping. But is real training like this? I don’t know about you, but my last cardio workout wasn’t accompanied by hundreds of school children running alongside me, chanting my name, and leaping for joy when I finished.
(If this reference seems confusing, watch this)
Real training is about lifelong commitment. It is about pushing yourself no matter what, even when you have zero motivation. The greatest athletes understand this. Muhammed Ali publicly admitted that he “hated every minute of training,” but somehow he found the strength to train himself into the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. How are elite performers able to do this? How do they squeeze every ounce out of themselves – especially, when they don’t feel like it?
I am creating a series of posts over the next couple of weeks that digs deeper into that question. For now, though, I will give you one pointer that has helped me when I’ve needed a boost of motivation: View your workout goals with a growth mindset. This means that you realize that where you are today can be improved upon. You are not permanently stuck at your current level of fitness. More importantly, you are not permanently stuck with your current level of motivation. Both of these things can be improved. What is important now is that you take a small step toward your goal. Don’t build your workload so big in your mind that it discourages you from taking action. It’s great to have big goals, but these goals can impede progress if you don’t focus on small, gradual improvements. Accept where you are right now and put your focus on getting a little better every day. Taking action right now, even if it’s for just five minutes, will benefit your body and mind. It will give you momentum to build upon. It will strengthen your resolve. Don’t let the opportunity in this moment pass. One small step can put you on the course to accomplishing your dreams.
I would love to hear any feedback that you have about what motivational strategies work best for you. Please share your insights with us in the comment section.
Now go get ‘em!