What's Your Motivation?

What’s Your Motivation?

(Applying what we learn from our pursuit of sport to our normal lives)

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Understanding what motivates us can help us dig deeper when things get tough, and it can give us purposeful direction. Why do we train, why do we go to the gym, why do we do hard or challenging things? These are questions we ask in the arena of motivation as it applies to physical fitness or athletics, but I believe these types of questions can also have a significant positive impact in all of our endeavors, health, sport, life, and beyond. Gaining faculty of mind, to be analytical and critical about our motivations, our behaviors, gives us true power to be the people we want to be and distances us from being woeful victims of circumstance.

10 years ago I was a different person. I was completely unaware of why I did the things that I did, completely unaware of the motivation behind my actions (-or lack thereof), and very unaware of my behavior overall (as I assume most early 20-somethings are). I thought I knew the person I wanted to be, the life I wanted to live, but I was almost completely complacent to circumstance. I wanted more than I was willing to work for. I was unwilling, unable, not motivated enough to pursue my wants, hopes, and dreams.I was a victim of my upbringing, a victim of my social network, and a victim of my inability to be analytical of my behavior(s).

For me, after years of frustration, it was my pursuit of improving my physical health through exercise and diet that gave me the ability to be successfully introspective. I was able to apply the structured approach I learned in exercise and training for the sport to my everyday life. It resulted in successes and progress in my personal life, for what felt like the first time. It gave me a new perspective. I gained an understanding that I could control outcomes in my personal life the same way I could with training, through conscious thought and structure. This is where my course changed direction. It was the keystone in my self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the ability to succeed in certain situations or to achieve tasks (*citation). Self-efficacy is the strongest predictor of future behaviors(*citation). For fitness professionals, we recognize that those who have been successful in the past are more likely to be successful in the future. It’s very important to remember that past success does not guarantee success in the future any more than past failures guarantee failures in the future. Though, what I can personally guarantee you is that who you are today does not define who you will be, or could be, in the future.

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So I ask you, why do you train like you do? Or why don’t you train like you should? Why do you want to run that race, climb that rock face, or participate in that target event? The answer(s) may not be, and that’s okay. Asking ourselves, being introspective, and possibly learning something from ourselves is a valuable asset here. The more we ask questions like these, the more consistent and accurate those answers are, the more valuable that information is. This is power. It’s the power you can apply not only to your training and athletic endeavors but to all endeavors. We’re rarely athletes first and normal functioning people with jobs and families second. I believe what we can learn from our athletic endeavors, what we can cultivate from the experience of being successful in training and competition, can help us be better “normal functioning people”.

Shona McHone