Building and Sustaining Motivation
I think we all know when we are motivated to do something – a combination of energy, focus and positive imagination towards a clear goal.
When we are motivated, our chances of success are increased as motivation helps us channel an intensity of effort in the right direction to achieve our goals.
So what do we do when our goals and our motivation are going in opposite directions? Perhaps we have had a set back or starting to doubt our ability or just over burdened with too many priorities.
Well first of all review your goals – are they SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. See “Goal Setting” where I talk about having a good balance between outcome, performance and process goals. Outcome goals should give you the inspiration – think of our great Olympians and stories as to how they were inspired as young children by watching the Olympics of previous generations! Performance goals give you personal targets to focus your efforts and process goals give you a solid performance plan to deliver the results in the moment.
But also look at what else is or has been motivating you. Is it to please others or look good in public or is it about your own personal satisfaction and the sheer love of taking part in your chosen sport?
In Sports Psychology, this is the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Being motivated by extrinsic or external factors can be helpful, but intrinsic or internal motivation is more sustaining.
Another Sports Psychology concept is called Attribution of Success. Let’s take an example. If I perform well and I put it down to good training and improving skills, this is both personal and sustaining. If, however, I put success down to a lucky day and a poor opposition, then it is outside my control and temporary. So in reviewing your own performance, look to your own skills and efforts and sustainable reasons why you did well.
So to sum up:
Do you have a good balance of outcome, performance and process goals?
Do you have some strong intrinsic motivations?
Do you attribute your success to your own skills and efforts?
Give yourself a mental score from 0 to 5 in each of these areas, 5 being where you are fully happy with your answer and 0 being where you are very unhappy with your answer. If your total score is less than 12, think about how you can change to a more positive attitude – because at the end of the day, that is what it is all about!