CAPSULE 4 – Knowing How to Get Motivated and Spring into Action

CAPSULE 4 – Knowing How to Get Motivated and Spring into Action

By Amélie Soulard, PsyD, Psychologist and mental coach at INS Québec

The initial shutdown period has gone by in a flash! We’ve reorganized, adapted, got used to things … a little, somewhat or a lot, each in our own way. Then, bit by bit, time seems to have dragged on, and on, and on. Novelty has given way to boredom. Motivation might have faded away. It’s more difficult to get going.

How can we motivate ourselves and spring back into action

1-Take another look at what drives us forward.

Now is the time for reflection! Remember why you chose to pursue your sport, why you made this career choice or why you embarked on this journey. Think back to when you started: What was it about what you do that inspired you the most? What motivated you to always want to do better or to overcome any obstacles you faced?

What is it about your sport today that inspires you? Has your motivation changed along the way? What makes you keep going today?

Find a picture that shows what drives you to push yourself further. It could be a picture of you, your sport or something else that symbolizes what drives you the most.

It’s also time to revisit your long-term goals and how to achieve them. It may be a good time to change course, if necessary. If preparing for the end of the shutdown also means preparing for your life after retirement, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sophie Brassard, Athlete Orientation and Game Plan advisor: sbrassard@insquebec.org

2-Ask yourself some good questions.

Now is the time for questions. But beware, we have to ask ourselves the “right” questions. While there’s still no answer to the question “When will it end?” as no one knows for certain, some questions are more promising and can inspire us to set new goals. Here are three:

  • “What did I do or learn today?”
  • “What person do I want to be right now?”
  • “What would make me proud at the end of the shutdown?”

3-Just do it anyway.

There is often a false belief that you have to be completely ready and fully motivated to take action. Well, ever heard the phrase “appetite comes with eating?” The saying also applies to motivation. Here are a few tips for springing into action when you don’t really want to.

a- Get rid of “need to” from your vocabulary. This phrase implies an obligation to do something. Being compelled to do something is a source of external motivation that can be useful in the short term, but is not very motivating in the long term. Instead, remember that you’re in charge of your time and your choices. Substitute “need to” with “I choose to (insert action here) … because … (insert a benefit you’ll get from completing the action)”.

b- Find the first smallest thing you’d have to do to begin, then the second, and so on. For example, what if you’re telling yourself that it would be nice to go jogging, but you don’t feel like it? The smallest thing you can do is to kick off your slippers and put on your running sneakers! The second smallest thing could be to get out on the sidewalk and take a deep breath. The third smallest thing could be to jump up and down a few times on the spot to warm up, then run to the street corner, and then to the next corner.

c- Stay connected with your teammates and coaches. You can organize virtual group workouts. It’s also a chance for coaches and athletes to meet one-on-one in order to set goals for when things get going again and for next season, to clarify expectations or needs, and to get feedback. Social support and encouragement by others can be great sources of confidence and motivation!

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