One of the chief complaints I see from athletes right now is about a lack of motivation. Everything you have been working toward (in the short term) has been canceled so you find it hard to keep the training mojo flowing.
So what you're saying is that you need new goals.
To set the stage, the Oxford Dictionary's definition of a goal is "the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result". Put in other words, an expectation of an outcome you are working toward. In light of our current pandemic, not only do you need to reassess how you set goals but you need new goals. You can no longer work toward those outcomes you thought you'd have rapidly approaching.
Ideal goal planning should include a rough semblance of a 3-5 year plan, a 1-2 year plan, and a plan for the current year you are in. This structure gives you macro to micro level focus. With this range you can switch between the different goals to help with motivation.
The most important goals should be your long term goals. Maybe you want to qualify for the Boston Marathon or Ironman World Championships in a few years. Perhaps you're looking to lose 30 pounds or run your favorite local 5k for string of successive years. And maybe you just want to stay healthy enough to always be able to join the local group ride.
These are your long term goals, these can change but not usually in a drastic way. Long term goals should be dictating your overall approach to each individual season.
This is where most of the trouble starts to creep in, especially when we start focusing on the really short term. Goals in a 1-6 month training cycle often constitute the really short term. These goals tend to be the focus of most athletes immediate ambition and drive. The push to get out of bed before your kids is often easier when you know you have a race in 4 weeks and you want to crush your age group.
When I see you commenting on facebook groups that you don't have any motivation to train right now, this is what you're focusing on.
I want you to take a step back for a moment. Think about anything other than fitness and workouts. Maybe your job or your kids or a volunteer activity you participate in. Why do you show up? What are your reasons for going to work, feeding your kids nutritious food, or cleaning up that abandon lot in your neighborhood?
Do you show up every day because your kids need to be healthy in 4 weeks? Or because you need that next paycheck? Ok, that's a trick question. Of course you show up for those reasons but those are not the real reasons.
You show up because you want to see things grow over a long period of time.
If you are reading this I'm going to assume you want your kids to grow up and go to college or find a solid trade or have a family of their own. It's highly likely you want a fulfilling career or to manage a team or to make enough money to retire comfortably. These are some of the reasons you show up every day. You show up every day to parent and work and life because of long terms goals (not short term).
If you haven't realized this by now, your motivation should be predominately driven by the long term. We all know motivation on the short term doesn't work for someone like an Olympian (I mean, come on, they just had the Olympics postponed for a year after 3.5 years (and longer) of getting up every day to do something they weren't sure they'd even qualify for... and some athlete haven't even had the opportunity to qualify yet!). Take this example to heart regardless of how much you don't want to compare yourself to an Olympian.
When it comes to your fitness and racing, you need new goals around motivation and dedication.
I want to circle back to the definition of a goal. A goal is "the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result". How do you reframe your goals, your ambition, the reason for your effort, to motivate you to show up every day? Even when your short term, changes drastically.
Does what you desire align with your core values? Do your goals create lasting ambition? Is this a time to rethink what your goals really are? Be honest, are you willing to put in the required effort to see those desired results?
Here is something you need to hear. I needed to hear this and desperately searched for years to find someone to say it to me. You can change your goals. Your desires can change. The ambition you once had to race Ironman can change and that is OK. No one is judging you.
Like the burning self hate I had for myself when I had the inward dialog that racing triathlon wasn't for me anymore, I understand that this is hard. Most things worth doing are not going to be easy. Changing goals is scary and depressing and can be downright annoying. But you need new goals if you can not show up every day despite the obstacles you face in the short term.
Message me. I'd love to tell you that you need new goals and that it's OK to need new goals.
Think long term and positive growth. Think goals that fit your ambition and help you show up every single day.
Today is a good day for new goals.
March 10, 2021