Motivation is an often discussed topic especially in the sports world. As difficult sporting challenges have become more mainstream more and more people are looking to challenge themselves (see Phil's article from last week). But, to complete these challenges there must be some form of motivation.
We should look at motivation in two camps, Intrinsic and Extrinsic.
Intrinsic motivation - Motivation from within, no consideration of external factors.
Extrinsic motivation - Motivation from the external factors that come from completion of a challenge.
So what are some examples of intrinsic motivation?
- Mastery of the challenge: Lets take running a great 10km race. Regardless of the time you are looking to achieve maybe you are challenging yourself to negative split the race. It might not break the world record but for you it could be an internal motivator.
- Personal satisfaction: I am never going to be an olympic cyclist. Plain and simple. But could I complete a 50km ride? For a pro cyclist this will probably seem like no challenge at all but for me this would be a personal achievement and bring me satisfaction.
- Enjoyment of the sport: I wish people would consider this more often. Most people reading this article are not professional full time athletes. Most will work for 40 hours a week and have other commitments to fulfil. Please remember to enjoy your sport it is one of life's greatest joys.
So what about extrinsic motivation?
- Praise and recognition: Being told well done you've achieved something amazing can be a great feeling and an absolutely justifiable motivation. Maybe you are the first of a group of peers to break a certain time in your sport, enjoy your praise you earned it!
- Prizes and financial gain: If you are lucky enough to compete in a sport where you can win financial prizes good for you! Use that to motivate you to pull on the shoes and get out there and train, maybe your next big win could be the step you need to go pro?
- Social pressure: This can be unwanted or self inflicted. Some people post on social media or let friends know their goals in order to hold them accountable. This moves their motivation from intrinsic (a personal goal) to extrinsic (a published goal).
So how does this actually help you?
Next time you are questioning what the point of all this training is think back to this article. What drives you? Is it all internal, external or a blend of both? No one persons motivation is going to be identical to another's. Find what helps you be the best you can be and stay consistent and use that to your advantage.
Who knows it might be the key to your next victory?