We all know that motivation helps us achieve our goals but do you know how to use motivation effectively? We hear phrases like, “I’m so motivated”, “I’ve lost my motivation”, “I’m just not motivated”, “I need to be motivated so I can achieve” and, of course, many more.
What is motivation?
A UK dictionary defines motivation as ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’. Without motivation there is no reason to train or ride. That just sounds like giving up altogether!
Motivation is a part of a four-step process that leads us to complete a task. If we have a goal we want to achieve, we are motivated to train or improve so we can achieve that goal. Motivation is the fuel of determination – it creates a determination to do what we can to achieve our goal.
Goals – Motivation – Determination – Achievement
Without motivation it is difficult to be determined to complete a training session or a training plan. It’s that almost intangible ingredient that pushes us and makes us determined to complete a particular hard interval.
What sort of goal will motivate you?
We are all motivated by different types of goals. For some cyclists, the promise of cake and coffee mid-way through a ride is just the goal they need to motivate them to ride. For others, it might be completing a specific distance such as 100 kms or 100 miles.
To choose a goal that will motivate you it is essential that you know yourself and what drives you. A goal should be challenging, it should remove you from your ‘comfort-zone’. Nigel Hale-Hunter from BPM Coaching has written an excellent article ‘How To Create Goals For A Successful Season’ in which he advocates the use of SMART goals.
SMART goals will provide the motivation to drive your determination to achieve your goal.
Motivation and training
If you have chosen a challenging SMART goal, you will need to train to achieve that goal. Training can take many forms from just increasing the distance you ride through to a coached training plan.
Most of us will want to use a training plan and some of us will want to use a coach to help us more specifically. Whatever your goal a conversation with a coach will be the best investment in your cycling that you are likely to make.
There are times during your training when your goal seems further away from being achieved than when you started. Reality has a habit of stepping in at some point when doubt creeps into your consciousness. You question what you’re doing and even why you chose a particular goal.
Motivation plays a key role in pushing doubt from your consciousness and bolsters your determination to achieve your goal. Motivation derived from your choice of goal is a strong influence on your desire to make you the best cyclist you can be.
Has this happened to you?
It’s a beautiful day, warm and sunny. You’ve chosen a route with mixed terrain that you haven’t ridden before. You’re excited about the challenge facing you and how it will help you achieve your goal.
The first miles have clipped by quickly. You’ve enthusiastically sprinted over each rise in the terrain. Every hill has passed without incident. Everything is going well – and then it happens!
You’re confronted with a steady incline around 4%. The first mile was easy, the second mile is requiring effort. Third mile winds up a little steeper through woods. You can’t see the top. You can’t see round the next bend. When you get there the gradient pitches up to 10% and the road disappears round the next corner. You can’t see the top. You can’t see the top …
Your legs are telling you they’re exhausted, your breath comes in gasps, you weave across the road and back again. What is round the next bend? How much more of this has to be endured? You can’t see the top…
Another rider climbs passed you, out of the saddle and, seemingly ‘skipping’ up the climb. Your legs want you to stop, your mind tells you to stop to take a breath.
What do you do, how do you react?
You could just stop and get your breath, perhaps take a photo and convince yourself that is what you wanted to do anyway!
Alternatively, you could use your motivation to keep you moving. Think about why you’re riding that route. Imagine how the completion of the task you set yourself will enable you to achieve your goal in the future. Imagine what that will feel like. Motivation can take many forms and used intelligently will fuel your determination to beat that climb, complete that training session and achieve your goal.
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