Six Tips for Staying Motivated

Six Tips for Staying Motivated

Hello everybody.  My name is Suzanne.  Welcome to my first live video on motivation!  I’m a new coach here with Complete Performance Coaching.  I’m sure a lot of you don’t know me, so here is a little bit about myself.  I’m originally from Indiana, and I now live in Miami, Florida.  I’m an assistant professor of sports psychology at Barry University down here in Miami.

In terms of my sport experience, I was in gymnastics for I don’t even know how many years.  I competed in gymnastics up until I was about 15 is when I ended up quitting.  During that time, I struggled with all kinds of fears and mental blocks.  You name it, I had it.

I know a lot of what you are dealing with, especially the gymnasts out there. I can feel your struggle and I’m here to help.

I want to talk to you about something that I’ve heard from a couple of athletes I’ve worked with over the last few weeks:

How can you stay motivated?

Motivation is this thing that kind of ebbs and flows.  It goes up, it goes down.  It’s not always consistent.  Sometimes, you might just have those days where you’re just not feeling motivated.  You don’t really feel like going to practice or you don’t feel like working hard that day.  That’s completely normal.

Lack of motivation can come from a lot of different things.  Maybe your season isn’t going as well as you wanted it to if you’re midseason.  If you’re in your off-season right now, then maybe you’re thinking, “Oh, I have plenty of time to work on these skills, these things that we’re doing at practice, so I just don’t really feel like doing it today.”  It can come having a bad day, or maybe you’re tired.  We’re in cold and flu season right now, so maybe you’re just not feeling that good.  Or maybe, you just don’t want to go to practice. So like I said, it’s completely normal.

I think everybody has experienced that at some point in their athletic career where they’re just not feeling it.  It’s normal.  However, if it’s getting the point where it’s maybe a few days in a row, you’re in a motivational slump where every single day for the last few days, you just haven’t really been in the mood to get ready and go to practice, that’s what I want to talk about.

How to Stay Motivated

I have a couple of suggestions, a couple of tips that you can try when you’re just not feeling it.

1. Reflection

Go back and reflect and write down your reasons why you compete in your sport.  Why are you putting in so much effort and time?  Maybe you’ve been doing this for a couple of years, maybe you’ve been doing it for 10 or 12 years.  Either way, sit down and reflect, “Why do I do this?  Is it because I love it?  Is it because all my friends are there?  Is it because I’ve set these goals for myself and I want to reach them?  Is it because it’s just who I am?”  Sit down and think about why you are doing this?

That can be a good reminder for when you’re not feeling it.  “I have this goal,” or, “I love this sport,” or, “My best friends are there and I get to see them every day that I go.”  Think about that.  Take some time, do a little reflection on why you’re doing this.

2. Remember Your Goals

Another good thing is to reflect on those goals.  Maybe you’ve set short term goals for your season or maybe you set longterm goals – things you want to accomplish in your career or things you want to accomplish in the next year. Look at those, revisit those.  My favorite types of goals are daily goals.  A daily goal is something that you’re going to set for that day that you wouldn’t accomplish at practice or at your game or at your meet or wherever, but it’s something that needs to be realistic.  It could be something that you’ve been getting the same correction for over and over again.  Maybe every single practice for the last two weeks, your coach has been saying, “Straighten your legs, point your toes, squeeze your belly.”  If you’re getting that same correction over and over again, a daily goal could be to do that correction three times perfectly, or to the best of your ability.

The daily goal isn’t, “I’m going to do it every single time perfectly,” because that’s not realistic.  Instead, you’re going to go to practice and you’re going to focus on, “I know my coach is going to tell me to do this, so I’m going to stick this landing three times.  I’m going focus on pointing my toes three times.” And you can choose the number.  Maybe it’s three, maybe it’s five, depending on how many times you’re doing it, but that way you have something in mind for why you’re going to practice.  What is it that you’re going to accomplish today, not at the meet this weekend, not at the championship game next month, today, right here and right now.

Being Present

We always talk about being in the present moment, not dwelling on the past, or thinking about what could happen in the future, but what are you doing right here right now.  So Daily goals are really helpful for that.

3. Giving Compliments

Another one of my favorite daily goals is for when you don’t want it to be something that you have to do, maybe you’re just feeling like, “Oh, I can’t stick anything right now or I keep falling on every skill.  Maybe I’m going to give three compliments to teammates today at practice.”  Think about how you would feel if one of your teammates said, “Hey, I noticed you’ve been working really hard on that skill and it’s getting so much better,” or, “Wow, you’re so positive and that makes me want to work harder.”  So maybe your daily goal is something like that.  That one is hopefully easy enough that you should be able to reach it every day.

4. Rewarding Yourself

The next thing we have to think about is how we are rewarding ourself when we do meet a goal.  We don’t need necessarily a reward every single day, but maybe halfway through the season, your goal was to have a clean floor routine.  If that was your goal and you met it, make sure you’re rewarding yourself.  You can talk to your parents about it, and maybe you get to choose dinner one night a week or you get to have your favorite meal or watch your favorite movie.

Think about rewarding yourself because everybody needs rewards now and then.  That keeps it fun and it can help keep you motivated on those days where you’re just not feeling it.  When you’re thinking, “I just don’t want to go to practice.  I’m tired,” but then you remember, “Ooh, if I have a clean floor routine this weekend, then I’m going to get a little reward for myself,” that can be another way to motivate yourself.

5. Making Practice Fun

If you’re midseason right now, which a lot of gymnasts are, think about ways to make practice fun.  Now, I know you don’t necessarily have control over practice.  That’s one of the things we can’t control that we leave up to the coach.  But communicating with your coach, that’s something that we talk about a lot.  You can tell your coach, “Hey, since we have to do conditioning can we do maybe our favorite conditioning game?”  Everybody has their favorites.  Maybe make up a new game and run it by coach and say, “Hey, I came up with this game.  What do you think about it?  Could we maybe do it at practice one day this week?”  Keeping things fun is really important.

6. Team Bonding

You can also have fun with your teammates.  It’s not just about, “Oh, we go to the gym together,” or, “We go to the court together,” actually spend time with your teammates outside of sport.  Plan fun activities – have a sleepover, a game night, go bowling.  Do things that keep it fun.

So those are a few of my tips.  Again, my favorite ones are those daily goals and also coming up for rewards with yourself when you meet some of those bigger goals.  Hopefully, if you are struggling with motivation, if you are in a slump, um, you can use some of these tips to help you feel a little bit better and a little more motivated to go reach your goals.

All right everyone, that’s all I have for tonight and I will see you soon.  Take care and have a good night.

Is your gymnast struggling with mental blocks or fear?  Check out my FREE resource for parents.