10 kms down and 10 to go! Grrr….the voice inside my head is saying “Give up!” But there is a voice on the outside, yelling “Daph…come on Daph…nearly there…SMILE!” For the very first time in my life, I ran in a 20 km obstacle course in Tough Mudder. This event is going down as one of the hardest physical and mental challenges that I have ever set for myself. Why so hard? Because I have never labelled myself a runner and running is not my passion. In fact, running is what I perceive to be, my weakness. But I did it, thanks to the strong, whilst nurturing voice of Jamie Bennett (JB), a 25 year old personal trainer at Virgin Active and the awesome team that he pulled together.
JB and the team. Photography Credit: Stevie Mcguire
What keeps you motivated? For starters, setting goals!
1. Set those goals
Goals are personal and they must be set and owned by the individual. There are plenty of well meaning people (me included) that desperately want to set goals for others (my children). But if the goals are not theirs to own, the satisfaction of getting someone to do what you want is short lived.
Goal setting begins and ends with you.
What motivates you can be different for each one of us, as there are extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivation comes from the outside of the individual and they are the behaviours that are driven by external rewards such as gifts, money, fame, grades, and praise. Intrinsic motivation comes from inside the individual and it involves engaging in a specific behaviour because it is personally rewarding.
In my twenties, I would set both personal and career orientated goals. My personal goals, were based on activities that I wanted to experience, like scuba diving in Tahiti or horse back riding in Mexico and my career orientated goals were based on what I needed to learn and improve, in order for me to advance my career. The goals that I had set and wanted to achieve for myself were motivated by external rewards, to earn more money, in order for me to achieve my personal reward, which was to enjoy different experiences.
2. Plan to achieve your goals
Some people are kept motivated because they are competitive and when they reach their limits, they focus on the finish line. Others are kept motivated because they have an old picture of themselves which reminds them of how far they have come in their life. In order to achieve our goals, we need to plan for success, have patience and make an effort.
A for Effort –
When you are working towards achieving a goal you need to put in 100% effort consistently. Whether it be when doing your homework, training for an event, or practising that dance move, the amount of effort you make will determine your outcome. In moments of weakness when all you want to do is ‘give up’ or ‘give in’, reflecting on the fact you have been scoring an “‘A’ for effort” must keep you motivated. Once you have been disciplined in aiming for A for Effort, it’s only then a matter of time before your goals are realised.
Samantha training hard with Sue. Photography credit JB
JB’s 12 week training program had guaranteed that we would put in maximum effort. We were not only prepared for the challenge we were ready to meet our goals both as a team and as individuals.
A strategic plan needs to be implemented in order for you to achieve your goals.
Aside from setting and wanting to achieve your goals, what keeps you motivated when you are just about to give up?
3. Motivating relationships
Your relationships and particularly those people your choose to spend the majority of you time with, are critical in helping you keep motivated.
Power behind mentoring …
When I was younger and in those moments of weakness when all I wanted to do was, ‘give up’, it was the voices of the older people in my life that kept me motivated. The first six months of University were a nightmare! I desperately wanted to ‘give up’. My mother the warrior, refused to allow me to accept defeat. “You always finish that which you have started,” mum would always say. So I completed my first degree, and then went back to University a couple more times…I become hooked on learning.
In my role as an account manager and after four years, I could not crack a significant sale with this one client. Naturally, there were times that I became disillusioned but the warrior spirit and belief from those around me meant that I could not accept defeat. In my fifth year with this client, I won every single brief. All those four years of rejection were finally rewarded in that fifth year. Once again the belief in my abilities from those around me kept me motivated.
The changing voices of mentors …
The night before Tough Mudder, I heard the rain pounding at my window and the wind screaming through the cracks of our incomplete renovations. I’m thinking, why am I doing this again? What motivated me in the first place was my goal to keep healthy and fit and JB’s belief that I could do it!
JB has a wicked sense of humour and at the same time, is also quite stern. JB’s discipline and laser focus guarantees that he will swiftly pull me into line each and every time I lose focus.
Funnily enough, the voices that keep me motivated today are a lot younger than me. My mentors today are those that were not yet born, when I first took a gym membership or completed my first degree. The age gap between my mentors has now reversed and is widening.
Team dinner before the challenge.
Physically I may have been ready, but it was my mind that the voices of the trainers were speaking to on the day of the challenge. When I desperately wanted to walk or have a drink break, it was the trainer’s voices that helped push me beyond my limits. Tough Mudder was certainly a test of physical and mental endurance and grit.
In the words of Aristotle – The Energy of the mind is the essence of life.
After the mud is washed off …
After the challenge is accomplished you get a burst of self pride and gratitude for those people that placed your goals before theirs. With a cheerful smile on his face, Mitch, another trainer at Virgin Active was determined that I was going to keep running!
Mitch being piggybacked by Andrew.
No matter what type of challenge you face in life, once it’s over, the mud, sweat and tears can be washed off (thanks to the work of Cosmetic Chemists)… you can go from muddy mess to sophisticated glamour in minutes!
From muddy mess to our glam doll Elcia. Photography Credit: Samantha Young
We do not live in a vacuum and we are either positively or negatively affected from those in our environment.
The Greeks say, “ Tell me with whom you hang out with and I will tell you who you are!”
Choose wisely with whom you spend your time. Your friends and mentors have the power to keep you motivated and subsequently you can achieve your goals.
Title Page Photograph: Jamie Bennett (JB) being piggybacked by ..ME RUNNING!
Barraclough, J. (2013). Believeperform. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from Extrinsic Versus Intrinsic Motivation: http://believeperform.com/education/extrinsic-vs-intrinsic-motivation/
Clear, J. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, Motivation: The Scientific Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated. Retrieved from www.jamesclear.com
Cherry, K. Retrieved 22 November, 2016, Differences Between Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation, June 2016, https://www.verywell.com/differences-between-extrinsic-and-intrinsic-motivation-2795384
Bumgarner, D. Motivating your intelligent but unmotivated teenager. www.behavior-coach.com
Boyd, N. Retrieved 20 November 2016, Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in Education: Definition & Examples, from http://study.com/academy/lesson/intrinsic-and-extrinsic-motivation-in-education-definition-examples.html