Recapture Your Motivation: 5 Easy Ways to Remain Competitive
It is the New Year. You are motivated and ready to go. This is the year that you are going to get physically fit, take more classes and perhaps even compete at a higher level. All of this means committing time and there seems to be so many distractions for your time. Soon the thought of training yourself and your dog feels a bit overwhelming and all your well- meaning pursuits are taking a back burner and along with your dreams to go to the next level.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 5 easy ways to recapture and reconnect with your motivation so you can realize those dreams.
1. Review: Take a look at your goals. Have you written them down in very specific terms? Regardless of whether your goal to move into competition for the first time or you want to move up into a harder class, you want to write down what you want and WHY. What is the reason you want this?
Once you have a clear picture then visualize what that will feel like to achieve that goal. Create a desire that you can feel so that when you feel a lack of motivation, you can conjure up that feeling and just get started.
Then break down what it will take to achieve that goal. Do you need to work with your dog once a day, several times a day? For how long? What do you need to do to keep yourself physically fit? What classes do you need to take to improve? What is the logical 1st ste? Take that step every day.
2. Routine: Now you know what you want to achieve. You know what to do to achieve it and you have created a strong connection to why you want it. It is time to create some routines. Everybody (including our dogs) do better with routines.
Positive routines become positive habits. Almost everyone has a certain morning routine. An example of a routine that is conducive to high performance includes doing these things first thing in the morning: drinking a glass of water, moving your body, being mindful and setting intentions. And for most people, doing the most important things to achieve your goals should happen early in the morning. This allows you to begin your day with success before distractions (email, jobs, family etc.) begin to take away your time.
Having a routine creates patterns that require you to think less about what you have to do. I make a smoothie for breakfast for my daughter and myself every morning, I have a specific order that the ingredients go into the Vitamixer and I go around my kitchen getting these out in a specific way. I give it minimal thought because it is the same ingredients every day and I know EXACTLY how much of each item to put in.
Now, one way to stay within your plans is to have a flexible routine. Have the primary routine that you do day in and day out and then create a Plan B. For days when you have a conflict, weather is not cooperating or whatever reason, decide ahead of time what you are going to do. You could move training to another time of day or inside or perhaps it is a scheduled rest day. Having a back-up plan keeps you motivated because you are in control of your activities.
3. Reflect: It is important to continually reflect upon the progress you are making and where you might be hitting a roadblock. I recommend daily reflection as the ideal but weekly as the minimum. Ask yourself these questions:
a. What’s working with my training? What’s the best thing that happened today/ this week?
b. What is the reason that this is working or what made it the best thing? (understanding this can help you create more of these moments)
c. What would be ideal for your sessions? (this helps you move more closely to your goals)
d. What is not quite right yet? (opens up the possibilities to move beyond a roadblock or to change a technique to work even better)
e. What resources or support do I need to create my ideal? (This allows you to take the first step toward creating your vision from question # 3.)
4. Reward: Notice what is going well and acknowledge these small wins every day. Our brains are wired for success; when you celebrate mini-successes, your motivation is reinforced and you are creating a stronger connection to your end goal. Think of some ways to reward yourself now and make them fun!
5. Relax: Sometimes you just need to take a break and that is okay. If you feel like you are pushing too much or your dog is not responding in the way you want, it may be better to ease off and start again tomorrow. Define that this is “one day off. Be in control and in choice and leave your guilt at the door. If you are taking the day off, then relax and truly enjoy it so that you can be energized and back to training the very next day.
Using these 5 easy ways will help you stay motivated so you can become/stay competitive. However, perhaps you are still experiencing some sabotage behaviors including procrastination.
If so, you may benefit from reading “10 Ways to Put-Off Procrastination: Learn Strategies to Get More Done so You have more time for the Fun stuff”.
Grab your free copy here: