Stop the excuses

What's the source for your motivation?                                 photo credit: MACCA Ironman Hawaii 2010 via photopin (license)

What’s the source for your motivation?
photo credit: MACCA Ironman Hawaii 2010 via photopin (license)

Athletes are in love with their goals. Goals, however, do not guarantee motivation. As I’ve studied sports psychology, you’ll need more than goals to get you fired up. If you’re aiming to go BIG, then pay attention because this critical factor influences your success. You see, you may really mean that you’re aiming big when sharing your plans with others. Talk is the easy part. Of course, you’ve heard the phrase about walking your talk. And how many athletes do you know who talk a BIG game, but are full of excuses when you are counting on them? Actions tell the real story. Not just the actions you take, but the actions you don’t take. What do I mean by that? Pay attention to the athletes around you. I bet you can tell the difference between athletes who take a “no-excuses” approach from athletes who say they’re highly committed to improving their sports performance, but their mojo is non-existent. Why is that? The spark of passion is missing.

Basic sports psychology isn’t enough

What contributes to passion or mojo? The answer is easy. The solution is universal. That means it goes beyond general sports psychology. Motivation is the source of passion and purpose. Your commitment to follow through is rock solid. You constantly challenge yourself because you’re driven to improve your sports performance. Motivation determines whether you’re willing to go the full distance, or not. Without the right drive, you’ll eventually lose your spark. When the flame dies, your game suffers. Tapping into the right drive inspires you to stick it out, even when it’s uncomfortable. Two types of motivation exist, but only one of them leads to a rewarding payoff.

When sports is a grind

Who’s expecting you to play sports? Does someone else pressure you to compete? Or is it your ticket out of a difficult life? These are some reasons you got started with your sport. Sports psychology calls this an external, or extrinsic, motivator because it has to do with things outside of you. Energy is wasted when you try to control things which are beyond your control. We all possess some external motivators. The mental game mistake happens when they’re your primary driver. Now think about an athlete you know who goes through the motions as if it’s a job. Sports stopped being fun for that athlete. In fact it’s turned into a grind. When an athlete is solely driven by external motivators, eventually things become bland because their heart isn’t really into the game.

Sports psychology tools motivate athletes to achieve more photo credit: MACCA via photopin (license)

Sports psychology tools motivate athletes to achieve more
photo credit: MACCA via photopin (license)

Your mojo boost

Maybe you’re driven to prove you’re the best? Possibly it’s the only time when you feel fully alive. You get charged from challenging your limits Mojo is fueled by internal, or intrinsic, motivation. Your push to go the distance comes from within. Your reason to excel is highly personal. What’s really cool is that even when it’s tough, you’re up for the challenge. You participate because you choose to, not because you have to. It’s as if a flame is burning within you, igniting you to be the best you can possibly be. Obstacles turn into challenges. Nothing’s going to get in your way. You’re unstoppable!

Sports Psychology Full Commitment Assessment

Your Challenge: Now take a moment to determine if you’re driven for the right reasons. This sports psychology assessment shows you that it’s entirely possible to have full commitment, but underlying obstacles may reduce your motivation which will slow down your gains. Get brutally honest with yourself. Rate each question from 1 to 5, with 1 being low and 5 being very high.

  1. Unsure about your goal. Do you feel conflict? Sometimes a downside to winning exists. Maybe you see yourself as the top ranked athlete in your group, but don’t like bringing attention to yourself. Your Score:___________
  2. You like control. Control issues or perfection create a bottleneck so others may surpass you. Your Score:___________
  3. You interfere with progress. Trying to figure out “how” it’s going to play out can slow you down. There are some things you don’t know yet. Your Score:___________
  4. Trust is an issue. You’re a lone ranger and don’t like depending on others. Maybe you want others to see you as having it all together, even though you’re not really confident. Your Score:___________
  5. Unclear vision. You can’t see yourself reaching your goal. Maybe you don’t deserve it or everyone surrounding you constantly pick out your weak points instead of celebrating your successes. Your Score:___________

Where do you rate? 1-8 is high internal motivation 9-15 is a combination of internal and external motivation 16-25 is high external motivation Although many athletes get started due to an external reason, over time as your desire to improve grows stronger, the motivation transitions from external to internal. Here’s the pay off, internal reasons strengthen your self-image, your perception and your commitment, even when the going gets tough. No matter what, you possess a crystal clear focus. The external motivators then become icing on the cake. They are excellent additional reasons, but if they don’t last you’ll still possess a strong spark. Now that you are aware of the two different motivators, the rest is up to you. Get crystal clear with your purpose, connect with your personal reason to do whatever is necessary to succeed and believe it is fully possible. Sports psychology gives you the mental game tools to win. Believing in yourself and your full potential is a game changer.

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