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How to get your motivation back

By Jude Palmer – Run Surrey Hills, Trail Running Coach

Motivation can be a fickle thing. Just when you think you have become firm friends; you have introduced it to your family, shared your last chocolate with it, ‘poof’, up it goes and vanishes and you are left wondering what you did wrong. When the nights are long, the days cold and the reality of getting out to exercise hits, that New Year’s resolution to run a marathon (add in your own crazy goal here) can feel as realistic as a trip to the moon.

Here’s how to get your motivation to heel again.

  1. Break it down

Imagine eating an elephant in one go! Crazy, but that’s what many of us do. We fixate on the end; the big, all singing, all dancing, glorious goal. If you want to have a better chance of staying on track and motivated, break your challenge down into bitesize chunks. For example, if you are solely focused on running 26.2 miles, there is a chance you may overlook food, kit, strength and mental preparation, which are just as important. Breaking down your goal means your plan can be a lot more agile too – you can notice if you are smashing it or not and make changes.

  1. Be realistic.

I love a goal that makes you squirm but if a plan means training 12 hours a week when there is no way you can make that time around family and work commitments, then you are heading for disappointment. Don’t give up, just change how you get there. The more personal a training plan is, the more you feel you own it and the more motivated you are.

  1. Celebrate success.

Every time you meet a goal no matter how simple it is, bottle that success and save it for a rainy day. When your motivation is waning, take a sniff and remind yourself what you have achieved and that you can do it.

  1. See the bigger picture.

I often see people whose response to falling motivation is to push themselves harder. The result is that they get more tired and less inspired. Stop and look up. A drop in energy is often our body’s way of signalling time out, that a change is needed. Are we getting enough sleep, food, recovery, variety and do we still buy in to the original goal?

  1. Seek out people who make you feel good about yourself and encourage you in your goals – maybe friends or a coach.

Ignore the people who say you can’t do it. It is easy to mock. It takes courage to do something that slightly scares you.  Likewise, become a supporter of others. Positivity breeds positivity breeds success.

  1. Feed your mojo!

Whilst we humans love a routine we thrive on variety and fun. It makes our brains happier and therefore more motivated. Make times for when you can explore different areas, meet friends and exercise, try new sports or simply be spontaneous.

  1. Reign it in!

Often our motivation at the start is like a new puppy wanting to hurtle on at full speed, ears flapping wildly, only to have to flop on to the sofa exhausted. Remember it is a long game you are playing and so keep some of your enthusiasm in the tank for when you need it.

So whether your motivation mojo is straining at its lead or sulking behind a bush, taking time to get to know what makes it tick can make all the difference.

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