Developing Lasting Motivation

Staying Motivated Sports Psychologist

One of the greatest mental battles athletes face is the ability to stay motivated and not give up when times get tough. Too often, athletes find themselves training less. One reason for this is due to a major shift in the athlete's perception of training and their goals.

This unproductive pattern looks something like this: 

When athletes are performing well they see training as an opportunity and when athletes are struggling they see training as an obligation.This is one of the worst mental shifts athletes can make because it's their perception of hard work that determines the intensity and duration at which they train. Also, it's the perception of hard work that ultimately determines a lot of their future success. Therefore; if athletes hard work is determined by how they are currently doing in their sport, then their results will be very inconsistent at best.

So how do athletes break this bad mental habit? Well, one way is by strengthening their focus on the opportunity and getting their focus away from the obligation. 

Opportunity Activity:

  1. In this exercise, you want to draw a table with two columns.
  2. Label the first column obligation.
  3. Write down all the reasons why you do not want to work hard. (Some examples maybe because it's tiring or you'll miss out on a social event.)
  4. In the second column write down all the opportunities that lie ahead of you when you commit to working hard and sticking with your goals. (Most likely, the opportunities will outweigh the obligations. Especially, when you write down long-term opportunities, such as obtaining a college scholarship, having a successful professional career, or simply to feel and perform happier.)
  5. Once you've listed your opportunities don't leave your new-found motivation to chance. Instead, visualize yourself achieving each opportunity every morning to get your focus and your actions in place to take on the day productively. (Also, if your opportunities still don't motivate you enough then chances are, those opportunities are not big enough.)


With this mental exercise, you will take more time to think about and visualize bigger, more exciting opportunities, and discover ones that get you feeling better and training harder.