Want more motivation to workout? Make yourself a BIG deal

Posted on January 15, 2011


I am the fitness pro to clients of all levels – and there is one thing that I have seen my top level athletes do well that the rest of us should learn from. The top athletes I work with, and pro athletes everywhere, use mental motivation & “talk” as a regular part of the training plan. According to them, they are a big. freaking. deal. And the ones that live up to their own hype, sure are, big. freaking. deals.

Mental motivation sounds so trivial, but think of its’ opposite to truly see how powerful it is. Destructive thoughts can make you feel things that are not true, can make you upset when there was never anything to be upset about, and can stir emotions in you that you didn’t even know about! You can take constructive criticism from a colleague and turn it into “they hate me, and I suck” – even though they never said that. You can look in the mirror and say that what you see isn’t good enough, and transfer that to loved ones around you who never said anything of the sort.

You’ve definitely seen destructive thoughts play out on tv in pro sports. Players psych themselves out, make dumb mistakes, and end up with a poor performance as a result of lack of confidence or mental preparation. I think of the NFL in particular, with their noisy players talking smack to eachother through the media, their coaches filling their ears with the biggest talk money can buy in pre-game rituals – all for the purpose of getting those already amazing players heads into the right frame of mind to use their talents to their ultimate capabilities.

Mental toughness. It’s not just for ‘in the moment’ competition. It can and should be used in daily life, and in preparation for the workout that lays ahead. However, one thing I’m definitely not talking about here is what some may consider ‘mental toughness’ when they fight off the afternoon craving for a cupcake. That is good stuff too, but here, I’m referring to a form of mental motivation that when used regularly, can take you from ‘ugh, I have to get a workout in’ to ‘I will dominate this workout, and everyone who tries to get in my way of workout domination.’

 The elite athletes I work with talk the talk, and walk the walk. Because really, they are a big freaking deal. They are achieving great things that the vast majority of the population will never do. They are pushing themselves as far as they possibly can.

So why are you any different? You probably won’t win the Super Bowl (if I have any readers who happen to be pro football players, my apologies, you may win a Super Bowl, but the rest of us…no probably not). What you have the POTENTIAL to do though, is accomplish things you’ve never accomplished before, live up to and beyond your estimated potential, and who knows, you may just be good enough to win a medal in a local race, maintain your weight loss longer than anyone in your family ever has before, or be the first one in your family to successfully avoid needing diabetes meds!

But most non-elites haven’t sharpened the tool that is their mind as well as they can. Elites vision-cast the end result of their mission. They visualize the race/event/practice session going exactly as they intend it to. They make their goal something they think about regularly…and not in a “holy hell what was I thinking” sort of way, but instead in a “I WILL OWN THIS GOAL” sort of way.

I started doing this more and more after beginning endurance running training in earnest last March, when this woman contacted me on my blog & said she was interested in some strength coaching. I watched how she talked about upcoming races, how she zeroed in on the number of reps I told her to finish, and then proceeded to give me exactly that number. I visualized runs like how she did. As I met other beasts & started strength coaching them, I learned from them too…

Intense focus on my success – that is what it boiled down to.

*Sharpen your mind by focusing on YOU and your mission for success

*Visualize your ultimate success – you will create that vision, no one else, so own it. 
The workouts, the main event, the ultimate end-point…feel it, think about how it will feel to get there, correlate that end goal to the “worth it” value to the rest of your life i.e. never needing diabetes meds means my family has a healthier me to be there for them/placing under xx:xx time means I perform better than I ever have before & that would feel like an awesome accomplishment

rowd out thoughts of “I don’t know if I can do this”…nobody knows anything with any certainty, so just accept that & get to work.
The unknown is scary, duh. The great thinkers/business people/philanthropists/activists of this world took a flying leap into the unknown, and for that we have electricity/the Ipad/Livestrong Foundation/Nelson Mandela free from jail. who would have ever known for sure that any of those things were possible?

*Spend plenty of time thinking about YOU – its not selfish unless you act like no one else exists, so still remember those around you, but hone in on YOU. Because really, you’re a big.freaking.deal.