Falling Off the Wagon

from Mio Global Blog

One thing that every athlete shares is their battle with motivation. We all battle physically when we pursue our goals, but we also endure mental warfare. “Falling off the Wagon” happens to elite, professional and recreational athletes alike no matter the size of their accomplishment list. Life can be extremely stressful with work, kids, having a million things to do… So, due to the natural call of life we can get distracted from our goals. This can eventually lead to a lack of motivation. It’s not easy to gain motivation after falling off the wagon; for me, consistency and routine have always been key as I’ve reached for goals, long and short term.

During my first year of running professionally, I was extremely motivated. I had recently come off a strong period of training, won a few big races… blah blah blah. My next adventure involved 13.1 miles on the road in California in hopes of getting some great competition and experience at the half marathon distance. Coming into the event, I knew I was ranked top 5, but I was motivated to surpass. The gun went off and immediately an athlete shot to the front, surprising us all as the athlete had not shown such strength in the past. With 5 miles to go, the pack I was with started to reel the front runner in, only to be denied 3 miles later, as he sped away. I put all I had into the race and ended up 3rd, satisfied with my jaunt.

Then an email landed in my inbox. The athletes who had finished, earning prize money, were informed that the winner had in fact been busted for using performance enhancing drugs. Now, this was good and bad. I was going to receive more funding from my performance, but also a shadow started to cloud my perception of the sport. Turns out, the victory we all witnessed was too good to be true.

I started to lose passion for the sport. “How can I compete in a sport where athletes are sacrificing their morals and cheating their peers out of a career?” That email was the start to the disarray that lead to me ‘falling off the wagon’. I took a brief interval away from the sport. The passion was still there, but the motivation to train had evaporated. In the end, I realized I could only control my own destiny within the sport. The passions we have as athletes surround our perception of success. I knew how and why I lost my motivation. All I had to do was reminisce back on a time when motivation was at an all-time high.

It wasn’t easy to move forward with my career, accepting the fact that I will inevitably toe the line with a cheater from time to time. I allowed that notion to fuel my training rather than steer me away from my pursuits. My personal preparation became my focus, despite possible cheaters. This acceptance led to the return of my unyielding motivation. In essence, negativity had always drove me to press my physical limits in order to achieve on a level beyond what others expected of me. It’s no secret that negativity doesn’t motivate everyone.

Every athlete has their unique way of motivating themselves as they reach toward their individual goals. Personally, I think there are specific steps that are essential to gain your motivational edge. These broad spectrum core steps that should be placed into focus to move forward with making a change include:

First – Recognize that you have allowed your motivation to decline.

Second – Reflect back on your past. Figure out what it was that motivated you then.

Lastly – Put your plan in motion. Don’t delay! You have already fallen off the wagon so things can’t get much worse. Being lazy or delaying your steps to gain motivation will only keep you off the wagon longer.

As you know, when it comes to athletics, time is everything!

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