Persevering Through the Most Challenging Months

Motivation & Inspiration

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races, one after the other.”

Hello Bodylogix community!

Hopefully everyone is progressing on their goals! However, even if you haven’t made the progress you set out to yet—or you’ve had some setbacks—the great thing about temporal landmarks is that a new month can be a fresh starting point. A new week can be your chance to readjust and reattack your plan. So, don’t give up just yet!

The winter months are often very challenging, but these past couple years have also had the added stress of the pandemic, lockdowns, and epic uncertainty.

A year ago I wrote about “Maintaining Motivation: Committing to Excellence and Staying on Track” which included a tip on reconnecting with your ‘why.’

To recap: reaffirming your why can reignite your passion and revive your motivation.

What I want to expand on now is that you can have more than one why or ‘source of motivation.’ The Self-determination theory explains it is actually a very good idea to invest in multiple reasons why you should do something; considering what motivates a person at any given time as opposed to seeing motivation as a unitary concept.

In this way, relying on various types of motivation will help you persevere; when one reason may not be enough, having another reason for your target behaviour from different sources can make you take action.

I spoke about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation last year, and according to Self-Determination Theory, there is the spectrum of reasons for your ‘why’ from the most external sources of motivation to the most internal:

  1. External Regulation – Rewards and punishments.

This is your “if I do x then I get y” reason and it is often used to encourage people to take part in a behaviour that they must complete but may not be genuinely interested in. It is not realistic to think you will be highly intrinsically motivated all the time and for every task, sometimes you can have an external regulator that drives your action. Ex. “I don’t want to work out right now, but if I do, I’ll feel better after.”

  1. Introjection – Guilt, fear, or avoidance.

This involves approval from others and is motivation from an internalized, pressuring voice. This type of motivation can be beneficial when feeling the need to be successful on something leads to success. Ex. “I am going to work out today because I want to be a good teammate and training partner.”

  1. Identification – A larger goal or ‘the bigger picture’.

This is a self-endorsement of your goals where you recognize that a behavior is beneficial toward your development, so you adopt that behaviour. Some of the smaller steps to achieving your larger goal might not always be desirable or ‘fun’. Ex. “I’m going to take the time to meal plan for the week, because properly fueling for and recovering from practice will help me be a better athlete in the long run.”

  1. Integration – A sense of purpose and values.

This is the most autonomous kind of extrinsic motivation when your goals align with your personal beliefs and values. Ex. “I go to practice every day and give it my best effort every time because I am a dedicated hard-worker who values consistency and integrity.”

  1. Intrinsic Motivation – Finally the internal reasons of enjoyment, love, personal growth, interest, and satisfaction.

As previously stated, intrinsic motivation encourages a sense of autonomy because the individual is acting out of their own interest and enjoyment. When I think of this why I often reconnect with my younger self and why I started wrestling in the first place, because I find it fun, and I enjoy doing it – I can be creative and tactical because no two matches are ever the same and I can always improve and grow. Some days it is hard to tap into this one when I’m sore and tired, but that’s where my external whys can help where I don’t want to let my teammates down and I have a larger goal of being a world champion.

Challenge yourself to find at least one reason in each category. Draw on these reasons when you maybe aren’t feeling your best to persevere through the times when it doesn’t feel easy. The more reasons you have for your target behaviour, the less likely you will be to talk yourself out of them or make excuses for all of them.