After my workout the other day, something caught my attention. During my workout, I had wanted to stop several times but I didn’t. I could hardly breathe and yet I just had to finish the workout. The same happened the next night at training. There was something that kept saying I needed another round even when I wanted to stop. What kept me going? What is that voice that says “one more round/rep”?
Motivation or discipline?
It certainly wasn’t motivation. I’m often not motivated at all to keep going or even start. I want to give up just like everyone else. It dawned on me that it was discipline. When motivation has deserted me, I rely on the way I have disciplined my mind and body to keep pushing. So what’s the difference? And how can you learn to be disciplined? Here are my ideas on this topic:
Don’t be scared off by the title! No I’m not going to make you write down your SMART short and long term goals (just so you can throw them away the next day. Come on, I’m not the only one who has done this!). Goals do not have to be that specific. But you do have to know what you want out of yourself in order to be motivated in the first place (and your coach needs to know these goals too!).
The type of goals im talking about can be as simple as, “I wanna be Better than I was yesterday” or “I want to go to bed satisfied every day”. You can even turn them into your own little mantra you can repeat in your head to get in the “zone”. I know that has helped me in the past. Above all, this goal has to mean something to you. If you don’t want to be the world champion, if you have no interest in going to Oceanias or if your goal is simply that you want to enjoy skating for the rest of your life, that’s fine! You must have a goal that is appropriate to you. It has to be something that makes you want to move and that speaks to you. It’s ok if you have no idea right now. It just means you have to think harder over the next few days.
Motivation can be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic sources of motivation is when something outside of yourself pushes you to skate. For example, you skate because your coach/mum/friend wants you to, you skate because you want that trophy at the end of the year, you skate because your mum said she’d give you chocolate at the end of training. These are usually found in younger skaters and while they’re very effective and may motivate you sometimes, they’re an unreliable source. (What happens after you get the trophy/chocolate? Will you just stop skating?)Intrinsic motivation comes from within. For example, I skate because I love the feeling of performing, I skate because love working hard to reach my goals, I skate because I love the feeling of spinning. These are much more reliable because you will always have that drive within you to want to keep skating. But day to day, this can falter too. I know I’m not the only person here that sometimes just does not want to skate at all. Who cares if I love spinning? Today, I just wanna lay down and go to sleep. It’s a love hate relationship. On days like this, we can just give up and not go and just wait untill the next time we feel motivated to skate. But is that going to enable you to reach that goal you set at the start? Will you go to bed satisfied if you skip training?
This is where I think discipline comes in. I’m going to use ballerinas as an example. Ballet is brutal. Most ballerinas have calloused, blistered feet constantly. Not to mention the unbelievable demand on the rest of the body that ballet requires. It’s hard. So why the hell do they put themselves through so much pain?! It’s simple, they want it. They need it. They have a goal and they’re not afraid to chase it with everything they’ve got. Professional ballerinas, want to get signed up with a company, travel the world doing what they love. They compete amongst the best for 1 or 2 spots in a company. That’s their extrinsic motivation. To be able to put yourself through that much pain, you have love and believe in the process. That’s their intrinsic motivation. But They also know that if they skip a class, don’t show up to an audition, they’re out. They discipline their bodies and minds by pushing past the feeling of tiredness and laziness. They know their future self will thank them later.I’m usually not motivated to skate but I do it anyway cos I’m disciplined. I know that if I don’t do it, no one else is going to do it for me. For athletes, It’s not about motivation. It’s being disciplined during the days that you’re lacking motivation. That’s the difference between a champion and a competitor. Sure, motivation helps. But it’s unreliable. If you’re relying on motivation to get to that training or getting that footwork ready for your next lesson, you’re setting yourself up for failure. What if you’re tired? What if you haven’t had enough to eat and you’re running low? Discipline pushes you through tiredness. Discipline demands that you treat your body with respect so you have to be disciplined in everything you eat. The way you eat, the amount you drink, what you drink and how much all come into this idea of “being an athlete”. Just like any other athlete would. You have to be able to push yourself regardless of your motivation. Your coach is there to help, but they can only do so much. At some point, you will have to take responsibility for yourself and what you want achieve. They are not you. They don’t know your innermost desires unless you tell them. The coach’s job is to help you get to your goals (along with being your therapist, teacher, second mum, best friend etc, am I right?) but it is 90% in your hands.
Hope you enjoyed this blog post, next one will be about something that I think is just as important as pushing yourself to the limit. It will be about listening to your body and knowing when to stop. It includes being honest and at one with yourself, self awareness and knowing your limits.
If you have any interesting ideas on this topic or others, write us an email by clicking the contact us tab. We’d love to hear from you!