Many of my clients come to me with one common struggle: low motivation. It’s not so much the feeling of low motivation, but the struggle with how to deal with it, that catches most athletes off-guard.
Before we dive any deeper into this issue, I want you to know that this struggle is completely normal. Even high-achieving athletes go through these phases every once in a while!
Not only is losing motivation a common struggle, but many people address the problem in the same way. They assume that the best course of action is to just push through it; to work themselves harder, train to the max, and eventually just “get over it”.
I cannot stress this enough: this is the exact opposite of the response you should have! By forcing yourself to work harder when you’re fighting to motivate yourself, your efforts will ultimately backfire, leaving you defeated and possibly even burned out.
Here are two suggestions for how to deal with low motivation:
1. Take A Break
Whether it’s a long weekend or (ideally) a couple of weeks, step back from your daily routine and allow yourself to reset.
Obviously, this is easier said than done, especially when you’re at the peak of the season. Even if you can only take a day off, you’ll be surprised at how much it can affect you. Give yourself as much time as possible to allow your body to heal, rest, and get ready to train again. Your mind also needs a break; a chance to calm down, disconnect, and stop focusing all of the time.
Give yourself the down time your body and mind crave; you’ll be amazed at how excited you’ll be to return to training (and how well you’ll excel when you get back on the field with your newly rejuvenated self!)
2. Learn A Life Skill
As a student athlete, your biggest focuses are your academics and your sport. Did you know that, as you make your way into the world and face new challenges, you’ll find yourself lacking in motivation again and again?
Right now is an excellent time to take your experiences and transform them into an opportunity to learn a new life skill; in this case, how to “shut off”. Between classes, studying, sports, and other extracurriculars, there’s no doubt that you’ve got a lot on your plate. If you can learn how to disconnect from all of your roles and spend quality time with your family and friends, you’ll be starting yourself on a true path to success for the rest of your life.
It’s important to build up a support group outside of your sport and your schoolwork. These people should be there to help you disconnect, and not be constant reminders of all of the work you might have waiting for you. Master the skill of “shutting off” today. Your future self will thank you for it!