Motivation: A critical factor in training, probably the critical factor.
If you aren't motivated, you won't train hard enough to reach your goals. You may not train at all.
One way you can help yourself is to find out what motivates you.
What is it that makes you want to train? This is distinct from goals, per se. "I want to lose 10 pounds by April" isn't what I mean by motivation. What I mean is, what kind of motivation do you have?
Are you internally or externally motivated? That is to say, does your motivation primarily come from intrinsic factors or feelings of accomplishment, or from external rewards?
Externally Motivated: Does your motivation primarily come from external rewards or results? If you need to see your results up on the whiteboard at the gym, or get an attaboy from your coach, or get a certificate or a prize for success, you are probably more externally motivated. Set up your goals, and set up your rewards, externally. Put your results up where people can see them. Set your goals competitively, where your positive results result in rewards, certificates, and congratulations.
Internally Motivated: Does your motivation primarily come from within? If you don't really care about attaboys and whiteboard displays, you don't need much of a reward system. In fact, you might be bothered by it, and de-motivated by competition. Concentrate your goals and rewards internally - keep in mind how training makes you feel, and how the results of your hard work improve yourself. Don't worry about competition, and if it's distracting to you don't participate.
Neither of these is better or worse than the other. There is nothing bad about needing an external reward, or being put off by one. The point is to find out what motivates you to train...and use that to inspire yourself to better results. If you need a pat on the back and a coach to kick your butt into gear, get a coach who'll reward you and push you. If you're so motivated you'll overtrain if you don't have someone stop you, get a coach who will tell you when to stop and go home.
Just match the source of your motivation with the way you motivate yourself, and you'll be happier training and get more success.
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