Motivation & Brick Walls

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Sunday night, you’re bored/frustrated, browsing social media. Some #fitspo catches your eye, you see an inspirational video, your friend transformed themselves, or maybe you just are fed up feeling hungover to fuck on weekends.

You watch a few more videos, check out some new exercise Programme, and are fired up! Tomorrow, you’re going to own your new lifestyle!

Maybe it’s even not as dramatic as that. Maybe you’re already deep into CrossFit and decide after watching the latest documentary on Netflix that you’re going to step your game up. I mean, your mate who started after you has just out squatted you, and you’re “rival” got a new Fran PR. Time to attack the gym with renewed vigour!

From now on, you’re going to train like a hero!

But then you get into class and holy shit the weight staples you to the floor! You hop up on the pull up bar and the effortless butterfly pull ups don’t appear. What gives!?

Motivational videos, quotes, and people all have their place. But their job is to fire you up to get started. They don’t show you the pitfalls. They don’t show you the brick walls that we all encounter.

We’d be lion if we said it was always easy!

Every single victory that inspires you won’t show you every roadblock that was encountered and overcome along the way. You won’t see the times Katrin Davidsdottir broke down and cried (unless it’s very public at Regionals). You won’t see the times Fraser missed his warm up snatches because he was too beat up from the day before. But they happen. Watch any truly inspirational movie and you’ll see the hero come up against “impossible” brick wall after another. We just forget this when the Rocky music starts pumping.

So what gets you through this when the initial motivation has faded, when the weight is crushing you and you don’t have the lungs you want? Firstly, remembering that without the guts there’s no glory can go a long way.

Secondly, in the moment remember to talk positively to yourself. “Fucking hell” is not the best reaction! “Brace hard and drive!” is a lot better. Stay positive and coach yourself through the task at hand. This takes work, and guess what? You’ll fall down here. Reactions can happen before conscious thought so you could find yourself already panicking because the workout isn’t working out as perfectly and effortlessly as you envisioned. When you notice this, simply take a breath and start constructively coaching yourself.

Don’t listen to that devil on your shoulder!

Lastly, in your review of a session, focus on the positives. What went right? What will you replicate again next time? Sure, spend some time analysing what you’d change if you had to do it over again. But don’t dwell on it. Review and move on.

Setbacks, brick walls, apparent dead ends, and regressions are inevitable. How they’re handled is going to go a long way in determining if you’ll go a long way.

(Quote from Randy Pausch – The Last Lecture)

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