Intention Deficit Disorder: I HAZ IT

Motivation: it’s a commodity I always wished I had more of. The last six months have been difficult for me as my training motivation waned. I ended the year on a pretty motivated high, and as the months passed, I found myself less so. The problem with goal-oriented motivation is precisely this: once we achieve our perceived goals, we have a tendency to lose motivation.

Let’s examine some of my motivations, for example.

  1. Yes, I wanted to lose weight and feel better. I did exactly that, for exactly as long as I was training. When I stopped training, I stopped losing weight and feeling better about myself.
  2. Yes, I wanted to train for exciting new races. I did exactly that, for exactly as long as I was training. When I stopped training, I stopped racing in new races. (Funny how this pattern is so obvious, right?)
  3. Yes, I wanted to help my friends get in better shape. I did exactly that, for exactly as long as I was training. When I stopped training, I stopped helping my friends in better shape. (Great, now I’m starting to feel bad.)

I guess when I stopped training, I felt like I lost intention. The last race I trained (enough) for was the LA Marathon, and that was because I had a team and charity that depended on me to do what I promised. Now that I’m off on my own again I guess I feel like a free agent, not really accountable to anyone — not an app, a blog, a coach, or a team member. At the end of the day, I’m only accountable to myself, and if I’m not even motivated to stay accountable to myself, what does that say about my level of self-respect?

I have this terrible tendency to start things and never finish them. There’s been a lot of things that I’ve started, only to get bored part of the way through. The goals you set need to be SMART —

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Attainable
  4. Relevant
  5. Timely
I think what I struggle with most is relevancy. Are my goals worthwhile? Is it the right time? Does it match my other efforts or needs? Goals that are relevant require support. Having a team to support was fun — stressful, but fun. Maybe what I need this time around is someone to rely on, someone to mentor or coach me, someone to motivate me when I’m feeling down and out. The goals I have aren’t unattainable — a half marathon in a few weeks? I should be able to finish it. A sprint triatlon in 10 weeks? Definitely attainable. A 70.3 at the end of the year? Obviously attainable if I stick to a training plan. But is it relevant? How does something that seems ultimately selfish — spending time on oneself — be justified and relevant to the world at large? Does it have to involve fundraising or a charity for it to be relevant and worthwhile? Should the intrinsic benefit of being a healthier person and spreading my enthusiasm and good cheer be enough?
“Create a vision of who you want to be, and then live into that picture as if it were already true.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger
I think I may be over-thinking it. Sometimes you have to break down the physical barriers of motivation before you can examine the emotional and rational motivations. Strangely enough I think I started running less when I started experiencing more pain in my shins and feet from my shoes. I’ve been running with the same pair of shoes since a month before the Athens marathon. To remedy that issue I finally purchased a new pair. Can’t wait for them to arrive tomorrow so that I can take them for a test drive…and hopefully rekindle my training.