The truth is that these moments are really full of opportunities to help you develop as an athlete and as a person.
“There is a benefit to building what we call ‘self-efficacy’ or belief in your ability to do something if you persist in these moments,” says Jamie Shapiro, an associate professor of sports psychology at the University of Denver. “Helps develop resilience and confidence.”
Thus, it may be worthwhile mentally and physically to move on to moments when you want to give them up. This may be easier said than done. But there are strategies you can use to keep going when you feel tired or otherwise unmotivated. It is very important to know that these moments will happen and to be prepared, is the best way to ensure that you will do the training you want.
“You have to be proactive and prepare for difficult times in advance,” says Edson Filho, an associate professor of sports, exercise and performance psychology at Boston University.
Filho thinks of strategies for use in these moments as tools in a toolbox that you need to collect and learn to use over time. Here are some that may work for you.
Have a conversation with yourself
Ignoring the voice telling you to stop is not the answer. Instead, divert your thinking to good things in life. “You can have a very productive discussion with yourself about why you want to quit,” says Shapiro.
Do you feel tired or is it pain that is trying to prevent injury? If it is an injury pain, stop. If it’s fatigue, what do you need right now is a little kindness and compassion and permission to say it early in the evening?
“Push is not always the right choice,” says Filho. “There is a delusion of mental cruelty that you hear a lot in sports. The mistake that can easily get your claim denied is to fail. “Mental cruelty is also knowing when to stop.”
But it is possible that you really want to keep going and just need a reminder of why you are practicing from the beginning. Something that brings us to our next tip…
Connect with your goals
Goals provide the motivation needed to get us to the gym or the starting line. Reconnecting with them can also help you keep going when you are tempted to quit.
“Remember that motivation, your goals, can help you persevere in those moments when you want to give up,” says Shapiro.
Maybe you are trying to improve the time you spend on the miles, feel strong or gain enough stamina to keep up with your kids on the playground. Shapiro notes that goals vary from person to person, but that does not make them less important to everyone.
Use a mantra or visualization
Achieving a goal in an abstract way can be difficult at the moment. One way you can prepare yourself is by translating your goal into mantra or visualization. Either that confirms that you have it, or you imagine yourself running like a cheetah, go to a workout with a short phrase or a mental picture that encapsulates what you hope to get out of it.
Put a song you love
Filho explains that when we start exercising at a high intensity in a workout, we naturally begin to pay more attention to what we do and our body senses, which can make it harder to keep going. “This is what we call the correlation of attention,” he says.
A mental trick can be to distract yourself. Putting on a song you love can give you a burst of energy and distract your brain from focusing on what your body is doing physically.
Let go of perfectionism
Maybe in some workouts, the goal does not have to be to finish at maximum performance. Sometimes, it can just end. Allow yourself to give less than you think you have, and you will probably end up moving more than if you were asking for perfection.
“Athletes and trainees do not always perform at a top level,” says Filho. Most of the time people attribute to what we call “functional levels of performance”. However, most people believe that they should always perform at a high level. “Perfectionism creates many problems.”
Seize the opportunity to reflect
If you find yourself hitting a wall repeatedly during your workout, you may want to go beyond the self-discussion involved in finding your motivation.
“Make sure any type of exercise or physical activity you do fits your lifestyle,” says Shapiro. “When you have this voice of ‘I can not do it’, you can think, ‘Is there any other activity that would be better for me right now?’
Remember, the best form of exercise is the one you will do. So keep pushing, but also listen.
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