I have always struggled with re-motivating myself after accomplishing a goal. I tend to immerse myself in the process of getting there and then the second it’s over I am left feeling the blues of not knowing what comes next. The little voice of “should” gets really loud inside my mind and eventually the guilt starts settling in. I beat myself up that I have fallen off course. I often think, “I should really go for a run”, but I just can’t seem to muster up the motivation to put on my shoes and get out the door. The reason is just not there.
I remember being a gymnast and always feeling that sense of momentum and fire in the weeks and months leading up to a big competition. A sense of purpose and a plethora of reasons to push beyond my comfort zone were evident each morning I got up. Blinders were on and I had a force field of motivation surrounding me. Nothing feels better than being physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually balanced and inline.
But all of these good feelings would come to a roaring halt literally the day after the competition was done. Whether it was a World Championships, Olympic Games or even the Provincial Championships, I would go through a period of feeling emptiness and lost inside. I would ask myself “what comes next”?
I experienced a particularly hard emotional fall after the 2008 Olympic Games. The pressure was so high and the focus was so intense. I had broken both of my legs just 11 months before and I had fully immersed myself in the process of coming back. There was no doubt in my mind that I had done everything I could to be the best I was capable of being, yet that complete sense of commitment and single minded focus made me feel so out of control when it was all over. Where was I to put my attention? What were my days to filled with? What would be my reason to get up in the morning? Just as I had experienced on many occasions before, when the competition was over, something felt eerily missing.
I’ve come to realize that I am someone who loves the chase. I don’t like to bask in the glory of accomplishment; I would rather have something new to work towards. But there is always that awkward place in the middle where you switch gears from the “chasing” phase to the uncomfortable “not knowing what the next mountain peak looks like” phase. For someone like myself, it’s a very destructive place to be. In fact, having completed my first triathlon a little while back and not knowing exactly what comes next, I am stuck in this middle place as I write.
We know it’s coming. It ALWAYS comes. Why is it that we are surprised when the sad and unmotivated version of ourselves comes out to play?
So what does one do to get out of the funk?
Here’s my plan:
I am going to wake up tomorrow, eat breakfast and then put on my shoes and leash up my dogs. I am going to have a little voice inside my head tell me that I don’t really have a reason to run. It’s going to be loud and it’s going to tell me that I am without a goal. My race is over, remember?
But then I am going to muster up the courage to tell the voice that my new goal will only come to me when I am running! Ah-hah! And then I am going to run. And run. And run. And run. And run. I am going to let my mind free fall with all the possibilities of what that “next” thing may be. I am not going to decide on what exactly it is tomorrow, but I am going to get excited about my options. And then I am going to write them down. I am going to reach out to my friends and see if anyone wants to take on a new challenge with me.
Although I’m an “expert” blogger for Revive.ca, I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to re-motivating myself after accomplishing a goal. There are two things I do know for sure, though. Firstly, regardless of what my new goal will be, I will go through a series of low emotions after I’ve accomplished it. Secondly, the only way to start the process of figuring out what that next goal may be is to lace up and get my body moving. The new goal is not going to fall out of the sky, but the more active I am, the more I participate in my life and immerse myself in something I love (like running), the closer I will come to figuring it out.