Motivation to Train; Where to Find it When it’s Lost

My go-to type of motivation is called Identity Motivation and it is a form of intrinsic motivation that sport psychologists offer their athletes to remind them that they have motivation, they just need to tap back into it.

The fact that you are reading this article tells me you once were motivated. Let’s just say people that aren’t concerned about being motivated don’t understand what it feels like to have lost it! With this understanding us athletes can begin to “look within” to find the motivation we once had.

There are several types but I share this one as it always gets me up off the couch and back to training. Here are the characteristics:

  • It is tied to who you are
  • It reflects what you value
  • It is what you do
  • It links you to your community

So lets take a look at each of these and I will share why these characteristics matter to me and hopefully you can relate and use the example to ignite your fire!


It is tied to who you are

I have spent 17 years paddling and it is who I am. It has been a long term endeavor that has allowed me to reach goals and excel. I am known as a paddler. So when I’m feeling unmotivated I remind myself that paddling has been the platform that has allowed me to express myself.

It reflects what you value

The effort it takes to improve at something and the sticktoitness of a process is something I deeply value. It says that you are a committed person, that you are resilient, that you are willing to change. Paddling is a huge path of self actualization for me and has given me the desire to learn and grow. This is a core value of mine. I know how it feels to set paddling goals and reach them. So when I don’t feel motivated I remind myself of all the times I accepted the challenges set forth in this sport and that I came out the other end forever changed. This inspires me to get back to doing what I love.

It is what you do

It is just what I do. I don’t have to explain myself, justify my passion or think too much. It is embedded in my core. If I had to choose a sport, an activity or a way to get exercise I would paddle. It’s just what I do and it makes me feel good knowing I have “my thing”. Sometimes when I look for motivation paddling I can keep it very surface level and just tell myself “its what you do Cheryl, its who you are, its what you value so be like Nike and just do it”!

It links you to your community

Over the years I have made great friends in every level of paddling in both dragonboat and outrigger. These friends have become a network that I do many other activities with. My family has got to know their family and it has brought numerous experiences in all other facets of living for all of us. I made friends 17 years ago with those paddlers and we still meet over paddling, curling, and dinner! The ladies I trained with in my journey as a national athlete who I competed with and traveled with over the years share a piece of my soul. They get me and I get them. This is a very deep part of the intrinsic motivation that inspires me as I see the fullness of my life expressed through the connections and experiences created from sport.

So, if you find yourself concerned about not being motivated, congratulations for being here. I’m telling you that you already are. Maybe one of the above can spur you into your old self once again also. And if all else fails; drop me a line, I am sure a chat about paddling is just what the doctor ordered to light that fire once again.


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