"Alright, time to get to work" as I closed my trunk, grabbed my gear and headed for the gym. My routine tonight was simple. It was fundamentally the same work out that I had been doing for the last few months. 5 K run, 300 skip knees, warm up, pad work, bag work, clinch/spar, sit-ups. It takes about 2.5 hours and I train 6 days a week. I was getting ready for my first open class national tournament in Oklahoma in a few weeks. Despite being repetitive, mentally and physically challenging we (my team) always maintained motivation to train. Here are 5 strategies that I use to stay motivated to train. I have successfully implemented these strategies in other areas of my life such as: work, school, and business.
Everyone in this world gets lazy. We're all human beings! Generally, we all feel the same emotions. When we have nothing to do, we get bored, when do something fun we feel excited or when someone yells as us, we feel upset. So it is inevitable, when you need to do something over and over again you may feel bored and lose motivation. Have no fear! There are proven ways that you can use to stay motivated.
1 - Review Your Goals Every Day
Having goals is one of the most important keys to success. It focuses all your energy the way a magnifying glass focuses sunlight. In our 12 week program, step 1 is where we introduce the sensory driven goal (SDG). SDG's are goals that have the five senses associated with them. As part of your goal setting practice you write out and image a typical day, where your goals have already been reached. You think about what you do when you wake up, what do you eat, how it feels, how it smells, what type of sounds you are hearing. This will make your dream closer to reality and when you start to loose motivation, you will remember how it felt to reach your goals and that will motivate you to keep going. The second step after defining your goals is to take massive action. Goals without action, are worthless. However, if you put yourself in a clear, and resourceful mindset and take massive action every single day towards your goal. You will draw on the forces of the universe to align and allow you to reach your goals.
2 - Define Your Why
Do you ever find yourself saying "O I have no time for that" well, actually, you do have time for it. Everyone has 24 hours a day; Jay z, Richard Branson, Elon Musk all have 24 hours a day. The issue is that frequently people will not place what they should do as a number 1 priority. If you looked at why you want to be successful, you must find something that drives you deep down. Your "why" must be so powerful, that no matter what happens, you are so motivated to succeed, nothing can get in your path.
When Mike Tyson fought James Buster Douglas, no one had ever beaten Mike Tyson before, he knocked everyone out in his path. James Buster Douglas, was basically a no body. When he got knocked down, people thought it was over, but it wasn't. He got up and won. After the fight he revealed that his mom had died recently and he promised her that he would win the heavy weight championship. His "Why" allowed him to dig deep into the pits of his stomach and come up with what he needed to win.
Let your "Why" fuel you!
3 - Pre-Program Your Mind
One great technique that I have found very effective is to visualize and plan out how you will act to a certain situation. Program your mind to react to distractions with a certain response. For example, when you see a trigger, such as a blue balloon, you can train your body to react to it in a certain way. Now, take the trigger as a distraction, and respond to it by ignoring it, or avoiding it.
For example, on a specific Friday night, I defined my goals and I tell myself if someone calls me I will immediately respond with sorry i'm busy. No matter what happens, the trigger when someone calls me, leads to the response "no". You can even associate your mental fatigue or focus in this manner. As a fighter, your limitations are not physical. Your limitations are purely mental, your body is very strong and can perform great feats; what fails is your mind. As a fighter, you train to always push and extent your upper limits, where your mentally limited. Every day I trained, when I did five rounds of pads, I would go as hard as I could round 1, therefore I have no choice in the next four rounds but to push through and reach new limits.
4 - Break down your goals
Sometimes, a task can be so daunting that you have no motivation to work. For example, when we get a 30 page essay, we find it very difficult to start because the task is so large. Instead of focusing on the entire task break it down into smaller pieces so when you achieve it you get a small sense of victory. This small sense of victory can give you your boost of energy and provide you with positive feedback to help you stay motivated.
Lets be honest, we are all human. Lets say I have never ran in the last five years and I defined a goal to a full 42 km marathon. I start my training and on day 1: I struggle to run for 5 minutes. How de-motivating is this feeling? Of course i'd to loose hope, I am setting yourself up for failure. What you should do is define a goal every week. Week 1 might be to run for 1 minute, and then walk for 5. As your weeks progress, your work outs will be tougher, however this way, each week you can feel good about something. This strategy can be applied to every element in life.
5 - Surround yourself with the right people
Although this is point #5; it is a principle element to motivation and overall success.
"You are the average of the five people you send the most time with" - Jim Rohn.
Your network is responsible for directing you in the right path, they should always be moving you towards your goals. More importantly, your closest members in your circle should be able to observe you and critique you when you need to be critiqued. Not only are they reaching the same direction as you but also need to be able to tell you when your wrong, because no one is perfect. Your circle of friends must be able to disagree with you. They must be able to do this in a manner that is productive; where the discussion is based on facts and not emotion.
From my personal experience, the best people to build a partnership with (assuming you have similar goals), are not the people that you get along with the best but the people who you can disagree with the most effectively. Beyond this, your closest circle of friends will be there for you when you fall. Inevitably, every human being falls, the important element is to not stay down and get up every time. Having a circle of friends to break you fall is critical.
Michael Zhang is a key contributor at Driven Fighters. He is passionate about the fighters mentality and motivating other people. He has associated walking into the boxing gym as the day his life changed. His story shows that with hard work anything is possible. Having taken himself from being labeled as a failure and almost dropping out of high school to opening numerous businesses and graduating with his Master Degree in Engineering (University of Toronto). At just 18 years old, he was featured on CH News, and awarded the Young Entrepreneur Award. His passion and desire to help others made him a perfect example of what a driven fighter is. He has 20+ fights including a national amateur tournament belt.