Motivation isn’t about rah-rah speeches. It’s not fire and brimstone moments where you feel like you can run through a brick wall. Motivation is a spectrum, from amotivation to intrinsic motivation, with a stop at extrinsic motivation in between. So how do we harness the power of intrinsic motivation? First we need to have a strong sense for what it is!
Intrinsic motivation is our desire to engage in an activity for reasons that are within our control, related to our satisfaction of the activity. They are the internal rewards that we reap from engaging in something we love.
With this in mind, we can enhance our intrinsic motivation in 3 simple ways:
Write down the reasons you love your sport
Don’t skimp this process. Think deeply and be detailed. Come up with whatever reasons you have that you love what you do. Some may surprise you! All of them will keep you humming along, especially when times are challenging.
2. Figure out what small steps you can take to get better that day. The 1% rule.
Call it the 0.01% rule if you’d like. The improvement may be so miniscule that you can’t
even recognize it, but know that it’s there. What are the little wins you can achieve
today? Do them.
3. Align your process for improving (Step 2) with behaviors that match your values
Now that you know what to do, set process goals (again, write them down!) that indicate
how you will do them. These how goals should match up with what you believe is
important to you as a person (e.g. hard work, family, trust, communication). These
process goals can be simple. Example: remain focused throughout the repetition; get
my legs under me every time I take a shot.
Motivation can be tricky. For many athletes, it peaks and valleys. You can manage your motivation by focusing on the internal rewards that you gain from the sheer act of participating in your sport. Having fun, getting better, and having a process focus are three basic ways to hone your intrinsic motivation.