Last week, I suggested that not knowing what to do for exercise is a motivation-killer. In general, I think not knowing, or not being confident in, whatever we are doing causes us to take our foot off the gas pedal, so to speak. I personally find it difficult to throw myself into something when I feel like I don’t know what to do. As a former classroom teacher, I saw plenty of this, right from Kindergarten through Grade 12. I believe we owe it to those we teach, guide, coach or mentor to provide well-thought-out, purposeful instruction and the clearest possible directions. I have observed that “lack of motivation” in students is often a direct result of them not clearly knowing what to do. It follows that those of us in any kind of “knowledge transfer” role should explain and demonstrate what we are teaching, and monitor our learners’ performance to make sure they are progressing toward the learning objective.

I have most appreciated the coaches who have made sure that I understood what I was supposed to be doing (like my current Cross-Swim instructors). Especially when it was something new. I want to learn new things. I’m usually pretty quick on the uptake, too. And when a coach makes sure I do activities with the proper form, the proper emphasis and with an understanding of the purpose and objective of the activity, my confidence grows and, with it, my motivation.

I think we all need to be inspired from time to time in our exercise life. What inspires me, personally, is when ordinary people step up their game and accomplish challenges that were set before them. I get inspired because I realize that I’m also pretty ordinary, so if they can accomplish something cool, then maybe I can too. That makes me want to try. It motivates me. It challenges me to put myself out there and take a fitness class, or go for a run or bike ride (in public!), or even register for a competition.

Much of this starts with a vision and a plan of some kind. Sounds like a good topic for next week’s blog…