Many of us have experience as veterans or athletes and have lived part of our lives competitively. Our purpose was built on competition, which gave us drive and a reason to continue pushing through the pain. As we get older, we transition out of the military, or finish our competitive years in sports and transition to a much more laid back life. This doesn't have to be!
We can find new ways to challenge ourselves physically and mentally. This post is going to cover three ways to help you stay focused and motivated towards your goal while finding purpose in your training.
If you tend to lose focus, find a competition that involves an investment of money to sign-up. This can help keep you focused as you've now added a monetary investment which can increase the importance of the event for you. For example, one of the other founders of Operation RSF, and I, have signed up for our first half Ironman (Ironman 70.3) race. We gave ourselves 10 months and paid the hefty price tag to participate in order to help keep us focused and dedicated.
Another way to stay focused is to build a social aspect within your training. Signing up with my friend, and co-founder, also gave us mutual accountability and a training partner to workout with on those long or painful workouts. Adding a social support factor can benefit you by influencing your willingness to persevere since there is someone else depending on you. Much like on a sports team or in the military, you rely on others and they rely on you so you train harder for yourself and for them. Your motto becomes "may I never let my team down" and in living out that motto you push yourself in training, both physically and mentally.
Find a challenge that means something to you. Finding a challenge that you have been interested in can also be beneficial in giving you a sense of accomplishment once completing the challenge. Over 10 years ago I put an Ironman 70.3 on my bucket list and let it loom over me every year. I can guarantee when I finish the race I am going to have a great self of accomplishment for completing a bucket list item that I have had for over a decade.
Completing a personal challenge can increase self-confidence, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. It can lead to follow-on challenges that require more dedication and skill which can increase your sense of purpose in training.
Looking back at this short blog post, we have three takeaways for how we can remain consistent in training:
1. Invest in a challenge. Find a race, club, or activity that involves a financial investment to take part.
2. Make it a social event. Invite a friend to take on the challenge with you.
3. Tackle your goals. Find a challenge you have wanted to accomplish and set it as a goal that you're actually working towards.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post. If you enjoyed this short post please share it with friends and family and help spread our mission to use physical activity and exercise to treat PTSD.