Remotivating when you’ve fallen behind in your goals

By Patrick Wilder, LCSW

Q: I was on a good pattern of training, eating and resting about a month ago, but work and personal pressures have knocked me off the wagon. It seems I’m on a downward spiral of frustration and depression as I have so much to do even get back to where I was, not to mention where I thought I’d be by now. How do I gain the motivation to get restarted and stick with it?

A: First I’d suggest reviewing the season goals list and looking at the time needed to accomplish those goals. When you set your season goals did you take into account other areas of your life that draw from your bank of time? I find that for many athletes setting season goals is the easy part. Taking an honest look at the amount of time available to accomplish those goals is the hard part.

When outside stressors eat into our training time it’s normal to get frustrated. We love to train right? This in turn can start a downward spiral of not being able to train which leads to results we find unacceptable leading to further negative feelings. Instead of giving way to the negative thoughts, challenge them by reevaluating your goals.

Mid season is an acceptable time to evaluate your season goals and make adjustments. Rather than this being viewed as a sign of weakness, reframe it in a more realistic manner. Often these challenges are beyond our control and challenge our time for a short period. Instead of giving up the goals completely, make some adjustments with the time available. Look for creative ways you can use the time you have. For example, can you work on skills that you might otherwise put off if you had 4 hours to do a long endurance ride. This could be an opportunity to work on strength training, rehab an injury, get the bike repairs dialed in or take care of some other area where you might need improvement.

Life stressors wax and wane. If you’ve adjusted your goals and training time to weather the storm, you’ll be in good position to ramp things up once it clears.

Patrick Wilder, LCSW is a mental health therapist who specializes in helping athletes motivate and design their futures as well as balance their training, racing, family and work lives.