Dirt in your skirt blog

Day 190… Focus and Motivation

Posted on December 15, 2011 by Margaret Schlachter

Today someone posted, “How do you stay focused and motivated?” That simple question brought out this morning fueled my day. I have been thinking about just that fact since I saw the question this morning. When thinking about it I was brought back to something a former classmate of mine said at our high school graduation over ten years ago that fuels many of my decisions each day. Clinton stated, “Do what you love and you will never have to work a day of your life.”

This simple phrase he stated on a stage in front of a small group of people would prove to be more meaningful than I could have imagined when he stated it. For my sophomore year of college, Clinton while on the Australian National Snowboard team was training in Austria with the French National team and was caught in an avalanche and died. It was then at the age of nineteen that I started to realize that things and people can be taken from us in an instant. This lesson of embracing all the opportunities in life was quickly learned. Clinton embodied that phrase, do what you love. He did what he loved and died pursuing his passion. But this post is not meant to be a mournful one that period has long passed, it is the things in our past that help to shape who we become.

So in an effort to answer how do I stay focused and motivated, its really simple. You have to do what you love otherwise it will feel like work. Health and fitness are suppose to be fun. If it’s not fun really what’s the point, you can be as fit, strong or skinny but if you hate doing it why bother. Even when I am killing myself in the gym or on the trails I try to find the fun in it. Sometimes when after hours on the mountain I get to the top and look out, that instant makes the hours of training to get there worth it. So really my motivation is driven by the intrinsic joy I get from the activities. It has to come from deep within you.

I stay focused by setting goals, some of these goals I share and others are very personal goals. Some goals are long ranging and where I want to go years from now while at the same time I have small goals sometimes it might be to run a little bit more than before or complete one more rep. I am learning to celebrate these little successes, this has been a learning process. I have learned the little day to day successes can be just as important if not more than the trophy at a race. The trophies are the cherry on top.Also documenting my journey and writing about it helps me stay focused and really keeps me honest.

Finally, the key and this is one it took me a while to learn. You will not succeed, stay focused and motivated if you try to go it alone. I tried for years to go it alone thinking I was strong enough to just do it without help. I never achieved success with this plan, its easy to give up when you are alone or think you are alone. Build a support team, my support team pulls me through the times I am not motivated and when my focus waivers. It happens to us all, we aren’t machines. I certainly am not a machine and have lots of flaws I continue to work through. But a support team helps you through the dark times, and then they are there to celebrate with you the successes.

My last words really go back to the beginning, “Do what you love and you will never have to work a day of your life.” Find that thing that you love, for me its racing and endurance sports, embrace it, nurture and foster that love. Surround yourself with people, physically or virtually, who support you and help you excel. Learn to drown out the naysayers, because their will be some for sure! Do it because it’s your passion, I took a leap and took a chance on this all. I have been lucky enough to find and be able to foster a couple loves in my process, racing and also writing. I am just lucky enough to be able to share those with you all.