Motivation: How to find it, how to lose it and how to keep it!

You’re in the final minutes of a WOD* (one word…Karen) and if you haven’t yet fallen in love with CrossFit (I don’t understand why not?) perhaps you have a few more reps, or a few more minutes (if you’re doing endurance training,) left in your workout. In those final minutes, or those final reps, there’s a lot going through your mind. For some it might be the agony of still having ‘X’ amount of reps  left to complete, it might be a thought on how you’re going to push past that level of discomfort and not start to cry like a baby…I have found myself on this side of the spectrum more often than not, CrossFit and running in particular, unearths the weepy girl in me!  It’s especially hard during those last few reps of a disgusting WOD, where everyone is cheering for you to finish (which I always think is such a beautiful moment,) and I can sometimes become so overwhelmed with emotion (maybe it’s the adrenaline?) that I can feel tears pooling up in my eyes, on the verge of coming out! Thankfully at that point, I’m sweating so much that no one ever knows that I’m dangerously close to crying…well now they know!

Motivation is what will keep you going in those moments where perhaps you do have tears streaming down your face (masked within the sweat of course!) Motivation is what will keep you going even when you’re uncomfortable,  in that moment when 3 more thrusters might as well be 300 more! Motivation is what will keep you going even when you would much rather throw in that towel, in spite of what people say to use that towel to wipe the sweat (tears in my case haha,) off of your face.

But hang on, what is motivation and how do we find it?

motivation noun a desire or willingness to do something; a force or influence that causes someone to do something

Here’s how I found my motivation; i.e. my desire or willingness to do something; and these things can range from tasks such as completing a WOD, preparing for a presentation at work as efficiently as I can and many  other things in life! I found this desire through spending time with God. It was really when I read Colossians 3:23-24 (which I consider as my life verse,) that I began to understand how desire and willingness sustained by God, never wanes. This is what it says:

‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart (work with willingness and desire,) as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.’ (emphasis added)

Through this verse, God showed me how in everything that I did and do, if I have the mindset of doing it all for Him, whether it is in CrossFit or at work, or even in a relationship (when I eventually get into one,) if I have pleasing God as my one and only goal, doing EVERYTHING unto the LORD, that passion, willingness and desire to do something extraordinary in life, will always be there. This is the sure-fire way to keep motivation. By focusing on something and someone way bigger than my ambitions and always having in my mind, how what I’m doing can glorify God; this motivation becomes something that is sustained by God and the Holy Spirit. This motivation, this drive and willingness is no longer something that I, Aurélie, have to keep alive through my own strength that on some days will fail me.

On the flipside, motivation can also be lost. We’ve seen it in movies or perhaps we’ve  been guilty of uttering this phrase about someone who’s looking lacklustre…I am rather ashamedly, guilty of having uttered such a phrase:

‘What happened to Jenny? She really has  let herself go, it’s almost as though she’s lost the will (motivation/desire/willingness,) to live.’

In my experience, this loss of desire and willingness to do anything, usually happens when we’ve put other people’s expectations of us on a pedestal. What they think of us, and what they want of us, has become of higher importance than the great call that Christ has placed on our lives. We get caught up in being this person whose desire to do something, is dictated by another human’s expectation. Expectations that often reflect fickle emotions that can change overnight. We begin to live in a way that cultivates insecurity, breeds suspicion, until we find ourselves out of touch with the true essence of our being. Motivation based on what or who people want you to be, places you on a dangerous path of being more focused on what people think is best for you, as opposed to what you, as a beautiful and strong individual, knows is best for her or indeed himself! You’re living but it never is really for yourself. You’re driven, but it’s never because of any desires of your own. You’re ambitious, but ambitious to be the you that everyone else wants you to be, and motivation fuelled by such expectations, is unrealistic.

Keeping motivation, a desire to live your best life, is no easy task. It requires an awareness of all those things, and in some cases, all those people who are draining life from you. A great place to start if by doing an evaluation on what you’re filling your head with. Right now, as you’re reading this post, take a minute to write down on a piece of paper (or on a blackboard with chalk, if you’re me,) WHAT AM I FILLING MY MIND WITH? Filling our minds with negative thoughts will only ever breed negativity. These thoughts can easily pollute and derail any good thoughts that run through your mind. These thoughts can so easily become destructive and before you know it, you too have become like Jenny 😉 In some cases, (I like to think of those as the really drastic situations, so drastic that I’m even going to invent an acronym for it right now! RDS.) In the event of an RDS, it might even be necessary to stop hanging around with certain people that might have your best interest at heart, but are misguided in how they’re delivering that message and again the negativity that those intentions can often be shrouded in, will never be conducive to cultivating a healthy you. When you find yourself in an RDS, it can also mean that spiritually, physically and emotionally, you’re never truly connecting with the deeper parts of you (the part of you that God created as unique, breathtaking in beauty and not based at all on anyone’s expectation of who you should be.)

I’ve had to take time to think about this post, what is it that motivates me? Who is it that motivates me? Amongst the names that popped through my head, it all came back to one person. The lover of my soul, Jesus. Now, I want to say that I have completely mastered the art of relying on Him for motivation…for everything but hey I am a work in progress, and unfortunately, it pains me to say that I am not as perfect as I love to think I am. I still fall prey to seeing ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ everyone else is doing what they’re doing, as opposed to my ‘why’, the Jesus given ‘why’ behind everything I do. Thankfully every now and then, this elephant** remembers her source of motivation. Jesus. My dreamboat. As many times as I forget, He is still always there being my biggest cheerleader, alongside with the Holy Spirit, always reminding me of Colossians 3:23-24. He is, and will forever be, the reason why I desire to be a better woman in all aspects of my life! In the long run, you’ll find that though you might get weary sometimes, you’ll never truly feel as though you’re done with your journey, the desire and motivation never truly leave, because you’ll always be thinking about how you can do your utmost for His highest.

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Photo credit: Luke Venter (@fruitlukes)

*workout of the day

 **I call myself an elephant because I love elephants and I aspire to be like an elephant…strong and able to eat more than twice my body weight #lifegoals!  

16.1

I entered the CrossFit Open with a lot of fear running through my blood. I’ve been doing CrossFit for a year and 2 months, of this time; it is only in December of last year that I started to take my training seriously. The fact is not everyone gets to go to the CrossFit games but everyone can call themselves an athlete and everyone can call themselves a CrossFitter, and I had the goal in mind to be able to call myself a decent CrossFitter.

Stronger, faster and more confident in my abilities.

I want to be a CrossFitter who can do muscle ups (bar and ring, still working on those,) strict handstand push ups, knock out pistols at an insane rate and for my snatch to become even deadlier…speaking of snatches, I hit a new 45kg on my power snatch. I was so ecstatic, I went home and cried.

Back to the open.

I woke up early on Friday morning to see what Dave Castro had planned for us CrossFitters.

16.1 [20 minute AMRAP.]

1 round consists of:

25 feet overhead walking lunges (43kg M, 30kg F)

8 bar facing burpees

25 feet overhead walking lunges

8 chest to bar pull-ups

 

It was better than I expected and not as bad as I expected. The night before the open, I read this:

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. Eric Thomas

For a while now, I’ve been reading a lot of sports psychology related articles because I began to realise that the one thing holding me back in my CrossFit career and in my running was my mental strength. I believed I could but never past the point of pain, and I’ve never thought myself capable of achieving anything spectacular. I am so grateful that even when I didn’t believe that I could, I had friends that believed in my abilities, and believed that I could do it, that I could become better. It was time that I started to believe in myself.  For a long time, I have always felt as though the one of the places where I get a chance to connect with God has been through physical activity. So often times when I’ve been on a gruelling run, I’ll have my Christian music playing and it is as though in that moment when I want to turn back or quit, legs aching, lungs revolting against you and your heart beating at a ridiculous pace, I can hear God loudly cheering me on and telling me that I can and I will complete those 16km’s.

For CrossFit I began to train with the mindset of encountering God through every difficult movement. I had to retrain my brain to become stronger than whatever weight was loaded on the barbell. It wasn’t easy but nothing is impossible with God. So I began to actively seek out verses prior to heading out to the box and being proactive in applying whatever I had read, to my training. This meant that I could no longer say (whether aloud or to myself,) ‘I hate this WOD,’ or ‘I hate this movement.’ Even if it meant that in the beginning it felt awkward to pretend that I was looking forward to toes to bar, I kind of like them a bit more now… Just a little bit.

This change in mindset completely shifted the way I performed in WODs, I no longer cared about how I had failed or under-performed in the past, I just wanted to give my all in that moment, in that WOD. The here and now began to hold greater weight than the ‘what ifs’ of the future.  The verse below is one that is become very pivotal in my CrossFit career;

For I can do EVERYTHING through Christ (the One), who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

When I read this verse or journal on it, it is not ‘I can do everything through Christ, so that I can become stronger than [insert person’s name here]’ It is ‘I can do all things through Christ so that His strength, His perfect unbroken strength will be seen through me even when and especially when I fail or when I fall short.’  It is being confident in Christ and being content in the abilities you have that though they might not be perfect, you are willing to do the hard work and hone them so that Christ is glorified through everything you do. At the end of the day, that’s what my goal is; that Christ would be glorified, His name, His strength, His abilities in absolutely everything that I do. It means that His spirit makes me aware of how I behave when I am the best and when I’m not the best. It means that His spirit of excellence is carried through on my good days and on my bad days. Everything I am and everything I become as an athlete is all because of Him and how He has changed and is still changing and transforming my mindset, from the inside out.

So when I read 16.1, I wasn’t thrown into a panic, I remember thinking ‘God as long as I don’t cry for my chest to bar pull ups, then we’re good.’ The first time I did C2B in a competition, I cried so much, I think my judge felt bad for me and gave me those pull ups just so I wouldn’t have a complete meltdown. It’s funny because I’m trying to remember whether I was in pain when I finished 16.1, but I can’t remember. All I can remember is looking at my wrist in that overhead lunge position, on the verge of tears and seeing Phil. 4:13 scrawled on it. It is as though in that moment, Jesus whispered to me, ‘a few more feet baby doll, you can do this. Everything through me, I’m the one who gives you strength.’ I feel satisfied and I can say that I gave it my all. I showed up and made those 20 minutes count but more than that, because I gave room and made room for God to speak and breathe through me. He also showed up.

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