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Motivation Inspired by Olympic Athletes

Once the calendar flips to January 1, it’s easy to have a renewed goal that you’re excited to achieve — whether it’s to eat better, exercise regularly, spend more time outside, be kinder to the environment, etc. You may even be really successful at first, but as the weeks progress, it’s just as easy to lose that motivation.

Perhaps that’s why the Olympics can really be an empowering event and one that helps sustain motivation in these long winter months. If you’ve watched any of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang recently, you’ve most likely seen some athletes perform incredible feats and heard the occasional story of their training, home life, injuries or disappointments. It’s amazing to consider all the sacrifices and challenges many of them have faced to be where they are today.

While most of us will never be Olympic athletes, continuing to go after our goals and dreams can sometimes feel like it requires Olympian-like effort. Here are a few takeaways that top athletes and coaches have found to maintain motivation that we can incorporate into our own resolutions throughout the year.

  • Practice positive self-talk. This is easily one of the most important habits successful athletes apply on a regular basis. Talking through problems rationally and focusing on why you’re doing what you’re doing will make a big difference motivationally.
  • Love (or simply accept) the grind. A lot of times, it takes more than just wanting to be the best. Great athletes genuinely love the sport and enjoy practice almost as much as competition. Enjoy the process or accept that it’s a necessary part of the journey.
  • Eat well. Just as it does for athletes, eating healthy foods allows us to perform and feel better, enhancing our ability to tackle the hard days.
  • Focus on what’s going well. In other words, stay positive. Even the best athletes fail sometimes, but they learn to reframe setbacks so they’re positive instead of negative. This kind of outlook will do wonders in helping you bounce back after a period of discouragement.
  • Anticipate things before they occur. Top-notch athletes have learned how to anticipate and then adapt to upcoming pressures. Know your own tendencies — the better you can anticipate snags and plan solutions, the more likely you are to stay on track.
  • Find someone who will support you. In the Olympics, the coach is just as important as the athlete. Find someone who knows your goals and will encourage you to keep at it. Make sure it’s someone who’s not too easygoing or hard-hitting and will provide rational feedback.
  • Practice mindfulness. Think of mindfulness as focused attention on an experience as it happens, without any judgment of it. The practice has helped athletes achieve a state of flow, and like it does for them, it can help you get completely in the zone with a sense of ease and control.
  • Think about your end goal. How great will you feel when you’ve achieved your goal? Let that inspire and push you to keep going. Accomplishing daily goals will ultimately lead you to accomplishing your larger goal in time.

Olympic athletes are remarkable examples of how dedicated hard work really does pay off. What steps will you take to maintain motivation for your wellness goals this year?