I can never get out of bed for a ride, I love cream cakes, but I can take or leave Coke. I think that the secret to achieving goals/aspirations is not to beat yourself up if you do slip up, make your goals acheivable (we are not all professional athletes) - but most of all, ENJOY riding AND cream cakes!!
The brain doesn't respond to negatives. If you tell yourself 'don't think of a rainbow', what does the brain do? Goals are best served by motivation that is productive rather than destructive. If you're focusing on changing habits (like drinking water instead of coke), think of it as creating a new habit of drinking water - not breaking a bad habit of drinking coke. Think of getting out and riding in crappy weather as an opportunity to build on your fitness, not an opportunity to break a bad habit of staying in bed. Easier said than done, though, I know. Start with small goals, don't chip away at bad habits, do make little positive deposits into new good habits.
It can be really difficult to put yourself into another's shoes if you haven't ever experienced what they are going through. Typically though, whatever challenge a person is working through, there are usually a range of complex reasons why they find it challenging or they are not succeeding in the way they would like to. Suggesting that people harden up isn't very practical (what exactly should they do to harden up?) and also denies the very real strength of character they may be using to get through every day while feeling unhappy about their appearance or not achieving the things that they would like to, or while they are managing all of the other aspects of life that can sometimes get in the way of focusing on their own personal goals. Motivation may have very little to do with it.
I think that there is a lot to be said for the social aspect of riding. This is the first time that I have not packed the bikes into the shed when the cold weather arrived. Nearly every week this winter I have been out on group rides 3 times a week. I think it is the fact there are other people to ride with that provides the motivation that I need. Now that some fine days are here I have started a few solo rides as well. I am much fitter and those extra treats (not a cream cake person) don't settle anywhere.
So motivate yourself to catch up with a riding buddie, and they will do the same for you.
If something needs doing - do it straight away.
And is always good to intend to "make a start" on something - not necessarily to complete it. To take a step. Otherwise the fear of not achieving the goal - discourages me from starting.
Also re lacking motivation - is not simply that. There may be others, working against you. E.g I might decide to avoid junk food as it is bad for me. But the environment I live in, someone shows me 40 times a day how much fun the stuff is. And no one stops them. Remember, repetition, is one way we get kids to learn things.
I think the best way of achieving a goal, regardless of what it be, is to set yourself a goal that YOU want to achieve. eg if a doctor tells you to stop smoking, you will be less successful than if you personally decided you want to quit.
Set yourself goals that you want to achieve and that you see as achievable, knowing your own reasons for wanting to achieve the goals.
When I feel like sitting on the couch and watching TV I think of people in wheelchairs who wish they could just get up and walk around, gets me off my arse. I go out and ride my bike because I can and others can't, while I've got the use of my limbs then I should bloody well use em
It's easy to stop smoking, the hard bit is not starting again.
It's easy to lose weight, the hard part is not putting it on again.
Surely setting targets is not always a good thing, if you want to improve fitness the main ingredient has to be enjoyment, cycling is not for everybody but if you enjoy it just do it, if, like me you're overweight, over 60, not riding a super light bike you can still ride long distances, climb hills, meet with cycling friends etc. Just do it in your own time, then next time aim to climb the hill with one less rest stop, on the long ride, don't repeat it but look for something differant, if you want to ride with friends that are faster, start 10 mins earlier, the important friends (the ones you want to keep) will appreciate and encourage your efforts.
Not everyone has goals.
Not everyone is super motivated.
Few are motivated all the time.
Trouble is, those who are talk about it give those who aren't an excuse to feel bad about themselves (humans just love feeling bad about themselves).
Mate, the trick is to know when to back off and take it easy. Not every ride has to be a land speed record. You don't have to do 'training' all the time. It is okay to ride like an old phart. It's okay to build a 'non-serious' bike and ride it slow and on bike paths. Lack of motivation is more often the result of us making the ride seem too big than anything else (ie, like motivation itself, we do it to ourselves). Funny thing is, about all that really changes is how you feel and your attitude, after a very short time, your actual speeds don't vary much.
Oh, and goals? They just happen, you generally only have to chase the very end of it (such as riding 200km this weekend to get an annual average).
Now, if someone could get me out of bed of a morning so I could ride to work every day like I keep planning to ... and to somehow forget I've got to drag a fixed gear brute up Expressway Hill on the way home.
Motivation? I'm really quite slack.
My main cycling buddy is now overseas so my very regular MtBike rides up bloody steep hills hasn't been this year - oh dear!
I wish he'd come back, that would then see me back on those great trails that only take 20~30minutes of up-hill panting to reach. Hmm... The moral of this story is of course have a buddy and you both feed of each other - well, that works a treat for me.
I got very motivated when I fronted up and paid for my TdU Community Challenge ride - I rode 3hr rides through the hills at least once or twice a week in the 6 months leading up to the day in January. Thus - have a goal. My other cycling buddy has stated he is not interested in the TdU ride this time around - gads! Think I better just plonk down the $ and get on with it!
Otherwise I simply integrate cycling into everyday life - I commute. Simple. That alone sees up to about 100Km/week which is just dandy (I think) for keeping a base level fitness and health. I also love bush-walking but that's for another forum ;-)
Jeremy I think you are the key to my motivation! After reading this post I decided to take the challenging ride home up Norwood Pde and then even did the first bit of Norton Summit!