No Time?

I’ll just cut to the chase — I really hate the phrase “I don’t have the time”.  I think what people mean to say is “that is not the way I want to spend my time”.

I felt inspired to talk about this topic because I heard myself saying the “I don’t have the time” phrase to a friend this past weekend in regards to getting my workouts in.  I cringed the moment I heard the words emerge from my mouth.  The truth is that I am in my “post season” in my triathlon season and I am finding it is tough to be ‘motivated’.

The question I ask myself is – what do I mean by being not “motivated”? and What am I not motivated for?

The above comic is one of my favorites because it reminds me that motivation in the sport or physical activity arena is in regards to ‘voluntary behavior’.  Ultimately we choose to do a certain workout because of the associated consequences.

Often when we say that we are ‘not motivated’, we are talking about something sport psychologists call “intrinsic motivation“.  Intrinsic motivation is the desire we have to do something “just because”.   The consequences of the behaviour or action is usually associated with deep seeded pleasure associated with feelings of competence, belonging (to others or the environment), or empowerment.  Most people understand that being intrinsically motivated towards a certain activity or behavior is a good thing.  Empirically this is a fact.  Hundreds of studies over the course of five decades have led sport psychology scientists to conclusion that intrinsic motivation is strongly associated with the adoption and adherence of sport achievement behavior.

So, I guess that at this time I am not intrinsically motivated. But towards what?

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.   –Einstein

Yesterday I saw this quote on the back of a t-shirt and thought that it fit my situation perfectly.  I have decided in my post tri-season to work on two weaknesses: (i) weight control and (ii) core strength.  Rather than let these area remain ‘status quo’ (or grow into bigger and more complex issues), I am summoning the courage (and genius?) to do the necessary steps in these areas.  Thus, I think it is safe to say that I don’t have intrinsic motivation towards changing these aspects of my fitness. That is, making these changes is not innately ‘pleasurable’ for me.

So do I really have NO TIME towards my triathlon training?  No! What I meant to say was that I am not intrinsically motivated to work on my weaknesses.

Now we are getting somewhere –  I have time, but no interest.  This is a completely different issue now.  This is because INTRINSIC MOTIVATION CAN BE ENGINEERED.  Sport scientists have learned that the environment can be constructed in such a way to encourage intrinsic motivation where there is little.  But I will save that for my next blog post….

BOTTOM LINE:  Having “NO TIME” is a fallacy.  Most people who have “NO TIME” really have little intrinsic motivation in the behaviour or activity.  When it comes to issues of motivation in sport, it is helpful to remember that motivation is expressed as a ‘choice’ towards desired consequences.

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