Motivation – how do I find it?!

by Char Young

Motivation, or lack of, can be one of biggest barriers when it comes to taking up a new challenge. We are often inspired to try a new event, but finding the motivation to transfer the initial inspiration into an action can be a challenging task. Additionally once you have entered the event, finding motivation to train is yet another challenge.

And it isn’t just you!! Athletes of all levels struggle at times to find motivation. As an athlete who not only trains for hours a week, but who does shift work at the hospital, completing post grad study and running the social media here at Banana Boat Ocean Swim Series, I find motivation becomes not just something to strive for, but a necessity, and without it I would not get anything done.

So here are my top tips for staying motivated!

1. Always remind yourself of your end goal, and have smaller goals to achieve along the way
When your event is months away, an extra hour of sleep can seem so much more enticing than getting up to swim. Reminding yourself of your end goal, and why you decided to take up the challenge, can help you get out of bed. I also like to have several small goals to achieve before the end goal. When the event seems in the distance future, it’s hard to find that motivation, but when you have a goal to achieve in only a few weeks time, motivation comes a bit more easily.

2. Find a friend or group to train with
Having someone to train with not only makes training more fun, but it passes some of the accountability to someone else. If you organise to swim with a friend or a group, you now not only feel accountable to yourself, but you don’t want to let down people you are training with. If you can find a friend to train with you, you’ll find that you’ll motivate each other. It is much easier to encourage someone else with their training, than consistently encouraging yourself to stay motivated.

3. Stop thinking of motivation as a liner response
We often think of motivation as a response which can only be achieved through inspiration, and once we are motivated, only then will we respond with an action.

e.g. Inspiration → Motivation → Action

Instead try to think of it as a wheel, rather than a straight line. This is one of the biggest tools I use to stay motivated.


This ideology has been created by Mark Manson, who is a self-help Author and Blogger. He explains that Inspiration, Motivation, and Action are not always linear, and you can often find inspiration from an action, which then leads to further motivation, which then develops into additional actions. Think of it as a wheel, rather than a straight line.

It can be so hard to find the inspiration and motivation to get out and achieve a goal, or even set a goal. Whether it is entering an event, or just getting to the pool, sometimes it is best to find inspiration and motivation though doing an action, instead of feeling overwhelmed by your lack of inspiration and motivation.

Start the actions. Go to your local pool and do a few lengths, you may find you love the way swimming makes you feel and then you continue on with the rest of your session as planned, or maybe seeing other people just like you in the water maybe just the boost you need to become inspired. If you can, come along to one of our events to watch – you will soon find that many of the swimmers are no different to you.

Additionally you can read about our “Everyday Swimmers” – Ralph, Lisa and Thalia, and follow their stories on Instagram @nzoceanswim and perhaps their stories can help you find your inspiration.


Char Young is a Triathlete, ICU Nurse and the Social Media Marketer for the Banana Boat Ocean Swim Series. To connect with her, follow her on Instagram @charyoung_nz