How to Make Motivation

Imagine you’re in the audience of a powerful speaker. You hear:“You all ready to make some motivation? How bad do you want it!? As bad as you want to breathe!???”

Have you heard something like that before? Did it work? Did it last?

Motivation doesn’t come in one giant wave that we can ride endlessly to our goals.

In reality, motivation is a far more fickle beast. It varies in strength. It can come and go. To have any impact on our own motivation we need to see it as a process, something to work at daily. As great as it feels to get all fired-up, we need to ensure the desire will be continuous.

Most of us don’t think about how to create, rejuvenate or hold onto our motivation. My personal experiences, ups and downs, including life altering trauma and some extreme physical and mental endurance races, have required sustained focus and effort. I want to share the following tools that I've made a part of my daily life. They help me get to each next level and they ultimately make me both happier and more driven.

Seek and Build - Because it doesn't spontaneously generate itself, here are a couple of simple ways to create thoughts that increase motivation, every single day:

Just Ask - “Am I motivated?” Initialize an internal dialogue. It can be about your work day, about a project, your overall determination in life, or any specific goal you have. I strengthen my resolve because I set out to do just that. It will stay present in your thoughts, helping you recognize more ideas and opportunities that get you motivated.

Grab Some Inspiration - We’re exposed to endless amounts of inspiration these days, but are you actually using any of it? If I don't capture it somehow, my attention moves right on to the next thing. I will scratch notes here and there if I can, or at least allow some time to reflect before moving on to the next thing. What works better is when I come up with at least one thing I will do, on the spot, and then add it to my tasks list or calendar with a deadline.

Try New Things - There must be new sources of inspiration in our daily routine. Try doing something more demanding, try a sport you’ve never considered, seek out better books and content, just mix it up somehow. Taking cues from different walks of life, unrelated industries, or other fields of study will change your perspective and that is what inspiration is all about.

Retain It - Many things can zap our motivation. These will help you preserve it.

Planning - Accuracy in your planning will help. Motivation is an emotion. The better you mentally prepare for the task ahead, the more able you are to handle it. Consider finding out as you are about to leave, at 5pm, that you have to work late. Compare this to showing up to work that day ready to work late into the night. It's much like preparing for a long run or your maximum bench press. Clearly lay out the path to the goal ahead as well as your willingness to do what it takes.

Finishing - No matter how small the task, finish what you start. At least make a deliberate choice to change course or end the pursuit, rather than leave things undone. We are much more motivated to do things that have meaning. If our efforts don’t amount to anything, it will be difficult to  convince ourselves to work hard for what's next.

Sleeping - This one is obvious but constantly overlooked. It’s importance ranges from refreshing us and cleansing our brain of toxins, to boosting performance and overall health. Sleep will help fight off one of the biggest threats to our motivation- being tired. A common thought during a late night is, "I’ll just have to battle through tomorrow." It isn’t always simple to get the sleep you need, but the higher a priority you make it, the easier it becomes.

AjK1-3 (1)Remember, building and maintaining motivation is an ongoing process. Motivation is made by seeking daily doses, building new sources, and retaining what you’ve got. By simply putting in a small amount of effort each day, even the biggest challenges become a whole lot easier.

Btw - Eric Thomas is awesome - it's just that it ultimately needs to come from within.

Next UP!

RAAM_logocolor(1) My next race is official, not because I've qualified but because I've broken the news to my wife.    =)

That is the same  as seeking approval, I more or less go it. Still, there is a TON to figure out: crew, planning, training, moneys to find, and also a little 400 mile, 32 hour race in order to qualify, the SoCal 400. At least, I know what's next in my sights - it's a little ditty called RAAM (Race Across America)

It'sa gonna be hard.

A 3,000 mile cycling race from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD. We will ride about 700 miles further than an average Tour de France, in half the time. Only two teams of handcyclists have completed RAAM before and they were complete stud cyclists. In 2009, Carlos Moleda and his 4-man team made in and last year, Thomas Fruworth and Manfred Putz (of Austria and Germany) took it to the next level. In each case the teams worked in a relay format, spending 4-8 hours riding and then rotating to catch an equivalent amount of rest. This will very much be the next level = no breaks. By the stroke of the 12th day, I'll need to be across the finish line to become the first solo handcyclist RAAM finisher. I have no clue what's going to happen.

Therein lies my desire to do this. I'm turned-on by the fear in the sense that the "alive switch" on me gets flipped to "ON" and I'm all go. There's so much to figure out and I love solving problems. I also love the unknown because there's a massive internal buzz of worry, nerves, excitement, and hope that gets churning in the lead up. I can feel it already. It is good.

-AjK, 2nd February 2015

Runner's World Article


Working on this piece with Charlie Engle was hugely rewarding. It was a process. He's a very good interviewer and I think this article blows away the 'same ol same ol'. The photoshoot with Jose Mandojana was also a lot of fun and more from that can be found here:

The print article is way better (imo) - but the online version is here:

...and lastly. All I am willing to claim is that I am tougher than I used to be. Still, it's a pretty cool headline ;)