How a Simple Mission Statement Can Be Your Greatest Motivator


As a runner, you spend a lot of time well, running. It’s normal that there will be times you’re looking forward to those runs, and other times you’re not so into it. What happens when you’re looking for a little more motivation? How and where do you find it?

While there are many ways to tap into your motivation, one of the strongest ways to increase your motivation is to ignite your internal or intrinsic motivation. That means that you’re connecting with your internal reasons and desires such as running for enjoyment or improvement, as opposed to external or extrinsic motivators such as praise or placing well in your next run.

So, how do you tap into intrinsic motivation?

One great way is to create your own mission statement, which is a statement of purpose that captures what drives you to run. When you have a mission statement and you know how to use it, it can help to fuel your internal fire. Companies and organizations have mission statements and you can too. If you want to create a mission statement, here’s are four easy steps to take you through the process.

4 Steps to Create a Mission Statement

  1. Write down what you enjoy about running, the reasons you do it, what motivates you, and what keeps you coming back (if you’re not feeling so motivated right now, these questions may be hard to answer, so think back to a time when you were more motivated). Come up with as many ideas as you can. It’s okay if some of them are extrinsic in nature – it’s okay to be motivated by winning; we just don’t want all the reasons to be extrinsic because those are not in your control.
  2. Narrow down your list. Think about the reasons that you really connect with. For example, your list might include reasons such as you run for fitness, enjoyment, family, socializing, connecting with nature, beating others, and heart health. If heart health is very meaningful, because of family history, that may be top on your list; being faster than others might be nice, but isn’t that motivating, so it won’t make the final cut.
  3. Create your mission statement. There are no rules when it comes to what the statement is like; it can be as simple as: “I run for heart health, the connection with nature, and my family.” It may take some time to come up with a mission statement you feel truly captures the essence of why you run. Don’t rush this step; revisit if needed.
  4. Use your statement when you need to. Now that you have a statement that taps into your motivation, use it when you notice motivation taking a dip (like those days where the weather is too cold or too hot for your liking, when you’re tired, or you’re far off from a race and not as motivated to train). You can repeat your mission statement to yourself, make a poster of it to put where you’ll see it, place it on a sticky note next to your running shoes, or anywhere you think you’ll need it. You can also use your mission statement as a positive reminder: don’t wait for motivation to decrease; use it before the start of every run or training session.

Motivation will go up and down during different seasons of your life, but you can take more control over it by creating a mission statement to help tap into your intrinsic motivation whenever you need to.

Have you created yours using the steps above? Share it in the comments below if you feel comfortable doing so! We would love to hear it.

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