Thrive into the Weekend (1.31.14)

By Kate Bennett, PsyD

[Thrive into the Weekend: A blog series designed to empower athletes to thrive in life and sport by facilitating intentional and mindful actions]

While I am not a Seahawks fan, I am a firm believer in the integration of mindfulness into their program. Despite the anticipation and excitement of the Super Bowl, the Seahawks focus on quieting their minds in preparation of the big day. Have no doubt, I will certainly be wearing orange on Sunday; however, I do believe that everybody can benefit from taking note of the Seahawks' mindfulness practice.

With Super Bowl Sunday just days away, people are planning for parties, picking up last minute food items, scouring the internet for sneak-peaks of commercials, and reading articles that match the Broncos’ high-scoring offense against the Seahawks’ #1 defense. Thrive into the Weekend by practicing mindfulness throughout the day rather than being caught in the Super Bowl frenzy. Ground yourself in the moment with whatever activity you are participating in to increase satisfaction and manage stress levels. As a result, you will be more likely to enjoy the Super Bowl by showing up present and eager to cheer for your favorite team (versus feeling distracted by what has or has not happened or worrying about what needs to happen after the game).


Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Maximize your Motivation

By Kate Bennett, PsyD

Motivation: The condition of being eager to act or work, a force or influence that creates action

Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

Between the Broncos AFC championship win and the unseasonably warm weather in Colorado, the past week created a natural platform for inspiration and excitement. Whether the positive energy led to purchasing plane tickets to NY for the Superbowl, eagerness to focus on the upcoming season, or courage for personal change, this is an opportune time to explore what inspires you as well as identify ways of enhancing your motivation.

Let’s start with the two types of motivation: Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Referring to the definition at the top of this post, the first description reflects intrinsic motivation: An internal force, need, or desire motivates action. The latter description defines extrinsic motivation: An external force, expectation, or situation motivates action. Progress and achievement result from a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. To be truly successful (derive happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment from your achievements), the primary desire to act must come from within. While extrinsic motivation may enhance an outcome, it will inevitably fall flat if you do not feel personally committed to the identified goal.

Take a moment to reflect on your personal and athletic goals. As you think about those goals, which ones are internally driven? Do you have goals that are externally motivated? How do external factors support and/or interfere with your values and ambitions?

Motivation is a key component for thriving in life and sport: It is important to know what inspires or excites you. Feeling unmotivated may be indicative of an imbalance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Take a moment to ensure that your goals reflect individual values, needs, and desires. Once you feel personally invested in those goals, identify extrinsic sources of motivation that will enhance your efforts. For example, on a snowy winter day you may feel more (extrinsically) motivated by training with others. If nobody is available to train, select music that excites you or visualize yourself achieving your goals during the workout (intrinsic motivation). Progress and achievement result from intrinsically inspired goals enhanced by extrinsic factors.  Know your motivators to gain a mental edge and increase your chances of success this season.


Thrive into the Weekend (1.17.14)

By Kate Bennett, PsyD

So often, people read an article or blog post earlier in the week that inspires change but forget about that inspiration after a long week. Athlete Insight’s Thrive into the Weekend is an intentional blog series that strives to re-inspire as you head into the weekend. Through reflection and a mindful moment, Thrive into the Weekend reconnects you with personal and athletic intentions.

Earlier this week, I wrote about goal setting. Knowing that practice leads to behavioral change, take a moment to identify one or two goals for the weekend. Think about how those goals relate to your long-term (big picture) goals. Your weekend goals do not need to be complex or difficult. Instead, think about one or two things you can accomplish this weekend that support your big picture. Perhaps it is getting to bed earlier after a long week of training, improving refueling habits during or after a workout, or connecting with others. Slow down, take a deep breath, and identify what you can intentionally work on this weekend. Assuming you achieve your goals, you will carry that momentum into next week and will be one step closer to your long-term goals.