The Power of New Motivation: Transform Your Life in Unexpected Ways

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The Power of New Motivation: Transform Your Life in Unexpected Ways

It’s January! Happy NEW Year! What else needs to be new? A bike? A wetsuit? A new aero helmet? New running shoes? How ‘bout new MOTIVATION?

New motivation? Hmmmm, that’s an interesting combination of words. Yes, it is, and maybe I’m the only multisport athlete with a love/hate relationship with each January when it rolls around.

I love January because it’s a brand new year. A fresh start. Forget all the crap from 2023. Everything that went wrong or bad or hurtful forget it all! Fresh, new beginnings are good, so, January is a good month.

Hate, because it’s usually cloudy, cold, windy and sometimes snowy here in Nebraska. Hate, because I’m supposed to be excited about the ’24 season, having it all planned out, dialed in and emotionally pumped! Off-season is over and it’s time to get going on my base season training. But every January is the hardest month emotionally and mentally of the whole year for this guy.

When it gets dark at 5:00 pm, I feel like I’m ready for bed by 7:00 pm. Evening workouts mostly don’t happen because I’m too tired and unmotivated. What’s the matter with me?

Perhaps living in Phoenix for almost nine years spoiled me. Maybe riding outside all year long wreaked havoc on my brain as I remember those 50-60 mile Saturday morning group rides warmed by the rising sun. Cruising by the mini-mountains and mesas of the Northwest Phoenix valley, chatting it up at times, and hammering at other times, made coming back to Omaha, well, brutal. (We moved back in what month? Yeah, in January!)

So, motivation! I need a Happy New Motivation moment. What helps with that? Here are some great ideas that I’m considering.

  1. Move back to Phoenix. Ok, that ain’t happening.
  2. Buy a brand new $15,000 tri bike. Yeah, that ain’t happening either.
  3. Attend a two-week-long triathlon training camp in Hawaii. Not a chance.
  4. Buy an Endless Swimming pool/jacuzzi. A million to one. (So, you’re saying there’s a chance!)
  5. Hire Dave Scott as my personal coach with daily phone calls at only $1,600/month. Sorry Dave…

Ok, seriously, what to do? If you love winter weather, bike trainers, and treadmills, you can quit reading now. Have fun sweating your guts out, spinning those pedals, and looking at a screen with little people riding bikes on it.

For the rest of us, let’s try to maybe draw some motivation from the following.

  1. Lay out your tentative race schedule for 2024.
  2. Choose your “A” race. And, label other races as “B” and “C” races.
  3. Set some goals – A new longer distance. A faster time. Getting on a podium. Beating so-and-so whom you’ve never beaten. Qualifying for Nationals, etc.
  4. Though probably months away, and though Base Season has its own specific goals, picture in your mind occasionally, during training workouts, actually “racing” that race or portions of it. Visualize yourself doing that race and doing well – really well, hitting or surpassing your goals.
  5. Remember that your competition is training. They’re training right now. I love this quote, “No matter how hard you train, somebody will train harder. No matter how hard you run, somebody will run harder. No matter how much you want it, somebody will want it more. I am Somebody.” Steve Prefontaine
  6. DO buy something. New gear may only help with mini-motivation, but at least it’s something. Even something like new goggles or swim paddles. Maybe a Tempo Timer or new multisport watch.
  7. Don’t forget that in just a few weeks, it’ll be March. March is a wonderful month as it warms up and shouts that Spring (and race season) is just around the corner. January and February combined are only 59 days. Wait! It’ leap year. Ok, so 60 days, but still.
  8. Train for and race a single sport event. Jump into a Masters swim meet. Do a local running road race. Challenge that seven-year-old neighborhood kid to a race around the block. Do something that gives short-term motivation and a reason to train.
    Since I’m the poster child for Low-M every January, you should know I’m applying several of the above ideas. I’ve looked at and put on my calendar, races I’m planning on doing this year. I’ve chosen my “A” races. (This year I have two. Don’t plan more than two.)

Some of my swim workouts have main sets that are multiple intervals of my “A” race distances. I’ve looked at the last two years of results for my “A” race and the times are fast for the 65-69 age group. Those dudes are training right now. That motivated me and scared me, to be honest. USA Triathlon’s Multisport National Championships Festival is in Omaha in early June, so, gotta start serious training cause my competition is!

Let’s see, I also got three new pairs of goggles for Christmas, so that takes care of number five above. Whew. Trying to find some happy new motivation.

The clock has started ticking towards the ’24 season. Have a Happy New Year and a bit of Happy New Motivation!

Lincoln Murdoch
Lincoln Murdoch
As an accomplished endurance athlete, Lincoln has been competing in running events for 40 years and racing in triathlons for 25 years. He is a 3x USAT National Champion, 14x USAT All-American and 3x ITU World Championships Top-Ten finisher. Lincoln is passionate about helping athletes meet their goals through books, online resources, coaching and motivational speaking. You can learn more at
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