Getting and staying motivated

Recently I attended the community led Koroit Irish Festival, Victoria, Australia. I was privileged to speak with Geraldine Ryan who runs the O’Shea – Ryan Academy of Irish Dance. Geraldine, well into her 80s was there with her students who were performing in one of the local hotels. I listened in amazement as she recited her busy schedule of teaching which includes visiting these locations across the state of Victoria: Bendigo, Warrnambool, Hamilton, Warragul, Kilmore, Echuca, Albury – Wodonga and Mildura – all in the one week. She also travels extensively overseas with her dancing. This got me thinking about motivation. What’s at work when a person has the drive of Geraldine? Most writing on motivation says that you need to begin with a goal. That seems obvious. But goals don’t always mean action so another component has to be a plan to take action to reach the goal. This is actually important as various studies have reported that experiencing small successes as we work towards a longer term goal builds our sense of achievement. Clearly this assists motivation and willingness to keep striving. Having strategies for overcoming setbacks is also crucial, as it’s inevitable that things will get in the way of goal accomplishment. One of the values of having a coach is that you have someone to work with you through these elements: goal articulation, planning for action and strategizing for obstacles. Of course, a coach is also there to celebrate your success and then to refocus on the next challenge.


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Maryanne Martin