[Video] Motivation – tips from professional athletes

profile picture of Hannah Cockroft
Wheelchair racer
27 July 2021
Next review due July 2024

Motivation is a key factor when it comes to reaching your goals. In this video, I talk about motivation, alongside fellow athletes Will Bayley and Nile Wilson. We share our tips for finding your motivation, and what to do when the going gets tough. Watch the video below or read on to find out more.

Key points from the video

Personal experiences

Hannah Cockroft

When I was born, doctors told my mum and dad that I would never walk. Sport for me just didn't exist growing up. Everywhere I went I just got told that, as a person with a disability, sport is not for you.

My sport has made me accept my disability and accept who I am. And it's only since getting involved with sport that I've realised how far I can actually push my body. I think that's my motivation now. There's something that my body can do that everybody else's can't.

Will Bayley

I can't play in the school football team. I can't play in the rugby team. I can't play in the tennis team. I can't play in the table tennis team. Just because I've got a disability. That happened all through my life. That creates a certain chip on your shoulder where you always have to prove yourself.

I just wake up every day and I'm fired up because I know that I'm lucky to have this situation. I feel like I'm lucky to be here. I took a trial drug when I was seven years old just to keep me alive. Every day is a bonus, so I've got to make the most of today. I don't think I can say every day is perfect. Every day is a different challenge and I just take it day by day.

Nile Wilson

I was a very clumsy child. I'd trip over my own shadow, so my parents took me along to a local gymnastics class, just to learn how to fall, and to learn some spatial awareness. Motivation wasn't really something that I'd thought about. I wanted to improve. I wanted to grow.

I didn't wait for that feeling of motivation to push myself from stepping out of my comfort zone because I wanted to achieve this huge thing.

Athletes’ tips for staying motivated

Define your goal

It's important to try and figure out your journey and where you want to go. Think about what it is that you want to achieve. Make it specific and as clear as you can.

Set small achievable goals

When you’re working towards a goal it’s easy to feel downhearted if it feels like you’re not getting there as quickly as you’d like to. So, set yourself smaller achievable goals and build up to a bigger one. Progress takes time – take it step by step.

Notice every little improvement

Notice all the small ways you’re improving. Maybe you’re getting quicker, stronger and have more stamina with each training session. Taking time to acknowledge these small wins along the way will help you stay motivated to achieve that bigger end goal.

Surround yourself with positive people

Being around people who inspire you and make you feel good can really help. Maybe partner up with a buddy to train or share your progress with others. Surrounding yourself with positivity can give you the boost you need.

Do something that excites you

Motivate yourself with something that excites you and that you actually want to do. Do you want to do some yoga? Do you want to go for a walk with a friend? Do you want to go swimming? You're totally free. Just do what you enjoy.

Take stock

Try and keep perspective. Remember that life is really precious and to enjoy every day.

Think about your future self

Motivation doesn’t always show up when you want it to. There will be lots of times when you may not feel like working on your goal. One trick is to think about your future self – do it for them. You’ll feel great when you’ve done it.

Another tip is to think about the other people who are out there training – it will help you get out of bed to achieve your goal.

See challenges, not setbacks

We all have things that come up to throw us off course. But try to see these as challenges and not setbacks. You can work through them and come out the other side. Your mindset can really help you progress.

Be proud of yourself

Remember to give yourself praise when you've pushed yourself, and you've stepped out of your comfort zone. You've been disciplined enough to work hard, even when you didn't want to. That's a fantastic feeling.

Even healthy people become unhealthy sometimes. Health insurance can help you get prompt access to the treatment and support you need to help you get back on the road to recovery. Learn more with our useful guide to understanding health insurance

profile picture of Hannah Cockroft
Hannah Cockroft MBE, DL
Wheelchair racer

About our health information

At Bupa we produce a wealth of free health information for you and your family. This is because we believe that trustworthy information is essential in helping you make better decisions about your health and wellbeing.

Our information has been awarded the PIF TICK for trustworthy health information. It also follows the principles of the The Information Standard.

The Patient Information Forum tick

Learn more about our editorial team and principles >

Did you find our advice helpful?

We’d love to hear what you think. Our short survey takes just a few minutes to complete and helps us to keep improving our healthy lifestyle articles.