So you have planned your trip, have got your gear sorted and now you are on the way to the finish line which seems so very far away. How do you make sure you get there? When you get tired, wet ,cold, lonely, and sore how do you stop yourself from quitting. Well basically it all comes down to motivation. The trick is to have plenty of motivation and make it impossible for you to not finish.
Firstly you will be doing it for yourself. Just promise yourself you are going to do it. If you hit the wall and question why you are doing it, if you are alone you wont have anyone there to talk sense to you, so your gonna need to talk sense to yourself. Talk to yourself. I developed a regular conversation with myself on the side of the road, berating myself and asking if I was a quitter. Sounds harsh and slightly insane, but I got angry and by getting angry I got going. Anger is a great motivator, it really is.
Here is another trick for those really desperate moments when you find it hard to get angry. Before you leave, when you have a clear mind, write down on a bit of paper in fairly strong language why you are doing it, seal it in an envelope and stash it in your bag. When you hit rock bottom, and think you want to quit, open the envelope and read what you wrote to yourself at the beginning. Your reasons wont have changed, only your mood has. Without a strong reason for yourself, you may not have the motivation to get through it when the going gets tough.
Do it for someone else whom you care about. I wanted to do my ride not only to get myself into a better place, but also because of my mum. She has been the single most inspirational person in my life and I wanted to do it for her. She has spent the vast majority of her life in a wheelchair, and never gave up. Every time I got low, I just thought about her, and it kept me going (and then some). I would be a a point of despair and all I needed to do was remind myself about mum and the tough moments she must have faced, and all of a sudden I would get a rush and I would be off again with tears streaming down my face laughing and punching the sky.
Tell the world about your ride. Make it impossible for you to not do it, or you will be letting everyone down. This is the fear of being a “quitter”!! Originally when I started to plan my ride, I just wanted to do it for me. A quiet affair, a personal journey. But then I realised the fear of quitting WAS why I wasn’t doing it for any other reason, and I wasn’t telling everyone was because I was afraid of failing, or worse, quitting. I was afraid I wasn’t going to go through with it. I stopped and thought, “do I really think I will fail? No. Do I really think I will quit? Maybe.” So I told everyone. I created the blog, and told all my friends and colleagues about my ride. Then I started spreading the word. The more people that knew about it the more motivation to do it, and the more people would know I quit if I gave up.
The biggest fear by far you will have is the fear of failure. And failure is of course a distinct possibility. If it was a walk in the park then you wouldn’t be doing it, so the risk of something going wrong is real, as is the risk that you physically, mentally or emotionally wont be able to do it. These are all valid reasons for not completing your quest. If you break a leg, or completely exhaust yourself then no one expects you to finish. But just”quitting because it is hard” is not a valid reason, and that is why you will fear this the most. You will feel like quitting on more than one occasion, the secret is to be well stocked with motivation. You will remember you are doing it for yourself, and berate yourself back onto the bike. You will remember you are doing it for people you care about, and this will raise your spirits. You will be doing it for a charity and all the great things they will be able to do with the funds, and you will be doing it so you can hold your head up high with your peers, including those who already think you will probably quit, and ultimately you will be doing it so you can get to the end and say,
“I just rode the length of New Zealand, on a bike, and I didn’t quit”. Having the right to say that is a fantastic motivator, and is a damn crazy awesome feeling.