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  The Winning Edge
Six top athletes tell us how to stay motivated.
By Peggy Edwards
Canadian Living Magazine
November 1989 p 150 to 152

How often have you started an exercise routine or a night school course only to find your enthusiasm petering out after a few weeks? Or have you ever promised yourself you'd run an extra mile or do find more sit-ups, then decide it was impossible? Most of us have trouble motivating ourselves sometimes. But some people seem to be pros at it, and none more so than Canada's top athletes, who often drive themselves to the point of pain and exhaustion, then wake up the next day and do it again. In this article, we talked to six top athletes about how the focus and stay motivated. Their words can inspire us all - not only in the realm of sport but also in our everyday lives.

Be the best you can be
Vicki Keith is a young woman who has set some lofty goals for herself. When the long-distance swimmer accomplished one of them in the summer of '88 she became the first person to swim all five Great Lakes, and then continued in 1989 to swim Juan de Fuca Strait and Lake Winnipeg, she touched the hearts of many Canadians. "I wasn't good in sports at school," says Keith," but I am persistent to the point of absolute stubbornness. After I succeed in my double crossing of Lake Ontario in the summer of 1987, I decided to reach out to see how for I could really go."

Keith feels that setting long- and short-term goals is an important part of motivation. She broke down her seemingly impossible distance goals into manageable units: for example, when swimming, she'd concentrate on making it from one feeding time to the next, usually two hours apart. During the Lake Huron swim, which was cold and difficult, Keith became so fatigued she had to adjust her short-term goal to simply lifting one arm. She continued this way, willing herself to lift first one arm then the other, until she was four hours from shore, when she knew she could make it.

Keith, who gives talks on motivation to interested groups, is convinced that the greatest barriers we confront in the pursuit of our goals are the ones we impose ourselves. "If you believe in yourself and you refuse to give up, you can accomplish anything."

This article goes on to describe Dave Steen, Carolyn Waldo, Lennox Lewis, Kirk Browning and Michelle Cameron success strategies.