From Motivation to Mastery: Crafting Winning Habits for Valorant Triumph

Pros don’t practice their aim just because they’re motivated. They do it because it’s become a habit. Motivation alone is not enough to achieve your long-term goals. It takes something more stable and persistent. It is, however, a great tool if used correctly.

Motivation can help you navigate the rough waters on your journey, no matter the destination. But, as most people know, it ebbs and flows unpredictably. Additionally, it is sometimes hard to rely upon. 

When your motivation inevitably dips, you need a reliable backup to pull you through. This is where habits come in. 

Habits don’t require short bursts of motivation, they’re automatic. A large portion of our day-to-day actions are entirely habitual. You brush your teeth every day without even thinking about it. You don’t need to be motivated to do it. 

Regardless of what you are trying to improve, you won’t be able to keep consistent practice without habits. So, the critical question is; how can you create a habit? 

Boost Your Motivation | Esports Motivation | Aim Training Motivation | Habits | Esports Psychology

Getting over the motivation threshold

Break the motivation threshold

Take a look at this graph. Every activity has a minimum level of motivation required for you to initiate and maintain. So, as long as your motivation is below this threshold, you will not initiate the task or may quit halfway through. In other words, to do anything, we need our motivation to surpass the threshold for that activity. 

The obvious answer, therefore, is to look for ways to raise our motivation. However, the ultimate long-term goal is to lower the threshold itself permanently. This way, less motivation is needed to initiate the activity in the first place. 

Habits are what lower this threshold. Like brushing your teeth, habits put your brain on autopilot and will initiate the routine automatically, without conscious effort.

Habit creation can be broadly split into three main phases. The first step is to create the initial spark of motivation. The second is to maintain this spark to allow you to keep consistently doing a routine over an extended period of time. And the last step is to transform this routine into a habit finally. 

You can use these steps to create any habit you want. For this article, we’ll be focusing on aim training.

Creating the initial spark of motivation

The first step is easy. There are countless ways to get short bursts of motivation. 

If you’re one of the people who clicked on this article because you’re currently in a motivation slump, reflect on your journey. Look at how much you have improved to remind you to keep climbing. 

Remember the distance you have covered thus far, no matter how steep the climb may look. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, and keep putting in the hours until you reach the top.

You'll face challenges as you climb, but the end result is worth it

The same is true for the opposite. If you feel you’re currently worse than a previous point in your gaming career, remind yourself of how good you can be, and have been. You have the potential to return to your former level and go beyond. 

Remind yourself of your long-term goals. Are you aiming for a specific rank? Maybe your goal is to qualify for a league or join a particular team. Or, you might be one of the people who want to go pro. 

These long-term goals will often give you the motivational boost that you need. There are plenty of other ways to create this spark of motivation. Find what works best for you by setting meaningful long-term goals.

Maintaining the spark to help you progress

The tricky part is maintaining the spark. Motivation is always on a downward trend. We need to counter this continuously. 

Short-term goals can help us here. While reminding yourself of your long-term goals is great for sparking sudden motivation, short-term goals get you through longer periods of time. 

Ticking off short-term goals will slightly boost motivation and provide something to look forward to daily. Aim to set at least one of these goals daily. Additionally, ensure they’re specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, timely, and somewhat challenging.

Some example goals to spark motivation

Remember that the only way to notice improvement is by actually measuring it. Improvement is a gradual and subtle process. Unfortunately, it is hard to notice immediately. 

In Valorant, it will take time to improve your accuracy. For instance, while aim training, time yourself, count your kills, and use the built-in score system.

Seeing real progress can be a huge motivator. Though it may sound cliché, shift your mindset to focus on improvement. 

This change will enable you to start to see losses as something you can learn from. With this mindset, analyzing mistakes and getting motivated to fix them will be easier.

The main point we’re trying to get at is that small, regular actions go a long way in maintaining your motivation. Competition, measured progress, and ticking off goals are minor, yet impactful, ways to consistently boost your motivation.

Think about it this way. Instead of resorting to boosting motivation back up whenever it dips, we can also minimize or entirely prevent the dip in the first place. 

We can make negative experiences have less impact on our motivation. Our brains are hard-wired to respond more strongly to adverse outcomes than positive or neutral ones. 

Therefore, it’s best to distract our brain and focus on something more productive. Being aware that your brain has a negativity bias means that you can consciously try to counter this.

Changing your mentality

Even worse, some people make the mistake of focusing on negative things which are out of their control. Too many players focus on their teammates’ mistakes. On broken metas, or overpowered mechanics. 

Don’t say “this is so broken” or “this meta sucks”. Instead, tell yourself “even though they had an unfair advantage, there were still mistakes I made that cost us the round.” Motivate yourself to get rid of those mistakes to increase your win rate. If you can do ‘decent’ against an unfavorable meta, you’ll do extraordinary once the meta inevitably re-balances.

Say, however, that even after your best efforts, you find yourself in a motivation dip during your practice. What can you do to overcome it? 

It may seem obvious, but we must make the task more enjoyable or tolerable. In other words, we need to temporarily lower the motivational threshold, to allow us to continue our practice.

Try listening to a podcasts during your routine!

Listening to your favorite playlist, tuning in to a podcast, or even hopping into a call with a friend are great ways to make the routine more enjoyable. Set yourself a small reward to look forward to once you’re done. All these things make the activity less boring and make it easier to continue.

Entering the flow state is another precious tool to endure long periods of practice. In this state of mind, you feel fully immersed and hyper-focused on your routine and time flies by much faster. We’ll be going into detail about flow in an upcoming article, so stay tuned.

Transforming our routines into habits

We’ve learned the fundamentals of maintaining motivation. Now, let’s finally learn how to transform our routines into habits. 

In his international best-seller “Atomic Habits,” James Clear describes all human habits, good and bad, in four distinct steps: Cue, Craving, Routine, and Reward.

The four steps of human habits

A cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. This could be the smell of a doughnut shop as you walk down the street. The minute you smell it, your brain is triggered and craves a doughnut. 

Cravings are the second step. They’re the motivational force behind every habit. Without a craving, there is no reason to act. 

The third step, routine, is the action required to obtain the reward. Finally, the routine delivers a reward. The taste of the doughnut and satisfying the craving. Our brain will now associate the street with the reward of eating the doughnut before realizing it’s happening.

This may sound repetitive, but all four steps are crucial in forming a habit. If the cue is missing, you will not initiate the action. Reduce the craving, and you lack the motivation to act. Make the routine too difficult, and you won’t be able to do it. And if the reward fails to satisfy your desire, then you will not repeat it in the future.

Knowing how our brain works, we can develop strategies to kickstart new, desirable habits. First, we need to link the routine to a few cues. 

For example, we can have an easy-to-reach icon for our aim trainer on our desktop. Additionally, we can place our sports sleeve on our desk. The more visual cues you have in your environment, the more likely your brain will initiate the habit. 

Alongside visual cues, we can also use time-based cues. This could be something like: “It’s almost 7 PM, so it’s time to practice my aim.” Alternatively, you may have a cue for aim training right after you finish dinner. 

Consider using a scheduler as a visual cue

Set yourself an alarm, or use “Task Scheduler” on Windows to automatically schedule and launch your aim trainer every day. Basically, we want our cues to be as obvious as possible. 

Disciplined people don’t have “more willpower” than the average person. They’re just very good at structuring their environment, so they have many productive cues around them and very few unproductive cues.

How to build around cravings

Second, we need to crave the activity. Craving is the engine that drives behavior. But how do we increase our craving for something boring like aim training or dry runs? Well, we use a strategy known as “temptation bundling.” 

Simply put, pair an activity you need to do with an activity you want to do. For instance, create a playlist of your favorite songs, and only allow yourself to listen to it whilst aim training. Your brain will now associate the playlist that you want to listen to with the routine of aim practice that you need to do. Now, you’ll want to practice your aim. 

Building around cravings is key

Just list things you enjoy doing, and bundle them with a routine you don’t

Remember, however, that you have to be disciplined with this. Restrain yourself from only doing the “fun” part while skipping out on the vital habit. It can be easy to slip but work on getting yourself back on track after your temporary stumble.

Make things easy on yourself

Third, we need to ensure that the routine is easy to do. Human behavior follows The Law of Least Effort. We naturally gravitate toward the option that requires the least amount of work. So, we need to make the routine easy and straightforward. 

Implement a five-minute rule. When you start a new habit, it should take no longer than five minutes to complete. Five minutes is not long at all, so it’s effortless to get started. 

At the same time, months of five minutes each day will add up over time. Besides, the routine will get easier eventually, so you’ll naturally increase the length of your training sessions. Though it may not seem like much, starting with small amounts of practice each day will get you the training schedule you’ve always wanted.

Satisfaction is key!

Finally, we need to make the end reward as satisfying as possible. You can complete a routine as often as you want, but if you gain no satisfaction from it, you will eventually burn out. 

Motivation and satisfaction go hand in hand

Humans have evolved to prioritize immediate rewards over delayed rewards. If we want a habit to stick, we need to feel immediately successful, even if it’s in a small way. 

One of the most satisfying feelings is that of making progress. The more we progress, the more we become motivated by our results, and the more we work to progress further. 

As we mentioned earlier, track your progress. Whether using the in-app tracking or tracking your progress externally, ensure you can visualize your improvement. 

This also works in the long term. Creating good, consistent habits, will have a positive impact on your general gameplay, and you’ll start to notice improvements in-game.

Motivate your way to noticeable improvement in Valorant

In the end, follow this 4-step roadplan, and you’ll be on your way to creating productive habits. Make the cues as obvious as possible. Cravings should be as attractive as possible. Routines should be as easy as possible. And make the reward as satisfying as possible. A habit won’t form unless all four steps are taken care of.

The most difficult part of a habit is maintaining it. We’ll dive deeper into this topic in the next article of the Esports Psychology series.

A simple, yet effective, mantra

In the end, if there is just one thing you can take away from this post, it’s: Just do something. There is no “perfect formula” for creating a habit, so doing something is usually the best thing we can do. 

Just starting a behavior is very difficult. But once we have started, the rest becomes much easier. We hope this post introduced you to new concepts.

If you enjoyed it, share this with your friends and leave your favorite habits in the comments section!

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9 months ago

I really need to schedule more time for my sim training sessions. Thanks for the motivation 😁

Two Average Gamers
Reply to  Greg
9 months ago

guessing you meant aim training, but sim training is cool too if that’s what you actually meant!

9 months ago

Loved this article, especially the recommendation to use a task scheduler!

Two Average Gamers
Reply to  Jen
9 months ago

glad you liked it, and let us know how things go with the scheduler!

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