As Indians, we are well aware that there are a lot of academic, familial, and general responsibilities in our lives. As much as we may love cubing, or any hobby for that matter, it tends to naturally get sidetracked at times. This in turn leads to a loss of motivation to even continue.
Personally, I have always held speedcubing as a very important part of my life. The places I have visited, the people I have met, everything I have achieved, and the memories I have made thanks to this sport, I hold it all very dear to me. This is something that perpetually keeps me motivated, but just like everyone, I have also gone through long bouts of low motivation and desire to actively practice.
I have jotted down some tips that have helped me over the years to stay motivated.
Take a Break
If you genuinely feel like you are burning out or getting bored, just step away for a week or two. Once you come back, you will start practicing with a fresh mindset. I and a lot of speedcubers I have interacted with have said that they have procured the best results after long breaks from practicing or competing. There is also a noticeable change in the amount of motivation to cube after taking breaks.
Set Achievable Goals for Yourself
Think about a short-term or long-term goal that you can see yourself reaching. For example, if you have been stuck at over 10 seconds on 3x3 for a while, try achieving sub-10 within a time frame of your choice. Do not stop once you have achieved your goal. Set a new one and keep going.
Set a certain time of the day where you cube for 30 minutes/1 hour (or how much ever time your day allows you). Having a schedule for your whole day including your other activities also helps. I am not asking you to schedule your entire day around cubing, but it is usually quite helpful to have a daily schedule in general. This way you have something fun to look forward to in your day that you have saved time for.
Your PR Streak is the number of consecutive competitions you have set at least one WCA personal record. This is a fair niche method to keep yourself motivated, but it does push you to practice that extra bit for competitions. Especially if you already have good PRs in the events you are going to participate in. You will also tend to try out new events at competitions in the quest to achieve a maximum PR streak.
The longest PR streak in the history of Indian speedcubing was set by Bhargav Narasimhan, racking a total of 49 competitions. The longest overall record is the ongoing streak of Antonie Paterakis from the Netherlands at 86 competitions. Can you beat any of those? Challenge yourself and find out!
Start with New Events
Connecting with the previous point, you should start expanding your horizons if you currently do not have a lot of WCA events that you regularly participate in. You will notice that events like Square-1 and Megaminx will pique your curiosity, and you will probably find it enjoyable to grind 6x6 and 7x7 solves.
Staying out of the popular events like 2x2 and 3x3 and giving some time to other events will really help you both ways. You will improve at those events and also help your 3x3 solving too because puzzles like big cubes and Megaminx will improve your lookahead and turning.
Find a Friendly rival
Look for a cubing friend who is at the same level as you at your event of choice. Challenge them and see which one of you breaks a barrier officially first. For example, you can race each other to sub-40 seconds for 4x4 official average.
Throw in some letscube.net sessions together while you are at it to compare how much you have progressed.
You can also use this as motivation to learn algorithm sets. You could race your friend to learn a full subset of ZBLL for example. Having something at stake at the end will also push you to reach your goal that much faster.
Listen to Music/Podcasts/TV shows while you Cube
This is more of a practical tip to keep yourself in the zone while you are practicing. Each of the three methods has its own uniqueness, which may not apply to everyone.
- Music helps some people to stay focused. You might find a certain genre to help you more than others.
- Listening to podcasts is a relaxing way to cube while taking in conversations and ideas. You can go for long hours doing the same.
- A TV show will probably use up a bit more of your attention since it requires a bit of visual focus. It will take some getting used to but it surely is a fun way to practice cubing. I would prefer watching sitcoms over anything else as it requires me to focus less on the screen and is quite entertaining to cube along with.
Make Content/Engage with the Community
Lastly, if speedsolving has completely worn out on you, you might find some passion for making cubing content on social media or YouTube. This helps you to contribute and engage with the cubing community. You will still be involved with cubing without actively practicing speedsolving. After all, speedcubing is what it is because of the community. To be a bigger part of it is definitely a huge thing, and you should try your hand at it.
To end this off, I would just like to say this to anyone who has picked up speedcubing as a hobby. Never let go of it. You have yet to unlock the best of things this sport has to offer. You have a lot to look forward to. I encourage you to keep the spirit alive, practice, and do your very best.
Shubham Maharana is an all-rounding speedcuber from Mumbai. He is currently ranked 2nd for 2x2 Single and 7th for Sum of Ranks in India. He started cubing 8 years ago at the age of 9 and attended his first competition at 11. He was one of India’s Youngest Competition Organizers at the age of 14. He has won 23 WCA medals across 6 events.
Apart from Cubing, Shubham enjoys playing the piano, listening to music, and writing.