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How to Stay Motivated: Tips from a Cadet and National Champion

February 26 2024

The cadet, Eagle Scout, and 2022 college football national champion at the University of Georgia, Michael Hagerty III, shares motivational tips on how you can achieve your full potential.

“It doesn’t matter how you compare to anyone else, if you know you are doing the best, then you should be proud of that. My goal is just to be a better person every day,” Hagerty says on Tuesday, Feb.15.

Michael Hagerty III, son of Colonel Mike Hagerty and Mrs. Anna Hagerty, grew up on army bases all over the world. He said he was grateful for the way he was raised. It taught him how to be disciplined.

“Since a little kid, I have always wanted to be in the Army. I liked the idea of helping people and doing a job that not everyone can do,” Hagerty said.

During the 2021 University of Georgia football season, Hagerty demonstrated that discipline was a helpful skill to have learned. His day typically started at 5 am with physical training for ROTC. From there he went to football workouts, then classes from 11 am – 1 pm, meetings at 2 pm, practice from 4 pm – 7 pm, night classes until 10 pm, then homework, and lights out until his day started again at 5 am the next morning. “It was a difficult schedule to have but I am thankful for it — the harder days only improved my resilience,” Hagerty said.

Hagerty shared how he was able to maintain his busy schedule by listing the five aspects of life he works at every day. “Pick one thing in each category that you can do every day,” Hagerty said. “You can call your mom, go for a run, just do something in all of these areas — no matter how small or large. You just need to have a goal and an accomplishment every day.”

  1.      Socially 

Creating and maintaining relationships is an essential aspect of everyday life. People all live in this world together and share similar thoughts and feelings so connecting with others is important. Being social can be as simple as calling relatives, spending time with your friends, or talking to your co-workers. Any interaction will do. Fostering human connections is good for your physical and mental health. Having low social activity is statistically equivalent to being as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Building relationships is a rewarding and simple task to integrate into your daily life.

  1.      Religiously 

Practicing religion helps provide meaning and purpose in your life. It establishes set morals that create a structure to follow. Having strong religious beliefs helps people cope with life struggles by providing peace and understanding. Religion also gives you the ability to connect and bond with others who share similar outlooks.

  1.      Physically 

Incorporating physical exercise in your daily routine releases stress, helps maintain healthy body weight, and keeps muscles strong. Working out has many health benefits that can prevent various issues like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. By keeping your muscles strong, your energy levels improve and can have a positive impact on your productivity. Exercise can be customized to fit individual lifestyles so it can be a time you enjoy. Whether you enjoy sports, hiking, walking, or lifting weights; there are numerous ways to stay active.

  1.      Mentally 

Keeping your mind sharp helps reduce your risk of depression and can provide a sense of peace. Improving and maintaining your mental health can be accomplished by counseling, going to bed at a reasonable time, yoga, or anything that requires you to focus on your emotional, psychological, and social state. Your mental health is positively connected with your outlook on the world, so having a good mentality improves your view of life.

  1.      Discipline  

Discipline is a habit that you can train yourself to learn. Setting a goal and sticking by it can be difficult, so learning how to be disciplined can help. It teaches you to reach your goals by keeping focused. Discipline also keeps you accountable. This can mean sticking to a healthy diet or waking up early even when you do not have to. There are many ways to take accountability to improve yourself. By staying disciplined, you enhance your self-control. Having control over your body allows you to handle your emotions and impulses better. Discipline is a habit many successful people have integrated into their life to achieve their goals.

Hagerty attributes his success to following these five aspects of life. “Football and ROTC are not just about being physically strong, they are also about your mental toughness. You don’t give up when your teammates or cadets are relying on you,” said Hagerty.

Working hard is not without its perks. On Monday, Jan. 10, Hagerty watched as he and his teammates played against the University of Alabama in the College Football National Championship Game.

“I ran out of the gate feeling absolutely electric,” Hagerty said. “I’m running out with all of my teammates and there are millions of people in the stadium or on TV watching us.”

Georgia won the game, 33 to 18 over the University of Alabama. The last College Football Playoff National Championship win for Georgia was 42 years ago.

“There’s no excitement comparable to your teammate doing well on a play,” Hagerty said. “At the very end when we won, it made all of those challenging practices, long hours, and mental toughness worth it.”

As a high school student, Hagerty could never have imagined experiencing winning a college national championship with his teammates. His plan was to be a walk-on at Georgia Southern.​ This all changed when he listened to Ken Eldridge, his high school football coach. He was told that to be the best he could be, he needed to go to the University of Georgia and play football.

“I am thankful for all the decisions that have led me to where I am today,” said Hagerty. “If you have a goal, do not give up when it gets hard — work harder. Give it your best shot because the only person holding you back from improving yourself is yourself.”

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Jessica Voyles
Jessica Voyleshttp://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicavoyles
Jessica Voyles attends the University of Georgia where she is studying advertising. She is dedicated to helping her community by using her God-given talents and compassionate heart. Learn more about Jessica

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