Finding Motivation on Cold Dark Winter Days
I don’t know about you, but for me when that alarm goes off at 5:30 am and I am lying in my nice warm comfy bed the last thing I want to do is get up. I look out the window hoping to see the sun coming in but rather I see nothing; it is pitch black out and looks to be the dead of night still. I try to remind myself how last night I was excited to go to the gym and take one of the many classes I rotate through during the week, that it will be good for me. I internally oscillate between going back to bed and dragging myself up. Most days I find the motivation to get out of bed, mostly because I put the effort in already making my lunch and packing my work clothes the night before, and get out of the door in less than twenty minutes.
My drive to the gym is less than two miles away and takes no time at all. I arrive at the parking lot and always shocked and amazed how many other people are already at the gym working out. Sometimes I see people leaving the gym having already finished their workout and it’s not even 6 am! I walk in feeling proud of myself for crawling out of bed and doing something good for myself. I take a collection of classes; yoga, spin, Pilates or high interval training(HIT). Shockingly it is easier for me to get out of bed knowing I am going to yoga than it is the days I am going to HIT. I tell myself I am going to do HIT on Mondays, then Monday comes along and somehow I find a way to convince myself that morning that I should switch to yoga and then must really be hard on myself to get myself to do it on Wednesdays. Wednesdays after normally doing too many pushups, burpees, battle rope, jump squats, ab holds I am most content with myself for sticking through it. Knowing how great I feel after completing the class doesn’t make it any easier the next Wednesday morning convincing myself to go again.
Working out in winter is hard. It is cold outside and most people never see the light of day with having to commute both directions in darkness. So why do we do it? That high feeling you get after completing a workout and knowing you did something for yourself is why I do. Why do you? Your mind is going to try to convince you that you don’t want to work out, but you must find that internal drive to fight against that natural negative feeling and do it anyway. Normally, it is just getting yourself to a workout that is the hardest. Once you are there it is simple to start and complete the task you set out for yourself.
Alex and I have had our share of times when we feel lazy and miss several workouts during the week. We get to the weekend and feel a bit blah about ourselves and maybe try to fit something in on the weekend. We find the best way to motivate ourselves is by having a goal. Last year during this time we were marathon training and that was great motivation to get our butts running out in the cold. Alex in the past had goals to do well in his cycling and it was hard to ever get him off his bike. This year we don’t have a big goal we are working towards, we completed a trail run in October, but since then had nothing on the radar. Both of us felt a little less motivated and remembered we had a trip to Nicaragua coming up during the Christmas holidays. Originally, we were going to cycle across, but during the early fall thought it sounded a bit much and considered renting motorcycles or even a car; we were feeling lazy.
In the last several weeks we started to really question our decision on why we didn’t want to cycle Nicaragua and of course concluded that we had no good reason, and rather, if we didn’t cycle we were going to regret it. We loved cycling Asia and picked this trip to be able to experience another part of the world by bicycle, so what were we doing? Our decision was based on effort involved in transportation to Nicaragua with bikes and effort to building up bikes again. No good reasons at all that I am happy to say we have now revert on and have decided to cycle Nicaragua and building up new steal cyclocross bikes! I have found my motivation again of why I should wake up again at 5:30 and take that spin class or why we should go out on a ride on a cold weekend day when the wind will be cutting through us. Working out is always about finding your motivation!