How to find motivation when you just want to hibernate

Ahhh winter. Crisp blue skies, warm blankets, snazzy scarves, beautiful boots….. and shit awful freezing temperatures that make you cry when the alarm goes off at 6am and it still looks like it’s the middle of the night.

Winter can be awesome (hello, mulled wine!), but it can also sap us of our motivation. I mean, why the hell would you want to do anything other than curl up on the couch in your finest snuggly trackie dacks consuming as much ‘comfort food’ as you can fit in your gob?

Motivation is an internal thing, it’s what drives us toward stuff we want/need/like. There are lots of factors that go into motivation, and some external things that can help us along the way. But it’s a saucy minx, and sometimes we have to try a few things to get it happening.

Need a kick up the butt to get motivated in winter? Here are some tips:

1. Just do it

Promise I’m not spruiking for Nike, but they had something when they flogged that term. The more we sit about thinking about shit, the less we actually DO that shit.

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So don’t think about it, don’t worry/weigh up/whinge/wallow, just do. Put on your robot pants – make it an automatic reaction. The hardest part to doing something is the getting started part. So if you just physically get up, keep the thinking part at bay and take a step toward what you intend to do (put on your gym clothes, get your study books out, pick up a pile of washing and throw it in the machine), then the ball is rolling and motivation builds from there.

While we have these big clever brains, sometimes they can fuck us right over.

2. Small chunks

Dang it, when you’re looking ahead and all you can see is a mountain of shit in front of you, motivation runs for the hills. When something seems so huge it’s almost insurmountable we get panicked and have no idea where, or how to start.

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Best thing to do is break it down. What’s the first step? Is it to find your running shoes? Open your calendar?

Got that done? Then what’s the next step?

Even if you grab a blank sheet of paper and cover up all the shit on your to-do list but that first point. Check it off when it’s done and move the paper down to the next step.

Chunk it, yo.

3. Prepare ahead where you can

Shit is gonna be much easier if you can do the prep work ahead of time. Like mornings for example. Mornings are tough, particularly when trying to rally the troops and get out the door by a set time. If you can sort stuff out the night before, it makes the motivation to get up in the morning much easier. So if you can prep when you’ve got a bit of motivation crackin’, then it will actually help your motivation when it’s rugged up in its trackie dacks hiding under the blankies.

4. Start with the fun stuff

Seriously, this adulting is pretty boring sometimes. Lots of chores, ‘to-do’s’, mundane shit. No wonder motivation sticks its middle finger up at us!

If you find you’re lacking some mojo, look at what you’ve got to do, and pick the funnest thing first. That’s totes a word by the way. Okay, not really but let’s roll with it.

If you begin with something at least partially enjoyable, you find you’ll feel good, accomplished and that motivation of yours might start to slowly peep its head out from its hiding spot. While it can be useful to do the shittiest jobs first and work up to the good stuff, if you have no motivation whatsoever, then save a fun thing to kickstart yourself, and then work through the rest of the crud from there. And then hey presto! It’s wine time.

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It’s okay to slow down

We have so much going on, and it seems never-ending. Our motivation can take a hit when we feel frazzled. Throw in a healthy dose of frozen weather and we’re done. When we’re perpetually beating ourselves up with the classic “I should…” or “I must….” and trying to choke the last breath out of our motivation to get us doing those should and musts, well then we can just burn out.

If you’re struggling with motivation, look at why, and look at what really needs to get done and then simply tell yourself “I’ll try” rather than “I must”. Takes a hell of a lot of pressure off by changing a single word. Slow down, give yourself a chance to breathe, and motivation might feel like coming out to play once you’ve got a bit more left in the tank.

And when it’s winter? We know we naturally hibernate a bit, and so does our motivation. It will come back, it always does. We might just need to wine and dine it a bit. Because we know that motivation ain’t no one night stand kinda gal.

Written By

Sasha is a head-shrinker, music nutter, wine guzzling, Mama-type. She’s like Dr. Phil's alter-ego. With hair. And a potty mouth. But minus the trophy wife. She blogs over at From the Left Field, waffling about kids, parenting, and how to think and feel good with a hint of crazy.

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