The title question is from a reader of Aspire’s newsletter and I thought I would do a quick answer on the blog since winter months have a rather overwhelming influence on many of us. There are many ways of staying inspired and motivated to keep up with training, lessons and rides but there definitely isn’t one perfect method for all.
Here is my key to stay motivated: I choose to fight for something I really want to become. It might seem obvious but many a time we decide we want something or be someone but have no willingness to do the work. We find excuses, obstacles, reasons against. When I want to achieve something, properly WANT it, then the motivation comes by itself. When you really want to improve your skills, your understanding of something, your method of doing something, your ability to change something, then you feel inspired by your own drive…You respect that drive and the journey you already made even if it hasn’t been a long one yet.
Yes, sometimes your motivation might be low but when you want something – really want something – even the low motivation is high enough for you to keep going.
When you chose well on what you are focusing on, I bet you, getting up to run into muddy field won’t be nearly as dreadful. My advice, for what it’s worth, would be to not be too worried about how to stay motivated to do something but how to chose the focus, the “why”. When your motivation petrol runs low, remind yourself your why.
If you can’t see any meaningful why, then you might need to change your focus, alter it a little, seek what really makes you happy – then get into overalls and make it happen 🙂
Please feel free to share you views in the comments – how do you stay inspired and motivated?
The best advice I can give to all frozen horsey people and one that worked fantastically for me is: don’t fight the winter, embrace it!
The more we moan and wish it away the more it is on our minds and the more hate towards it we feel. That in turn brings us down, makes us into a rather depressed and fed up individual who quite easily finds life in the cold a big nuisance.
Quick Fixes for Short Days Blues
Get up early – as early as possible for you, ideally as close to sunrise as you manage. This will win you some daylight hours. If like me you are more of an owl than a lark, get up 10min earlier each morning for a set amount of days – after 10 days you will be getting up 100 minutes earlier than usual.
Train Harder – many professional riders treat winter as their down time to relax and be with the family but if you are reading this you are most likely a horse mad, ambitious amateur. That means that best thing for you to beat those winter blues might be to release as many endorphins into your blood stream as you can. Structured, intensive lessons are a great solution. Not only that you will feel better afterwards but you will be fit and ready for when the spring comes and you can ride more.
Focus – having lessons makes you think, it focuses your efforts and keeps you interested. It’s nice to wander around the arena in the sun or go for a hack on a stunning summer morning but when cold wind presses tears out of your eyeballs you need someone there suffering with you and spurring you on. Your instructor will always be colder standing still than you working out just in case you needed someone out there to feel worse than you feel 😉
Have a winter fitness regime – find something that suits your personality. You don’t have to run on a treadmill for an hour if you hate going to the gym. Pick something you like or perhaps something that you would like to try. I’ve been taking yoga classes for the last few weeks. Even though I still feel as if someone attached my limbs to four horses and let them run wild in a field during the sessions, I feel fabulous afterwards. Having suffered from some shoulders pain I noticed how much more supple I feel. There are plenty of activities to chose from. Go for it and do it once a week or more.
Winter is for Reading 🙂 – this might not be for everyone and parents with young children might struggle here I acknowledge but dark evenings are simply designed for book time 🙂 (or blog time!) If you agree, grab yourself a cup of tea/coffee/wine and start yourself a Winter Reading Ritual.
Stay Warm – thismight seem obvious but it took me years of trial and error to get this right! If you teach and stay outside for 12 hours a day it is extremely difficult to remain warm at all times. Standing still is the worst but equally, when you ride/muck out/hay up etc and sweat, you are then having to spend the rest of the day in damp clothes. Not great for staying warm.
Technical clothes that wick moisture well and keep you warm are not cheap and usually out of reach for many who work with horses or who keep horses on a shoestring budget.
The system that works for me is to have:
1) Layers – and have a change of clothes with you (the bottom layers)
2) Best wool underwear you can find, you will not regret it – I got a very thin wool vest from friend from Norway and it’s been my best winter friend ever since. It is very soft on the skin and unbelievably insulating.