When You feel Unmotivated

josh at night

Everyone is different, but for one reason or another we all have times we struggle to get psyched for climbing. For some people, it is a season. Some people can’t stand climbing in the finger numbing temperatures of the winter. For some people the sticky, hot, allergy plagued months of spring make them want to keep more indoors. For others the heat of summer and swarms of bugs make the thought of climbing draining.

If you are losing motivation to a season, here are some tips.

1. It is okay to take a break and pursue other interests. Chris Sharma says that if you aren’t motivated, you shouldn’t do it because when climbing isn’t natural we get burnt out. Try picking a couple days to train with weights or a hang board to keep up your strength, but pursue other things such as kayaking, hiking, bike riding, time with family, cooking, helping a charity, or whatever other things you are into. Taking a break can help you refuel your passion and keep you engaged in other directions. You’ll come back to climbing one day. We often start it up because we can’t resist it. Who knows, your break might end up being a lot shorter than you thought once you start missing it.

2. Think about what really drives you to climb and make plans that involve that. Include favorites. For instance, I really love outdoor climbing in beautiful areas like New Hampshire. Planning a trip to climb some routes there makes me much more excited than the idea of hitting the gym or just climbing a near by crag. I really love exploring and pushing my limits, therefore, trying out a new area or a challenging route I haven’t tried yet, motivates me more than the usual spot.

through the trees

3. If it is the outdoor weather and feel getting to you, spending some time in the gym might help you out. Climbing where it is cool, moderate temperatures and bug free, could be what you are craving. If you aren’t a gym goer, maybe switching to night climbing sessions could help you out. I’ve become a pretty big fan of night bouldering. You see a lot of cool things. For instance, we saw a luna moth. It is also much milder, less humid temps in the summer. You could also try to travel to places with a better climate, if money and time permits. If you struggled with cold weather, you could try purchasing a portable heater. We go one this winter and it was lovely! There is also water soloing for those warm months.

4. Keep your climbing in perspective. Sometimes we get stressed and bothered by things because we are making them way too important in our heads. I know I’ve been the victim of this myself with numerous things. Sometimes I get annoyed with going to social groups I am the organizer for because I feel like I have to be there even though I don’t want to. I might get annoyed with climbing because I feel like I should or need to be progressing when I’m not. We sometimes build up things to the point where we lose interest or get frustrated. Oddly enough, we do this because of how much we love them. It can be important to take a step back and remember, you climb because its fun and you like it not because you are making a career out of it or need to be the best. It’s nice feeling strong, but it isn’t necessary to your life. Water, food, and health are, but as much as you may want to think it is, climbing just literally isn’t. Taking some of the pressure off of it can help you refresh your passion. The funny part is, taking off the stress and getting back to the fun of it, will help you get better and succeed like you were so stressed about. Being stressed about it, almost never will help.

josh on rock

5. Reading or watching videos related to climbing. I don’t know about you, but when I see a really beautiful line, amazing send, or hear about how psyched someone else is on climbing, I feel more motivated. Watching climbing videos, reading articles, or hearing about what is happening in the sport, peeks my interest into it. The more I read or watch, the more psyched I get to go out there and do it. Especially when the information connects to my strongest interests like exploring new areas. Reading about places people are developing and how much is out there, makes me really want to see and do it all.

Remember it is common for people to lack motivation on different days, for different reasons. That is why there is so much stuff out there on getting motivated. I know it can be frustrating. I’ve had times were I was progressing, getting strong, and feeling capable of doing the most I could, but then I felt unmotivated and just sick of it all. Usually it is from being tired, overworked, and just super busy. I don’t want to climb, because I want to just sleep and take some time to myself. On the other hand, not climbing could mean losing all I have gained. It makes the decision frustrating. However, reminding myself that it isn’t that big of a deal and that I can get there again, doing smaller exercises to keep up strength that aren’t as time consuming, and having that time for other things to recharge and refresh my passion, are really helpful. I always worry about spending too much time away, but then I get so psyched to climb again in just a couple of days.

me on quarry

Do what you need to do to keep loving the sport. Climbing is meaningful, exciting, and fun. It really should never feel like a chore or burden. We need to free it from that. Have fun and give yourself the time you need. You’ll always get better and feel excited again if you take care of yourself right and do what you need to.

What do you do when you feel unmotivated?


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