It’s Winter Time: Here’s How To Stay Motivated!

Woman holding snow shaped in a heart.

There are always a million excuses to not work out, and in the winter, you can come up with about 10 more. I get it. Finding the time and energy to exercise as the days get shorter and colder can be extremely difficult. There is also little motivation since it’s not bikini season and you can get away with wearing chunky knit sweaters for three months. How is one expected to stay motivated under these circumstances?

Well, the truth is, you don’t have to be motivated to work out, you just have to do it. How many mornings has your alarm gone off and you didn’t want to wake up? A lot, I’m sure! You got up anyway, didn’t you? You have a job and signed a contract to be there every day. The same thing goes for working out, if you make it a requirement, you’ll just do it and not think twice.

It won’t be easy but it can be done. Everyone who has ever worked out knows that it’s really hard to get into you workout gear and work out, but they also know that it’s extremely rewarding once you do. Let’s learn some tips on how to stay healthy and active all year round (especially in the winter).

1. Wake Up Earlier

Alarm clock on green and pink background.

Set your alarm early.

It’s generally difficult to get out of your bed each morning, but in the winter it’s taken to a whole new level of difficulty. Some people find it difficult to work out in the evenings after a full day of work, which is why making exercise a part of your morning routine is crucial. Waking up earlier means that you’re the only person you need to worry about.

No one is going to call you, your kids are still sleeping, it’s time for you to concentrate on your health and well being. The trick to getting out of bed early is putting your alarm clock in another room. It will force you to get out of bed to turn it off. And once you’re already out of bed, you might as well start your day right.

2. Set Goals

Having something you’re working towards is a great way to force yourself to stick to your workouts. Make small weekly goals and longer seasonal ones. For example, you can sign up for a run in March that will hopefully keep you motivated throughout the winter months. Setting small goals is good for you to keep track of your progress and how far you’ve come.

Whether it be tracking the miles you’ve run or the number of workouts you do per week, writing it all down will motivate you to push yourself to do more. You should also reward yourself as you reach new goals, which leads me to the next tip.

3. Reward Yourself

Hands holding gold medals.

Give yourself rewards.

From an early age, we’re taught that with good deeds come rewards. We still think the same way today. If we put in the extra hour of work now, we won’t have to do it later and will be able to hang out with friends. We hope that with every positive decision we make, that a reward will follow, but as you and I both know, this is not always the case.

It can be though if you call the shots. You’d think we’d be satisfied with looking and feeling healthier, but since exercise results are usually not instantaneous, we need another way to reward ourselves in the short-term. When most people think of rewards, they think of a treat, like cake, cookies, or sweets. Little do they know that rewards don’t have to be detrimental to your health, they can be beneficial.

A reward could be some new workout gear, like new sneakers, warm spandex, or a Fitbit. You’ll want to use your new swag and not just stare at it.

4. Surround Yourself With Positivity

It’s important to surround yourself with people that will only raise you up and not put you down. If you’re waking up early in the morning to exercise, you should be praised by your friends and/or husband, not made fun of. It’s also helpful to have a workout buddy. Having someone waiting for you will force you to be on time and put in the effort. You don’t want to be the reason your buddy doesn’t work out, therefore, don’t be the friend that suggests skipping a workout. You need someone who is committed as much as you, maybe even more.

5. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Four people with their back to the camera looking a country view.

Don’t spend your time comparing yourself to your friends.

Telling you not to compare yourself to others is almost like telling you not to blink- impossible. In today’s day and age, it’s common to find yourself wishing you looked like someone else, had their motivation or self-control. However, each and every one of us is different and we must remember to embrace that.

Once you start comparing yourself to someone else, you’re removing your joy and happiness and instead of filling up with jealousy. You can use others as motivation to work harder and do better, but to compare yourself will only bring you stress. It will also stall your progress. If you’re too busy fixating on what someone else is doing, you won’t be able to focus on achieving your fitness goals.

6. Exercise Outdoors In Layers

Person with back to camera looking at snow.

Make sure to wear plenty of layers.

Even though it’s easy and great to work out indoors, it’s beneficial to work out outside as well. Since your body needs to work harder to stay warm, your metabolism revs up and you’ll burn more calories and fat allowing you to produce more energy for your workout. Exercising in the cold improves your overall health by strengthening your heart, lungs, and circulatory system.

Wearing layers is important for you to be able to take them off as needed. By the end of your workout, you may be down to your last layer because you’ve worked up such a sweat. Make sure your face, fingers, and toes are well protected because they’re the first to get frostbitten. If you feel pain or tingling in your ears or toes it’s probably a good time to go indoors and warm up.

7. Functional Winter Workouts

Your winter workouts don’t need to be the typical cardio, toning, and strength training routines that you usually do, they can be functional as well. Winter “chores” can be considered exercise too. As a child, did you ever shovel neighbors’ driveways to make some money? Well, you can do it this winter as well. If you don’t have your own driveway, call up your parents and see if they need help shoveling.

You can also help a friend get their garden ready for the spring by raking their leaves.  It’s also a great workout to cut wood for a bonfire or your fireplace. As you can see, you don’t have to have a gym or fancy exercise equipment to get in a good workout this winter.

8. Shop For Summer Clothes To Keep Motivated

Clothes hanging in cupboard.

Wardrobe full of summer clothes.

It’s only a few weeks into the winter and you’re already dreaming about warmer days. Motivate yourself to keep up your exercise routine by buying new summer clothing for yourself. Whether it be a new dress, top, or swimsuit, don’t hide it in your closet until the summer. It won’t motivate you if it’s hidden.

You’ll end up forgetting about it until summer arrives. You should instead hang some of it next to your mirror. Seeing it every day when you’re getting ready will make you work even harder to look and feel your best to have the utmost confidence when you finally get to wear it.

9. Indulge In Winter Treats

The cold months are filled with, what seems like an endless amount of, special winter treats. You probably feel like you’re constantly using self-control to not get hot chocolate at Starbucks or take a gingerbread cookie for the break-room in your office. It can be extremely difficult and you’re doing great, but remind yourself that it’s okay to indulge sometimes.

If you see the sunrise for five days in a row, you deserve to have a nice brunch with your friends on Saturday. You’ll feel so proud of yourself that you won’t even feel guilty for going a little off your diet. And you shouldn’t because you deserve it.

10. Relax!

Legs folded with book open on bed.

Read a book to relax.

You only can do so much before you begin to wear yourself out. It’s great to be motivated and work out every chance you get, but setting limits are important. You need to create a schedule that gives you downtime to relax. Not only is relaxation important for your body, but it’s also important for your mind.

Having times when you’re just laughing or bingeing on Netflix allows for creativity and success to shine through. There is obviously such a thing as too much downtime, which is why it’s recommended to put it into your schedule. If you don’t want to lose your workout groove, you can switch gears and do a yoga or meditation class. Both are great ways to recenter and re-energize yourself.

Conclusion

Cold days make you want to curl up in a ball and hibernate. Your body knows when it’s hibernation season which causes it to not burn fat as speedily as it did in the warmer months. Therefore, staying motivated and keeping up your workouts is crucial to your physical as well as your mental health.

As said by Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Basically, continuing to workout will continue to make you feel good. Exercising outdoors, in the cold can in some ways be better for you than working out in the heat. As was mentioned earlier, the cold air helps your circulation and if you’re running in snow, you’re increasing your calorie burn for each step.

Motivation can be compared to fuel in a car. It doesn’t need to be full to work, it just can’t be empty. Don’t waste your energy on keeping yourself fully motivated. All you need is a little fuel, a little motivation to help you hit the ground running. With these tips, you’re one step closer to making sure you don’t spend too much time this winter making smores and sleeping in. And one last tip, beware of ice.

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