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6 Ways You Can Motivate Yourself This Winter to Stay Active

With the sun setting earlier and cold temperatures on the horizon, staying motivated during the winter can be a challenge. Here are the top six ways you can keep the fire burning when the mercury dips below zero.

It's a common occurrence. The temperature drops, and so too does our motivation to stay active and healthy over the winter and holiday season. While COVID-19 may spare us from overindulging at Christmas parties and holiday get-togethers with friends and family this year, it's still important for us to keep up our regular exercise routine. This can be tough when the sun is setting before 5 pm and those first -20°C days hit.

Here are six easy ways to stay active and on track this winter season, or regain the motivation you've lost.

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6 Ways You Can Motivate Yourself This Winter to Stay Active

If you find yourself lacking the motivation to exercise that you usually possess in the summer months, it's understandable. With warmer temperatures comes less clothing and more opportunity to show off all the hard work you've been putting in at the gym. As layers and sweaters become more common, it's easier to forgo our regular workouts, since we can hide away the extra pounds we've put on.

But regular exercise isn't just for the health of your body, it helps with your mental health too. Which is arguably more important this year than it ever has been before. Here are six easy ways you can keep the motivation motor running all winter long.

1. Set realistic goals you can stick to

Having multiple goals is a great way to keep you from giving up when the going gets tough during winter. While most people will start out with physical ones, such as wanting a slimmer waist, it's important to set performance-based ones as well. That's because the physical ones can make it difficult to stay on track, especially if you've already achieved them. Performance goals on the other hand, such as wanting to improve your strength, are continual and will be a better motivator.

It's also useful for you to make realistic goals that you can conceivably accomplish. Otherwise, your unrealistic ones could actually unmotivate you to keep active when they aren't achieved.

2. Put a plan in place

If you have goals but no plan in place on how to achieve them, you're more likely to fail in reaching them. The help of a personal trainer or nutrition coach in charting your path to success can be invaluable. These two experts can help set mini-goals that help you stay motivated as you aspire to attain your overall ones. If weight loss is your primary goal, enlisting the help of both will increase your chances of not only achieving the weight loss you desire but also staying at your ideal weight by making lifelong lifestyle changes.

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3. Be prepared

The Scouts were onto something when they came up with this motto. It will serve you well as you try to stay motivated this winter too. Being unprepared for your workouts or meals can lead to self-sabotaging tendencies in the form of missed trips to the gym and unhealthy meals. But by instituting a few simple organizational hacks, you can better stay on track.

Things such as planning your workouts for the entire week on Sunday and meal prepping ahead of time will cut down on the number of missed training sessions and takeout meals you eat. Prioritize your workouts and make sure you treat them as you would an important appointment, like one with your doctor. This will also help you avoid any skipped sessions.

4. More carrot, less stick

It's essential to treat yourself every once in a while when you're in the midst of a workout or weight loss regimen. This will also serve as a good incentive to keep up with your healthy habits when the days are dark and cold. Try not to have all your rewards be based around food though. Perhaps there's a piece of clothing you've had your eye on or a mini-getaway you've been dreaming of (since big trips have pretty much been put on hold due to COVID-19).

Whatever treat you've assigned to a particular goal, and you should have corresponding ones for both your big and small ones, make sure you follow through with rewarding yourself once you achieve it.

5. Partner up

This tip may be a little tricky given the unprecedented times we're living in, but if you have someone within your cohort bubble that you can partner up with for workouts, it's a great motivational boost. It's much easier for us to skip a workout when it's just us who will be impacted by that decision. A lot harder when someone else's plans are affected too. 

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6. Change things up

While a routine can do wonders for reaching your fitness or weight loss goals, sometimes it can become a bit boring. If you're starting to find that to be the case, it can be tough to stay motivated. That's why switching things up can provide the spark you need to power through the dreary winter days. 

With so many online fitness resources at our disposal now, you can easily find a free video to help guide you through a new workout or activity. Maybe you've always wanted to try kickboxing or barre but have been too intimidated to attend a class. Boot up a video and cast it to your TV, and give them a go from the comfort and safety of your own home. And if you find that your meals are becoming a bit of a drag, search out some new healthy recipes to spice things up. These subtle changes might just be the boost you need to stay healthy and active.

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