When the weather turns cold and the days get shorter, the motivation to be productive often dies with the leaves on the trees. Maybe you experience a boost with your resolutions when New Year’s rolls around, but by mid-January the winter doldrums are taking their toll again. Here are five ways to stay focused when the weather is anything but motivating.
1. Wake up early and get dressed
It’s hard to make yourself get up when it’s frosty and still dark outside, but sleeping in won’t give you that extra energy you’re looking for. In fact, oversleeping can have the opposite effect by throwing off your circadian rhythm and confusing your body’s natural sense of time. And if you work from home, or are a stay-at-home parent, it can be tempting to spend the day in sweats or pajama pants. However, putting on real clothes makes you feel better about yourself, which, in turn, makes you more motivated to get things done.
2. Make to-do lists
Few things feel as satisfying as crossing items off a list. To-do lists are a good way to keep track of just how much you’ve accomplished during the day, especially if you struggle with feeling as though you haven’t accomplished anything. Starting small helps. So start with things such as “Make the bed” and “Get dressed”, basic things that don’t require much brainpower or energy, and are more likely to get accomplished.
3. Shorten your workouts and keep them simple
You may be used to longer workouts, especially if you’re passionate about fitness. But something about the combination of 15 degrees and snow makes it nearly impossible to get off the couch. So, do yourself a favor and trim down your workout; 30 minutes is much less daunting than an entire hour. And simplify the process as much as possible. If you have to drive across town in the snow, or catch a subway after trudging through slushy streets, to get to the gym, you’re creating extra obstacles that will get between you and your goal. Instead, look up fitness videos on YouTube and work out in your living room.
4. Work with the snow instead of against it
Snow easily can derail your fitness goals, especially if you love to exercise outdoors. But if you can figure out how to work with it, instead of cursing it at every turn, you’ll be a lot happier. Learn how to wear layers and dress appropriately for snow, go out in it at the right times and use proper shoes that have extra grips or spikes to prevent slipping on ice. There are lots of great calorie-burning activities for the snow, such as snowshoeing, sledding, snowball fights and even building a snowman with your kids. Snow is like a resistance and cardio workout all rolled into one!
5. Find a friend
Find someone willing to go to the gym with you, take walks with you and hold you accountable for reaching your goals. You will be more motivated to stick to a fitness regimen if you don’t have to go it alone. Knowing someone is out there to answer to can be all the motivation you need to get yourself out of bed and into your running shoes.