Staying Motivated in Winter
For a lot of people, staying motivated in the winter can be difficult. The first couple weeks of January may have been on track with the whirlwind of positive intentions surrounding New Years. But by the time February and March roll around, some find their energy and motivation have fallen by the wayside. Here are a few quick tips to get back on track and keep up your motivation during winter!
Find something about winter that you like and remind yourself of this whenever your energy is low. (And yes, there’s got to be at least one thing you’re grateful for!) For instance, “I like running in winter because the normally busy pathways are quieter and I can really hear myself think.” Let this be your mantra in winter.
Numerous studies have shown the power of music on physical activity. So whether that means listening to hype music as you’re lacing up your shoes or grabbing an old iPod for some throwback music, jamming out can help get you in an inspired state of mind.
There are a number of other ways technology can help boost motivation. Looking at inspirational photos of incredible athletes on Pinterest can serve as a motivator. Or watching inspirational YouTube clips or movies can make you want to go for a run. (I don’t know about you, but when I see Rocky racing up those stairs, I also want to get out and accomplish something!)
Shell out Some Dough
Ah, the power of the dollar. Committing yourself to a race and paying precious funds can serve as a motivator. Another option is investing in high quality winter gear. By investing in yourself and purchasing gear that you know will keep you warm, you can feel more prepared and inspired to take on the elements.
Or perhaps you are an outdoor runner but if it is simply freezing outside, sometimes it can be prudent to shell out some dough and join a gym. If budget is an issue, there are plenty of gyms that do a free first visit or even a free first week. If you see that it is supposed to snow for the next week, head on over to your local gym for their “trial period”.
Sign up for a Themed Race
There are some great themed races that take place in winter. Hot Chocolate 15k, Cupid’s Undie Runs, Mardi Gras 10k… the themes are varied and entertaining. And if you are in some of the biggest cities in the U.S., you know that St. Patrick’s Day races are some of the largest and most fun races of the year. (Chicago’s Shamrock Shuffle 8k is a sight to behold.) And the race swag is often of a different variety than summer races. Rather than getting a t-shirt, you may get a pullover or beanie to add to your runner wardrobe.
Use an Activity Tracker
This doesn’t have to be a top-of-the-line, super expensive, high tech tracker (but those can be fun to play with too). Many employers have simple pedometers available for use as part of their health incentives. Rather than thinking, “eh, good enough” for the day, you can see the numbers and let them motivate you to push it just a little bit farther to get your steps. Seeing tangible evidence of your hard work can be a great visual motivator.
It has been said before that the power of a workout buddy can be instrumental in achieving your fitness goals. You may feel like you do not have any friends who like to run, but do not let that be a factor. There are a number of running clubs in any city that run year-round. Tell another runner at the club that you will see them next week and you will be more likely to show up.
Get Family and Friends Onboard
Similar to the buddy system, telling your friends and families about your goals increases your likelihood of completing them. By forcing yourself to create a goal then voice it out loud, you are quantifying your wishes rather than just vaguely hoping you might “run more”. Let those in your life by a support system!
Spend a few minutes visualizing yourself running. Imagine yourself stretching. Imagine yourself taking long, confident strides. Imagine being on a quiet path lined with trees and admiring the beautiful icicle formations. Then image the satisfied feeling you will have once you’ve completed your run. Now don’t you want to go out and make those visions a reality?
Habit is a powerful motivator. Sometimes it can be as simple as putting a run on your calendar. And for an extra boost, invite other people to attend. Even if they don’t attend in person, they can ask you about the run after and help hold you accountable. It can also be helpful to run at the same time every day. By making running a part of your lifestyle and part of your daily routine, you will be more likely to run regularly.
While some may argue that winter is the hardest time of year to stay motivated, there are plenty of reasons to love it. It is an excellent time to build a strong base for races later in the year. Or it can serve as a good time to get back in the swing of things if you have taken a break. Practice the tips above to stay motivated in this chilly season and happy running!