NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Fighting Old Man Winter: Finding Motivation in Cold Weather

Thinkstock_469903225.jpgIt’s 5:00 a.m. It’s still pitch-black outside. You have a long day ahead. And the weather forecast on your phone tells you the high temperature for today will be 15 degrees? Talk about not wanting to get out from under those cozy, warm covers. Nevertheless, your day awaits, and you must get up, get going, and try not to think about taking a nap all day.

Just thinking about how cold it is outside can make it almost unbearable to go anywhere or do anything that involves opening your front door. However, you can fight back using your own attitude and mental toughness. Nothing can wear you down unless you let it.

Here are some helpful tips for fighting the winter blues and finding your motivation.

Keep Your Alarm Clock Away from Your Bed

Let’s face it: when that alarm goes off in the morning, all we want is 15 more minutes to sleep. Make yourself get up to turn off the alarm and avoid the temptation of hitting snooze and rolling over. (Here are some other alarm clock tricks from Lifehacker.)

Don’t Skip Workouts

It can be very tempting to just call it a day after work, or to sleep in for an extra hour rather than go to the gym and work out. You just have to keep focusing on your long-term goals and realize that there’s no way around the winter weather in the Midwest. You have to bundle up and keep working just as hard as you have been (maybe even harder with all the holiday food you may have eaten).

Plan Ahead for Warmer Weather

When you look outside and see snow falling and being blown about, you may find yourself daydreaming about warm weather and being outside doing fun things. This doesn’t have to discourage you! You should use these little fantasies to your advantage. Create a list of activities that you want to do once the weather warms up and allows for them. You really can trick your mind sometimes. If you put yourself somewhere mentally, you may start to forget all about where you really are. Sitting inside watching snowflakes fall slowly to the ground? No way; you’re hiking through the forest on a 78-degree day with a breeze hitting your face and cooling you off.

Keep Your House Well Lit

This may sound like an odd one, but it will make some sense with an explanation. Days are shorter during the winter, so there is less daylight. To avoid falling into a slump and calling it a day at 5:30pm, keep your house brightly lit to create something of an illusion that it is still daytime. Your brain can trick you sometimes, and if your house is dark, you might find yourself getting tired and lethargic when you still have things that need to be done (like going to the NIFS fitness center and working out).

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There are plenty of benefits to sticking to your exercise routine through the winter. You will get to eat some holiday food without feeling quite so much guilt. You will stay ahead of the fitness curve while others fall off the tracks. You can use your New Year’s resolution(s) for something other than your fitness goals, because you haven’t broken stride and you’re already well on your way to achieving them.

So when Old Man Winter comes knocking on the door, you can leave a note saying “I’m at NIFS! Try again later!”

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This blog was written by Aaron Combs, NSCA CSCS and Health/Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: motivation goals winter morning workouts