Ways to stay motivated during the winter months

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If you’ve clicked to read this post, chances are you are already struggling to stay motivated during the winter months, or have done in past years.

Maybe you’ve noticed a sense of melancholy now the night’s are drawing in? Or, you struggle to get out of bed in the dark and cold and just don’t seem to have the same get up and go as you used to?

Or, you notice you have a persistent low mood during the winter months which are often signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Whatever the reason for your lack of enthusiasm, we’ve some simple tips on how to stay motivated during the winter months that might not get you leaping out of bed like a kid at Christmas, but will help you achieve whatever your goals are with work, health or personal life.

Create a new winter routine

Part of the problem with the winter months is we expect our bodies and brains to behave exactly the same as during summer, which is unrealistic if you think about how most other mammals change their routines when the temperature drops and hours of daylight decrease.

Action: Take a look at your routine and adapt it accordingly. You might need to move some activities to earlier in the day to make the most of your energy.

Mini goals and major rewards

Setting goals is a great way of staying motivated as it gives you something to work towards. However, too many or too big goals can feel overwhelming and be counter-productive, and with no tangible reward other than achieving it, you’re more likely to make excuses.

Action: Choose one thing you’d like to achieve in winter and then break that goal down into small steps, in order of action. Then assign a major reward for achieving all of those steps and reaching your big goal.

Find some accountability

Whilst we’re talking of goals, it’s all very well declaring to ourselves what we’re going to achieve but we’re much more likely to let ourselves off the hook than someone else.

Action: Find someone to hold you accountable to your goal and action steps, and set up regular check ins with them to update them on progress. Whilst you’re at it, why not make your goal public? It’s so much harder to backtrack on something if people are relying on you or know it’s happening.

Go green

According to scientists, experiencing more of the colour green can help you stay happy and motivated compared to other colours.

Action: Expose yourself to some greenery (like going for a walk in the woods or park) or wear the colour green to psychologically boost your spirits.

Do something summery

In winter, we reminisce about how much easier it is to stay motivated when the sun is shining and it’s warm outside. Instead of just talking about the summer months, try doing something you associate with summer to trick your brain into the state of mind you experience during that season. It could be as simple as listening to your summer playlist.

Action: Make a list of things you love doing in the summer. Pick one thing to experience regularly or, why not build it in as a reward for hitting your mini goals and staying motivated?

See the sky, every lunchtime

Forgo the temptation to hibernate like a grizzly bear and get some daylight. Vitamin D is produced by our skin when it comes into contact with sunlight high in the sky. Whilst in the winter, the angle of the sun is lower, limiting the effects on vitamin D production, if you go out near midday you’ll still get the benefit.

See the big picture

When we see the winter months laid out in front of us on paper, it’s easier to see that procrastinating because its winter will take a massive chunk of time out of the year as a whole.

Action: Print off a monthly calendar for November – February and keep it somewhere you’ll see each day to remind you that if you lack motivation during those four months, that’s a third of the year you’re throwing away.

Over to you 

Do you have any tips to share with us to help you stay motivated during the winter months? Share them in the comments below.

Jen Smith coaches entrepreneurs in social media.

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