Finding your motivation to stay active during the winter is no easy task. Between the small window of daylight hours, cold temperatures, and post holiday humdrums, getting yourself off your cozy couch takes more effort than it does in the more temperate months.
Enter the Post-Season Goal.
Setting a fitness goal for the spring can be just the commitment you need to hold yourself accountable through the dark cold days to come. Here are some ideas:
Sign up for a Race
Whether you’re a seasoned runner signing up for a marathon, or a walker looking to complete a 5K, putting money down and having a race on your calendar will get you into an “I’m in training” mindset.
I’ve done this twice; a January marathon (in Baton Rogue, I’m not too crazy!), and a late April half. Of course there were days I didn’t want to head out for a long run in cold temps, or speedwork on the treadmill, but my very next thought was that if I slacked now, that race was going to suuuuck!
I suggest making this enough of a stretch goal that you’ll have to train, otherwise you’ll convince yourself you’ll be OK if you blow off your training. You don’t need to gun for a best time or longest distance, but have a goal that makes you work for it.
Set a Physique Goal
Typically I discourage my clients from focusing too much on weight, but pairing it with another form of measurement, like inches, can be a way to keep yourself mindful of what you put in your body and how you move your body these next couple months.
Another strategy is to take photos of yourself – from the front and side – in either a bathing suit or underwear (no one has to see these but you!) at the start of winter and set a date to retake photos in March. A lot of times we don’t see the number on the scale change, but we can see physical changes (measurements will show these as well).
Whether you’re looking to maintain or lose, photos and inches will tell you how you did, even if you’re the only one looking at the results.
Commit to a Physical Challenge
You can challenge yourself or others, but either way I suggest making it public to at least one other person. A solo challenge typically requires a person to have a higher level of self-accountability, but often telling someone else or making it public on Facebook is all they need! Here are some ideas:
- Increase the amount of push-ups or burpees you can do in a minute (set a reach goal number).
- Be able to hold a plank or wall sit XX seconds longer.
- Get a workout in XX days a week.
- Workout for XX minutes a day.
- Try 2 new fitness classes each month.
Or you can join or create a challenge among friends/family/coworkers:
- Who can lose the most inches (ratio).
- As a team, how many minutes of exercise can you hit a week.
- How many days can everyone on your team exceed their step goal.
- Who can set a personal fitness goal that week (run a mile faster or further, do more pushups, go over their step goal, etc.).
Challenges – solo or group – are will get your competitive side in action and your focus on something larger than simply staying active. Plus, they’re fun! Come up with a prize for each challenge you do with a group (doesn’t have to be expensive, it could even be bragging rights or a silly trophy), or a reward for yourself if you meet your solo challenge. Keep the rewards food-free like a massage or new headphones or workout clothes.
Above all, keep in mind the main goal is to keep moving. I hope some of these ideas inspire some fun into your fitness, and help mix things up this winter!
Which one will you try?