How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise in Cold Season

 

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Getting up before dawn to get a good run in is a pain and requires a lot of willpower to get up from a snugly warm bed. Come winter time, it’s triple the effort just to roll out of bed, lace up, and grudgingly make your way to your running route. The average Joe would question your sanity of foregoing some extra nice warm Zzzs in favour of freezing out in the cold.

Average Joe, however, is missing the point. Exercise hits two birds…keeping warm and keeping fit. Don’t throw away months of a good fitness routine just because it’s a little bit more difficult to get that discipline down pat during the cold season. Step up your game, maintain, or shift gears to something else. The important thing is, keep that motivation to move, move, move! And here’s how…

Suit Up Good

It’s different in the summer when a thin shirt, shorts, and a good pair of shoes are all you need to hit the road. Winter demands piling on more sportswear to help you battle the chilly elements of outdoor workouts. Invest in good, warm gear like a warm track jacket, full length running tights, a cosy cap, gloves, and other clothing if you are an outdoor runner or sportsman. Knowing you can get toasty from the get-go makes outdoor workouts not such a bad deal.

Workout Indoors

Outdoor exercise still too unpalatably cold for you? Workout indoors instead. Drive to a gym or more economically, turn your living space into a workout floor. Tabata workouts and other HIITs (High Intensity Interval Training) can be as strenuous as a run. You can round out your indoor interval trainings with yoga to enhance your fitness regimen.

Do Something New

If running or brisk walking has been your go-to fitness activity, it may be time to switch gears and do something new. Learning a new sport or workout goes a long way into keeping your interest to lace up and brace the cold. Go with the freezing flow and learn a winter sport or do a different cardiovascular exercise such as boxing. Aside from putting on a new spin to your fitness program, changing your workout routine offers new challenges to help keep your body from plateauing.

Buddy Up

As the Beatles sang true with “I get by with a little help from my friends,” consider buddying up or two. Better yet, form a workout group. There is nothing like a friend or a bunch of them hollering to get your lazy winter bones off that cosy couch in the cold months. It works most of the time, unless everyone starts copping out. Then, you’ll have to lead the fray. Either way, you get your motivation.

Reward Yourself

Just hitting the road under a frigid temperature is testament to your discipline and commitment to fitness. Reward yourself a little when you’ve done more than you usually do. A hot latte, a nice warm bagel, or a new sports top, why not? What more motivation do we need when a dangling reward is at the end of a “well done” rod? Work hard; play a little but not too much. <wink!>

Sign Up for a Competition

Taking on a huge goal like a competition will definitely rev up your motivation, cold weather be damned. You have a compelling reason to train so this in itself might be all you need to amp up your workout in the cold season. One thing’s for sure, ramping your calorie burning furnace will definitely keep you all trim and toasty while your couch-loving, weight-gaining friends are freezing their toes off.

Doll Up in New Workout Gear

You know that cute jacket looks smashing on you. Why not indulge a little and put some snazz into your workout wear? If you know you look good, you’ll be better motivated to show off yourself on the road or at the gym. If motivation like that works for you, by all means indulge. Thumbs up for adding some style to health and fitness.

Waste Not, Want Not

If all these reasons aren’t compelling enough to motivate you to keep up your fitness program, think of next season. Would you actually want all the hard work of the previous season go down the drain just because you can’t muster enough discipline to see it through hard times? When the next warmer season rolls out, you’ll find that all that stamina and muscle wasted on lolling about all winter long have petered down to half of what you had. Now you’ve got to start at half mast or Heaven forbid, from scratch!

Staying fit during the cold season dispels the winter blues and gets you ship-shape for bikini season. If you just can find the fun in the cold, it will make working out much less of a chore.

It’s a no pain, no gain world. Buckle down and get on maintaining or working out harder during the cold season. You won’t regret your monumental efforts.

 

 

 

 

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How to Get Your Motivation Back

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Everyone gets into a slump and even the most inspired do have their moments. If your motivation flags or you just cannot seem to muster half the zeal you had when you started a project, then perhaps these steps can help you get off that downhill drive and up back on track.

Find Out Why You Are in a Slump

The Halfway Through Syndrome

You’ve been so fired up at the beginning of your project; but midway, those little voices of doubt are starting to make more sense. Midway through the road towards your goal is the most difficult part to be in. You have to slug through the morass of self-doubt and what-ifs. Burdensome questions like “Why am I doing this?;” “Is it worth it?;” and “What have I really accomplished so far?” often drains our motivation with negative thoughts.

You need a big dose of positivity to fire you up again. Because second guessing yourself is taking a toll on your convictions, you need to remind yourself what got you into pursuing your goal in the first place. Write down that goal and the reasons why it is worth the challenge. Tape it up in places to put you on a one track mind…achieving the prize.

Physically on Low Batteries

Your slump may have nothing to do with rethinking your goal. Your body may just be exhausted so that emotionally you’re in the doldrums as well. Be honest and take a good look at what you’ve been doing. Have you been eating a balanced diet? Have you been getting enough resting hours and sleeping at the right time? Have you been sitting more than standing everyday for the past months? If you have not been taking care of yourself recently, it is no wonder that your mind does not feel up to any challenges. The mind-body connection is strong so if your physical batteries are on an all-time low, don’t be surprised if your emotional and mental energies need a recharge as well.

Flagging Self-Confidence

Tasks or obstacles out of your comfort zone can sink your confidence and start you on a boatload of negative thoughts. If you must meet the obstacle, find out how you can meet it head-on or how to deal with it in a way that will get you closer to the endgame while boosting your confidence along the way. Take your fear by the horns and do something about it because cowering and stagnation will definitely get you nowhere near your goal nor improve your self image.

Analyse your negative thoughts about your capabilities. Do these stem from other people’s comments? Were they making constructive criticisms? Do you feel that making a mistake far outweighs learning from it? Remember, we need to make a leap into the unknown sometimes because we need the experience for our wisdom and to add to our capacity of achieving our goal.

Eyeing an Unpalatable Task

Half the fun of working towards a goal is overcoming the stumbling blocks. Every time you get one over those humps, it makes you feel you have achieved something. With this in mind, get off procrastinating and on to that task you are grimacing over so you can get moving again toward your aim. For instance, if you have a weight loss plan which includes an exercise regimen, have a buddy or two to get you lacing up your shoes at the crack of dawn, even you’re no morning person yet. Then work on your early bird habits so this unpalatable task of waking up early in the morn will soon turn out to be a welcome habit.

Once you have identified your slumps, you can pick up your motivation further by…

Researching On How to Achieve that Goal

Others have probably walked your path and know what obstacles are bound to be or are already in your way. Why not get as much information as you can so you do not have to take the longer route of making too many preventable mistakes? Learning about other people’s travails while on a similar goal trek may help you manage your expectations and revise how you need to go about with your plan. Information may help you prepare emotionally and intellectually to handle common problems so that the getting there wouldn’t be so difficult as it may seem to be.

Doing Small Tasks First to Get Things Going

Still in a slump? Perhaps doing the little things first may cause the rest to follow. If your New Year’s resolution of reorganizing your entire house is leaving you feeling presently overwhelmed, why not start working on a small space first? Take mini steps before drawing out the big guns. Perhaps you can start cleaning out the kitchen counter and cabinets. Seeing these spaces clean and organized may help you feel some achievement which can fire you up for more cleaning and organizing. Pretty soon, you have got your entire place cleaned, organized, and maybe even redecorated just because you broke down your big goal into small, achievable tasks.

Every time you set out to achieve something, there will always be people or situations that will pose as impediments. Have a mindset of perseverance to minimize the times when motivation deserts you. When in a slump, fight the negativity by remembering the above tips and more. Perseverance will take you by the hand toward success.

Of Negative Thoughts and Letting Go

 

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“We are what we think.

All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts we make the world.

Speak or act with an impure mind

And trouble will follow you

As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart…

….Your worst enemy cannot harm you

As much as your own thoughts, unguarded….”

~Dhammapada The Buddha

The only worst enemy you have against reaching your goals is yourself. Yes, no one can put you down except your own negative thoughts and beliefs. A negative outlook on life blocks people from believing in themselves and going after their success. Negativity more often than not leads down the road to unhappiness and failure, all results from limiting beliefs and fear of trying.

Sure, you may blame family, friends, and your environment for shaping the negative thinker that you are; still, you have the choice whether to remain so or start developing yourself into a more positive can-do achiever.

What Causes Negative Thinking and Emotions?

Your milieu could be the root of your negative attitudes.

Negative family

A family whose members hardly see the positive side of things make it difficult to be around them and not think the same way. A lonely grandmother who complains about life now compared to 40 years ago and a father who whines about your choice of career may indeed leave you upset, anxious, and stressed out.

The truth of the matter here is that you cannot control how they feel and see life. You may show them a different perspective; but in the end, it is their choice whether to fall back on the same negative patterns or to take your lead.

The best way to stay on the road of positivity is to create space. You may opt to live away and simply visit. If this is not feasible yet, you must change your reaction to them by making a conscious effort of not reacting negatively in kind. Be aware of yourself so you can break habitual negative responses to their provocations and set some necessary boundaries. If your family member needs to get some counselling, encourage that he does so, if possible.

Negative friends

If one is already surrounded by family negativity, it seems illogical to surround oneself with friends who limit him. Unfortunately many people, despite living with a negative family, tend to gravitate toward other negative people.

Most of the time, we can control who we want to spend our time with. Friends with negative attitudes only reinforce our own; so, the best thing is to look for friends who make us see the more positive side of possibilities out there.

Negative environment / Unsatisfying Life Circumstances

Unfortunate life circumstances or less than satisfying living conditions naturally enforce one’s negative perception of the world. The truth is one has the power to change his circumstances and consequently better his environment.

Negative Thoughts that Spawn Negative Emotions

Common self-limiting thoughts brought about by negative influences from one’s environment:

Constant comparison of self with others

While it is alright to check where others are so you can form some idea of your progress, it is not worth obsessively comparing yourself to anyone and then beating yourself up for not measuring up. Your circumstances are different from other people’s; so if you want to compare, compare your present self with your past self. If you have improved, reward yourself for it.

Needing approval of others

It is a natural social inclination for a person to want approval from his peers. Problem is, if you focus on what other people think of you, you limit yourself from pursuing your passions and goals by failing to do what is necessary but not popular. In the end, you do not accomplish anything plus you may have to live with the regret of not having the gall to listen to yourself.

Getting stuck in the past

Getting mired in past mistakes is a no-win situation if you do not learn from them or right your wrongs. Mistakes are part of the learning process and should be viewed as lessons, not failures.

Underestimating yourself

Think you do not stand the chance of being accepted in that dream job, even if you have as much skill and experience as others? You will prove yourself right if you think this way. If you do not have the confidence that you can do the job, other people won’t be convinced you are qualified at all. Believing in yourself and in your skills and abilities will show in your behaviour which will persuade others to also see you, your way. Conversely, thinking other people are better will certainly make them agree with that thought too.

There are many other negative thoughts that damage our opportunities and limit our potentials. We need to be highly aware of them so we can purge ourselves of these which serve us no good.