How to increase exercise motivation in winter

Do you struggle to get the motivation to exercise in the winter?  Before you beat yourself up, learn more about why you might be struggling to get motivated to exercise.

You intend to exercise. Honestly you really do. You made that promise to yourself that you’ll do it tomorrow.

Increase exercise motivation

Tomorrow comes along with crisp, chilly, dark mornings and children that need you, not to forget your job which takes up most of the day, and then there’s still task after task lurking like a heavy weight on your to do list. Before you know it, the day is nearly over and there is still stuff to do. You fall into a heap on the couch, tired, exhausted and disappointed in yourself, because yet again you skipped your exercise session.  You find every excuse under the sun to justify yourself. You were busy, there was no time, you were just so tired and worn out. But underneath the excuses you’re feeling irritated.  You don’t understand why it’s just so hard.  The crazy thing is you thought about it, you had every intention to do it, but somehow you still never get around to it.

If you’re nodding in agreement saying this sounds like me then I have good news for you.  First up, you are definitely not alone, this is a common pattern.  Secondly, there are many busy people with the same 24 hours in a day as you who are almost always motivated to exercise. Why is it that it seems to be easy for these people to get motivated? What have they got that you haven’t got?  

Let me tell you a secret. They know how to access their motivation. And you can too. You can use a process to access yours. You see the first step is knowing that the motivation you seek is already within you. That's right, it is already there, just waiting like the simmering embers of a fire, waiting for you to give it the fuel to set your motivation ablaze.  

Let’s get to it then, how can you find the motivation you are so desperately searching for. Here are 5 steps to access and fire up your exercise motivation and move you away from excuses to ensure you don’t end up feeling out of shape, unfit and in panic mode looking for another weight loss program or weight loss diet by the time spring rolls around.



1. Set an exciting intention to exercise

You must have an inspiring, meaningful purpose within that drives your action. When you have a powerful purpose behind your action, that is the fuel to the fire.  So what’s driving you? Why is it important to you to exercise? Is it to stay in shape, to get that body you keep dreaming of, perhaps to manage your stress levels, to have some time out for yourself, to be a better parent/partner/wife because when you exercise you’re more level headed and calm, or do you want to be a positive role model to your children. This reason is highly individual to you.  You absolutely must have a meaningful reason. If you don’t, you simply won’t have the fuel and drive to sustain the exercise habit in the long-term.

2. Make exercise a priority

When something is important and has purpose you make it a priority. What are you willing to gain as a result of regular exercise? Increased energy, confidence and vitality. Feeling better about yourself, being a calmer, happier parent, wife or partner? Are you willing to commit to yourself and do what it takes to fit exercise into your life, simply because it is a priority and it matters? This needs to be a screaming, YES, no questions asked YES.  If not go back to the first step, journal, brainstorm figure out what outcome you simply can't live without to drive your exercise motivation. Alternatively you can work with a coach to clear away what is holding you back, if you're frustrated with finding yourself repeating the same yo-yo patterns and struggling to make lasting changes. You can find out more about how I can help you with this HERE.

Your reason and purpose must be strong enough that you are willing to commit, step up and do what it takes. Which doesn't sound so bad when it’s for a reason that excites and inspires you to enhance and improve your life! If you have a definite yes at this step move on to step 3.

Awesome, so now you have a bigger purpose driving you, you've established why it’s important and you've made a decision to commit. Great, now it’s time to create an action plan. This is about being creative and solution focused rather than problem or excuse focused. You have established this is a priority, so it’s time to make a plan.

3. Schedule time to exercise

Pull out your calendar and schedule time each day of the week that you are going to exercise. If it’s not scheduled then it’s less likely to happen when you have other competing priorities. Be realistic. How many days are you going to schedule for the next week? Aim smaller if you have to. Make it achievable and realistic. Do it now. Schedule it into your phone or Google calendar or print out and use this free calendar HERE.

4. Get social, find some exercise buddies

Get accountable. Winter is a great time to find a training buddy or group.  This is one of the best ways to keep you to your exercise plan during times when you are tired and just don’t want to do it. This was and still is a key factor in my success, when I was training consistently through winter last year for my first half ironman triathlon in Spring. Find a way.  If you don’t have people around you that like to exercise then find some. Be solution focused, rather than excuse focused. Put it out there and start your own group it might be just what your friends and/or family need – someone to take the lead.

5. Take action, unleash your motivation to exercise

Now is the time to break down and define your first action step. Work out what the very first step is that you can take. Then choose something that will trigger the start of the process.  Let me explain. If you want to exercise in the morning, commit only to the first step. As soon as the alarm goes off get straight up, stand up tall, chest open, shoulders back and take a deep breath. If you commit to just getting out of bed and doing this when your alarm goes off then it will be easier to take the next step required to get you out the door.  Another suggestion is to choose a song that motivates you. Play that as your alarm or in the car after work, or when you get home. Like with the alarm, set that song as the trigger, so that when it’s played your automatic reaction is to get you in the mood exercise.

Right, there you have it. You know how to access your inner motivation and take instant action.  So what are you waiting for? Take the steps now to access your motivation to exercise. You're letting yourself down by not connecting with your purpose, as without it, maintaining the exercise habit may become a chore and a bigger struggle than it has to be. Give it go and please share your insights below.