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How to Stay Motivated in the Cold Weather

woman starting her day with a cup of tea, looking out at the snowy weather
Look Studio/Shutterstock

If you find yourself plenty motivated in the warmth of summer but more than a bit lethargic once the cold weather comes, you’re certainly not alone. Here’s how to stay motivated through the cold.

That moment when you look outside your window and you can just feel the cold air wrapping itself all over your body, the wind swooshing around, and the sprinkling rain making everything wet and sticky. Yeah, all you want to do is cancel the day and go back to bed—we know, we’ve been there.

Unfortunately, there’s no winter-long holiday for us to hibernate straight through, so here’s how to stay motivated in the cold weather!

Love Your Mornings

Seriously. Create the best possible morning routine that will have you jump out of bed because you’re happy to savor every second of it. It might sound silly, but once you start doing it, you’ll get what we’re trying to say here. Put on your favorite song, brew yourself a cup of delicious coffee or tea, make your favorite breakfast, dance around the house, take your time to get ready—you won’t even notice the weather outside, let alone let it affect you.

Mornings set the tone for your day. Make it a period of mindfulness and enjoyment to prepare for the day.

Winter is coming, and with it, cold and damp weather. Unless you live in a place where winter doesn’t visit often, there’s nothing you can do to change it. Instead of waking up feeling miserable, change the narrative and make your morning routine something to look forward to every night when you go to sleep.

Write Motivational Post-It Notes. . .

screen capture from the show Being Mary Jane showing her and her Post It Note habit
BET

. . . and leave them all around the house. If you’ve ever watched the show Being Mary Jane, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The main character leaves Post-It notes near her bed, on her bathroom mirror, in her closet, on her fridge, the kitchen counter, near her entrance door—everywhere she’ll pass by during her morning routine. The notes serve as little reminders or mantras you can read every day or simply scan with your brain, knowing that deep inside, the information is stored.

The messages can be anything from motivational and inspirational quotes to trivia and interesting facts to funny memes and jokes that’ll make you laugh. You can also switch them up as often as you want, or simply add to the existing collection whenever you stumble upon something you believe is worth noting down. We should be thankful to the social media gods who make it so easy to find good quotes whenever we scroll on any platform.

Many journals and planners have quotes and facts scattered throughout their pages as their creators believe they will inspire, motivate, evoke certain feelings, and make people stop and think when they read them. If your planner doesn’t have that detail, add it in yourself and start your day by reading what you wrote. It has a really powerful impact and more times than not hits the right spot, no matter how difficult, busy, or tiring your day is.

Listen to Podcasts and Audiobooks

No matter how much we’d love to curl up and read a book, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or something that’s meant for self-development or to improve our career, many of us don’t (or feel we don’t) have the time to read. Or the energy. Or both. All of our lives are so fast-paced and filled with way too many to-do lists, events, meetings, and messages, many of us barely have the time to breathe.

Listening to podcasts and audiobooks is an amazing way to learn something new, hear experiences from other people, and feel like you did something meaningful. Rather than trying to finish that book you started months ago (and you simply cannot keep your eyes open when you grab it before bedtime), listen to an audiobook. Don’t feel guilty about it either: Audiobooks are just as good as regular books where it counts.

You can tune in while you drink your morning coffee or while driving your car to make your commute more bearable. However you choose, listening to someone talk about a topic you find interesting will keep you motivated even during the coldest of days.

Warm Up with Exercise

This one might be obvious, but exercising definitely makes our body temperature go up, and it’s therefore less likely we’ll find the cold, outside air as terrible as we thought. Exercise will also clear our head and bring a surge of fresh energy into our whole body, making it easier to tackle the day before us.

Go for a run, hit the gym, or get in a good hot yoga session. Whatever you do, enjoy it and push yourself to your limits. That’ll make for an amazing motivational boost!

Woman doing a backbend in the park during autumn
Karla Tafra

Show Up for Yourself

At the end of the day, ain’t nobody gonna motivate you but you. You need to make yourself a promise you’ll be willing to keep, and keep on pushing no matter how hard it gets. Willpower is all it takes. Challenge yourself, set small, attainable goals, and reward yourself every time you crush them.

Certain evidence suggests we’re not wired to keep our eyes on a long-term prize. “We respond a lot more readily to immediate rewards,” says Anne Wilson, a social psychology professor who studies motivation at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. This brings a feeling of accomplishment and success with every goal you complete, which can sustain your motivation in the long run.

For example, next time you procrastinate about going to your Soulcycle class, start with a 15-20 minute workout in your home gym. Slowly progress to 30 minutes in your local gym. Then finally take a full 45-minute Soulcycle class. Baby steps.

Enjoy the Winter Festivities

Certain things happen only during the cold season, so try to make the best of it and enjoy the magic moments. From Halloween and pumpkin patches to Christmas and all the fun snow activities, actively participating in everything the cold weather brings along makes it fun, exciting, and memorable.

Instead of dreading getting out in the morning, think about the gorgeous Christmas lights you’ll see on your way to work, or the golden leaves you’ll tread all over when you walk your dog or shop at the Farmer’s Market. ’Tis the season to be jolly after all!

Motivation is a funny word. Motivation comes and goes with the wind, and it might be a little tough to stimulate when the last signs of summer fade away. Nevertheless, the seasons must change, and if we’re always grumpy and unmotivated when it happens, so do we.