Cold, dark and motivated this winter

The days are getting shorter. The temperature is dropping. It may be raining and dreary now but soon those rain drops will be snowflakes and that puddle will be a pile to shovel. It seems so much nicer to stay in the warm bed, rather than touch that cold floor. That blanket can’t snuggle itself nor can that hot drink slurp itself. Not to mention the holiday parties, treats and seasonal responsibilities. Just when the weather makes you want to hunker down, your calendar fills with seasonal responsibilities. How do you stay motivated and moving toward your goals during winter? Whether you have fitness, health, career, financial or other goals, there are things you can do to keep your motivation up. Here are a few suggestions: Adjust the heat: Cold floors absolutely make it harder to leap out of bed and put on your running shoes or hit the spreadsheets – depending on your goal, of course. If you have a programable thermostat, set it to warm up a few degrees before your alarm goes off. Alternatively, ask someone in your house to turn it up when they get up. One year, I got up an hour before my wife. I turned up the heat after my shower so it was nice and warm when it was her turn to rise. If those aren’t options, make it a habit to turn up the heat right when you get up and then jump into a warm shower. By the time you get out, the floor will have warmed up a bit. Grab a hot tea or coffee and enjoy it. Focus on your milestones: If you have created a proper goal with an action plan, you have also created some milestones. Tighten up your milestone schedule to give yourself weekly or even daily milestones. Make sure they are obtainable. Push for those short term wins. They may be small by themselves but they add up quickly. Celebrate each and every win. Use triggers to remind yourself of your goal: If you are working this winter to earn a tropical trip this summer, use tropical music as your alarm, put up appropriate posters, change your screen saver, eat a pineapple, etc. Record a message to yourself about how important or great your goal is going to be. Email that message to yourself with a future delivery date. However you can, whenever you can, remind yourself that you have a long term goal that is worth the effort now. Brighten your life: The longer hours of darkness can really affect your mood. Invest in good lighting, especially for your morning routine. Take a sun break and sit by a window. Dress appropriately and get outside. The extra light, being outside and the movement will do wonders for your motivation. Enjoy the season: Winter brings many opportunities to get together with friends, neighbors, family and co-workers. Take advantage of those opportunities without guilt or reservation. Share some laughs and hear some stories. Tell people what your goals are. Ask them about their goals. Maybe even ask them to join you, lend a hand or give some advice. People are a wealth of information and motivation. Let them help you and be sure to help them whenever you can. Relax: You may miss a run because the cold. You may fill up with an extra 2000 calories on Thanksgiving. You may take a night off from your business. It is ok. Make that decision and own it. Today is a new day. Don’t take another day off today because you decided to take yesterday off. Don’t carry forward any guilt or self-doubt. We all have our moments to shine and our moments where we didn’t shine quite as bright. It is ok. It is human. Now go shine and brighten up your life and those lives around you.

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