Well, here we are, friends…WINTER..and with old man Winter comes struggles of motivation that many of us can relate to. If you struggle with tiredness and feeling blah during the cold months, know that you are not alone. It is common, even proven, that people tend to become sluggish during the winter months. During this time it is easy to give in to those sluggish feelings and give up on your fitness goals. And where there is a temptation there is comfort! Holiday goodies and comfort food are literally around every corner during this time of year. Chunky clothes and cuddly sweaters are so forgiving and allow us to hide the extra fluff under their warm, cozy layers. Lol (#Guilty) But in due time, Winter will come to an end and many will begin the vicious cycle of self-sabotage and yoyo dieting as the warmer months approach. Let’s face it, the holiday season throws us off our health game entirely! With our to-do-lists growing more than usual and motivation becoming even harder to find, committing to staying healthy during the holiday season can seem impossible. So today I am here to offer a few practical tips to help save your fitness progress during these treacherous, winter months!
Here are 5 ways to stay motivated during this holiday season!
1- Exercise First Thing in the Morning
This is the biggest favor you can do for yourself! Yes, I’ll admit, it may be hard to find motivation during the A.M. some days if you are not a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed individual during the mornings. But knocking out your workout first thing in the morning makes it much harder for you to avoid it or to procrastinate getting it done. In return, it makes it so worth it to get a good jump start on your day. Research continues to show that completing your “harder” tasks first contributes to a more productive day. Sticking to a morning routine, conquering your workout before the day begins, and not allowing yourself to become entangled in a snowball of excuses throughout the day…these are the doable tasks that will help you see the daily progress you are so badly yearning for!
2- Consistency Over Perfection
One bad day doesn’t equal a bad life unless you let it. One bad day is just one bad day. It drives me crazy that people have to go from one extreme to the other. If you are not able to get in your workout one day… don’t throw ‘’the baby with the bathwater’’. Don’t give up the entire goal over ONE DAY. We are human and humans are not perfect! Instead of giving up for the rest of the week…start fresh again the next day. We are looking for consistency here, not perfection!
3- Plan ahead
Have you ever heard of the old saying ‘’fail to prepare, prepare to fail’’? EXACTLY! This is the very habit that will cause you to fall flat on your face if you neglect it. I know that sounds harsh, but in a moment of unpreparedness, it is likely that you will throw your hands in the air due to the lack of convenience. It is a weakness that most of us suffer from. The way to outsmart that weakness is to PLAN AHEAD! Plan your meals, workouts, even the outfit you are going to wear for the workout. Set up your workout area the night before, pack your lunch the night before, leave a spare change of gym clothes at work, and even create a go-to playlist that will motivate you the morning of. If you feel yourself making excuses simply because of an inconvenience in your routine, don’t. Take that as an opportunity to learn where you need to prepare and plan ahead! The fewer decisions you have to make on the fly, the more likely you will stay on track!
4-Say NO or Ask For Help
The holiday season is notorious for bringing on feelings of stress and overwhelm. For whatever reason, it is so easy to fall victim to this magical idea of seasonally glittered, perfection, and the fear of missing out (the famous FOMO)! We feel that we HAVE to take our children to every Christmas lighting within a 50 miles radius or we think we aren’t good parents. We must volunteer to make multiple homemade dishes for each work, school, and family gathering or we’re Scrooges. Our homes must be decorated into Winter wonderlands the moment the calendar hits December, if not beforehand! This is a time of the year where we allow ourselves to be pulled in all directions. We overcommit and over-complicate so much rather than slowing down long enough to realize that for every “yes”…in return, we are saying “no” to something else. I want you to ask yourself if the “no” to downtime, rest, and soaking up quality time with our loved ones was worth the “yes” to live up to everyone else’s unrealistic expectations. And the “no” to continuing on with the routines that make you happy and healthy..was it worth the “yes” to stress and overwhelm for things you truly don’t care about? We are often so busy trying to be everything to everyone that many times what gets pushed last in the list of priorities is… well.. US. So please, this year, don’t be afraid to set boundaries and say “no” to the things that drain you. In order for you to say “yes” to the things that truly matter.
5- Find an Accountability partner
Even if it is a virtual one! I know we are living during odd times, but even so, the benefits of having that social support are so evident! Research proves that we are far more likely to succeed with the support and motivation of others. For some, this may boil down to the fact that they will do everything within their might to avoid failing publicly. For others, they simply need that feel-good team approach to feel accomplished in their goals. Whichever it is, you will most likely push yourself harder and remain more accountable to your own goals simply by being there for someone else. In addition, being open and vulnerable with another person during this fitness journey will help you conquer each goal! I can attest to the crazy amount of success that I have seen when my clients began to engage and support one another. If you are looking for support in this area, please know you are welcome to join us at the Mother Strong League, as well as my Facebook group Fit Moms & Healthy Bumps. We are in this together!
6- Get a KILLER Playlist
No, it is not all in your head! Music does make a difference…a big difference! Studies show that music not only distracts you from discomfort during a workout, it actually improves your mood and ability to crush the workout! So beforehand when I brought up preparing a playlist for the following morning..this is exactly why I am circling back to this! No exaggeration, psychology research literally proves that music improves human existence. Wouldn’t you want to inject that into your fitness routine? I think so! I recommend preparing a playlist for each mood. Sometimes we want to hear upbeat, fast, fun, party-like James for HIT training. Maybe even emotional music for running. Other times we may want to jam to angry, rock-like music to hype up our aggression when pumping iron. Whatever type of music gets your endorphins jumping, I recommend you create your own ultimate playlist!
7- Set Realistic Goals For this Short Season
I am your biggest fan! I want to cheer you on constantly! And I am a big fan of big goals… heck, I won the biggest and most prestigious bodybuilding competition in the world. So yes, I know a thing or two about craving those big goals myself. BUT, I think these types of goals have a place and time. Guys, the holiday season of 2020 certainly is not a time to be expecting to lose 30lbs in 2 weeks! LOL. I say that not because I don’t believe in you, but because I want you to continue to believe in yourself. I don’t want you to become so attached to an unrealistic goal that you think you will never reach your ultimate goal. At least for now, set yourself up for success by setting micro-goals..one step at a time! And be proud of your micro-goals!
We Are Cut From the Same Cloth! You are enough!
Lastly, I would like to open your eyes to a myth that you most likely believe. Listen to me carefully…there is nothing wrong with you! Often people think they are the only ones struggling with a certain weakness. When in reality, often these weaknesses are shared by many others. Some have found a way to be successful in spite of those same weaknesses, and some are drowning with those same weaknesses. What I want you to understand is that most “fit people” (myself included) are not motivated all day, every day. Please know that motivation is a struggle for many people of all shapes and sizes. Often motivation only shows up eagerly from time to time! But what gives me and my clients results is creating habits that will hold us accountable even when motivation is gone. So there you have it, the real secret sauce to success with your fitness goals!
I know this time of year can be tough for many of us! So I plan to do my best to show a little extra support throughout the month of December. If you are interested in learning more about healthy living and gaining more practical tips, I would like to invite you to my FREE program I will be doing called 12 days of Fitmas, in honor of the holiday season.