• Many of us struggle to find the motivation to work out, especially in the winter; however, it is possible to implement an effective plan for working out during this cold season.
  • First, you should build your exercise plan into your schedule—instead of loosely saying you’ll exercise today, block out a specific window of time for exercising.
  • Also, wear something you feel good in: something that enhances your workout as well as something that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
  • If you like working out with others, find a workout partner—this could be a friend, a trainer, or even your kids! Working out with someone will make it more enjoyable and keep you accountable.
  • Finally, get a little creative and make your exercise time fun: find a specific workout you truly enjoy and look forward to.

Many of us hate working out… many of us also plan to work out more in the new year. However, now that the days are shorter and colder, we’re even less excited and less likely to make it happen. It’s like a game of tug-of-war—except we’re standing at both ends, battling to stay inside in the warmth as well as battling to keep our resolution of becoming more active. So, what’s the solution?

Your physical and mental health are incredibly important, and they often need a little extra care during the cold winter months. For this reason, it’s important we shake the inclination to stay in bed and come up with an effective plan for exercising, which comes with a wealth of benefits for our overall wellbeing. Jennifer Jakobsen, master social worker and integrative life coach, is here to help us understand and implement this plan:

Block Out a Specific Window for Exercise

Jakobsen’s first tip is to block out a specific timeframe for your exercise routine. Plan it into your schedule, instead of flippantly saying you’ll find some time to hit the gym tomorrow. “We need to put exercise on our agenda! If at all possible, make it the first thing you do,” she says. “We have a greater chance of working out if we do it in the morning. Even if you are cozy and warm, remind yourself that you just need to get started and you will feel great.”

If working out in the morning sounds like something you can manage, by all means, make this your routine. As Jakobsen explained, we’re more likely to get things done if we don’t give ourselves time to make up excuses. However, if you’re one (of many) who can’t bear to wake up any earlier to fit in a workout before work, build it into a different part of your day. You could try a lunchtime workout, or make a beeline to your gym straight after work. It’s all about finding what works best for you and what your schedule allows.

Dress for Success

Another hack is to wear clothes that you’re proud of or excited about during your workout. Haven’t you heard the saying, “Look good feel good?” Jakobsen explains: “Nice clothes can encourage you to work out. Just like you can’t wait to wear that new dress to dinner for your Friday night date, you are more likely to look forward to your workout if you have some clothes you are excited to wear. Make sure you lay them out the night before so you have a visual cue to remind yourself that this is the new you!”

Laying out your workout clothes beforehand will also help to ensure you get the job done and work out before you make any excuses. It makes your job easier—and once you have those workout clothes on, what are the odds you skip your workout? They’re much smaller, as you’ll likely say to yourself, “I’m already ready, let’s just get this done now!”

Phone a Friend

Some of us would rather work out alone, but others need that extra motivation and accountability. If you’re the latter, find a workout buddy to exercise with. This proved helpful to Jakobsen who always despised going to the gym… especially in the winter. “I was completely unmotivated to go and really had no idea what to do once I got there. After making some friends who shared my goals of being more fit, I became a regular,” she says. “If none of your friends are into being healthier, recruit your dog or your kids. My kids love it if we just hang out at home, crank up the music, and dance. Now that exercise has become a habit for me, I don’t need my buddies anymore for motivation, but I still try and exercise with friends when I can. It’s just nice to have the company.” Clearly, making your workouts a social activity comes with many benefits:

  • You get to spend time with your friends or family
  • Your person(s) will keep you accountable
  • You’ll feel more motivated and excited to complete your workout
  • You’ll experience a boost in your mental, emotional, and physical health

Prioritizing Fun and Creativity

Finally, make your workouts fun, even if it takes a little innovative thinking. Nobody ever said exercising had to be a drag—if you incorporate things you enjoy into your routine then odds are you’ll start to enjoy your workout. “Even if you hate exercising, try and combine it with something you love to help get you started,” Jakobsen suggests. “For example, in the beginning since I love to read, I would ride the bike at the gym and read a book. I wasn’t working very hard back then, but it got me going. Now, I listen to books on my phone since I am working a bit harder now. Some people love music. If you are a competitive person, make it a contest. Whatever makes it more fun will keep you engaged.”

Sometimes it’s just as simple as finding a form of exercise that you like. If you aren’t fond of going to the gym, try classes at home in your own living room. If you like to dance, check out local dance studios. If you’re in love with the outdoors, build your workout routine around exercises you can perform outside—like running, hiking, or exploring a new trail with your dog. Remember: it’s all about finding what works best. The ultimate key to success is experimenting and capitalizing on what proves effective for you.