If you live on the east coast, winter is here and has been hitting hard the past few weeks. In fact, the arctic swell has kept temperatures 20-30 degrees below average vs. recent years. With winter in full swing, the “winter blues” are more real than ever and it can be tough to get (and stay) motivated. So, based on my experience and some third-party research, here are 6 ways to stay motivated over the next couple of months:
Embrace the cold
- About 3 weeks ago, a buddy of mine told me about the Wimhof Method. At first, I thought it was a little crazy, but after doing some research, it seemed he was onto something. If you haven’t heard of it, The Wimhof method is a combination of daily breathing exercises and exposure to cold elements. It’s said to provide a number of benefits including increased energy, better sleep, heightened focus & determination, improved sports performance, reduced stress levels, greater cold tolerance, faster recovery and enhanced creativity. That’s A LOT of claims, so of course, I had to try it out. I can honestly say it’s done wonders throughout these brutally cold days. It’s improved my mood, energy levels and heightened my focus. The best part, it only takes about 10 minutes to complete. Tactical takeaways: Watch the video below to understand how it works. It’s essentially breathing deep and holding your breath for a number of minutes, followed by a cold shower for 3-5 minutes. It’s not going to be easy to start, especially in this weather, but give it 2-3 weeks and you’ll be reaping the benefits.
Build a network of like-mindedpeople
- The benefits of having a like-minded network are massive no matter what time of year. Like-minded communities offer you support and guidance, hold you accountable for your actions and speak a common language. A study published in the Journal of Social Sciences found that individuals gravitate towards the exercise behaviors of those around them. This concept can be applied to professional and personal verticals alike. Especially in the winter, when it can be harder to get motivated, these networks become even more important. Tactical takeaways: If you don’t already have a network, take some time to narrow your interests that you’d like to build a network around. Once you narrow in, search for people that share your interests on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram) and reach out. It’s that simple. Most people enjoy talking about their interests with others and are open to networking further.
Set big goals, build a plan
- If you didn’t read the goal setting playbook, specific and challenging goals lead to higher performance than easy goals. During this time of year, you should set high targets to get you out of bed in the morning. They can’t just be “I want to lose weight” or “I want to to save more” … They need to be actionable enough to measure progress. Also, most people are obsessed with the result, often to the detriment of following the right process. Process is everything. The tactics you develop will separate success from failure. Especially during a time of year when it’s easy to get taken off track. Tactical takeaways: Set specific goals, then setup a planning session at least once a week. This will allow you to review your progress and alter your plan as needed.
Get the right gear
- The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that clothing influences behavior and attitudes because it carries a symbolic meaning. So, what you wear subconsciously changes how you act. This is why getting some new gear may motivate you to perform at a higher level in the gym or workplace. Tactical takeaways: Figure out where you’re lacking the most motivation and invest in some new digs, whether it’s gym clothes or a suit upgrade. Be aware of how it makes you feel, and if it’s spiking your mood and performance, set a budget that will you allow you to continue to build your closet (responsibly) over time.
Update your playlists
- Music and mood are inherently linked. Research has shown that listening to music can change the way you view the world, but listening to the same upbeat music over-and-over can become frustrating and boring (I know it has for me recently). So, in the winter months, try to change your playlist and listen to music you may not be familiar with. Tactical takeaways: Take some time to build a few playlists for the next few weeks. You can build 4-5 in a matter of an hour. If you’re too lazy, I built one to get you started:
Hydrate and get as much light as possible
- What many people don’t realize is that it’s as easy to become dehydrated in the winter as it is in summer. It’s also often harder to recognize the signs of dehydration in winter. Also, with the time changes, the less sunlight we see in the winter months, the more likely we are to develop the winter blues. Getting optimal sunlight and staying hydrated are key to keeping energy and mood levels high, so make sure you prioritize the two. Tactical takeaways: Upon wakeup, drink 8-12 ounces of water immediately, then try to get a 1/2-1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 150 pounds, this means 75-150 ounces a day. Also, try to get sunlight whenever you can, whether that means going for a walk mid-day or taking a short trip somewhere.
The winter months can take their toll, but making a few small changes can increase your motivation to perform at the levels you normally do throughout the year. Embrace the cold, build your network, set goals, dress the part, update your music and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Summer will be here before you know it.
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