I find that this is the time of the year that we all start to burrow; depending on how far north you are, it is actually getting cold. Frost and snow are making an appearance, the winds are a’whistling, and the heat might not be on everywhere. (Dear offices, please turn on your heat with Canadian Thanksgiving. That can be your tiny favour to us popsicles who are dying a slow, frozen death.) In addition to making a cinnamon bun-bed and burning through Netflix- we all need to rewatch Gilmore Girls before the premiere!!- we turn to comfort foods that keep us warm and cozy inside. All of this means that we start to exercise less and less while we prepare to hibernate- unfortunately, that isn’t the best for our bodies and health. So, what can you do to motivate yourself to move?
1. Continue to Set Goals For Yourself
Whether it is running an extra 5 minutes, lifting an extra 10 lbs, or conquering Dancer’s Pose for the first time, keep setting new fitness goals! Maybe there is a new exercise class at the gym that you have always wanted to try. Maybe you have never been able to complete that trail run on the elliptical. Maybe you just haven’t been getting to the gym or the studio or the room where you exercise. Give yourself a reason to make the trek to your space and to tear yourself away from Narcos! Set a realistic goal that you can attain in the autumn, and give yourself something to be proud of- any movement is an accomplishment!
2. Plan to Reward Yourself
In addition to your goal, plan a reward for reaching your goal! I personally would pick a somewhat related reward- perhaps you’ve had your eye on a tee from Lulu or crops from Athleta, or even one of those bizarrely expensive Swell water bottles (I don’t get the obsession, but anything that gets people drinking more water isn’t a terrible product.) You’ve been using the same yoga mat for four years and it’s looking worse for wear? Your gym bag has seen better days? Or maybe you have been wanting to try that local spa for months? When you achieve your goal, reward yourself! And maybe you don’t hit your goal in the time you want, but you still made improvements and got moving- that deserves recognition.
3. Get Creative With Your Workouts
We all get bored doing the same workouts over and over and over again- change it up! Try that 80s style step class at the gym that you’ve always chuckled at, run through a park instead of on the treadmill, or maybe try a fitness video on Youtube. Try something different, anything at all! I’ve found that a lot of people, myself included, hesitate to try out a new form of exercise for fear of looking silly, but this is the time to embrace the silly and ridiculous. As always, any time you choose to move instead of sit, you are the winner. And laughing at yourself is a fantastic ab workout! Even if you are obsessed with watching a particular tv show or catching up on a podcast, there are work outs that you can do at home in between segments- Buzzfeed has some great circuits that you can get in while powering through your new favourite show, and you can often find yoga sequences that are the perfect length of an episode.
4. Set a Schedule With Supports
You might not need to schedule out every single minute of your day, but make a schedule for when you are going to exercise. It is easy to push things off when they stay in the hypothetical “maybe” time, at some point in the future-ish. Set a date with yourself (or with a friend, whatever motivates you!) and hold yourself accountable. Write notes in your planner, set alarms in your phone, and put sticky notes on your keys. Do what you have to do to make it happen, and don’t accept any excuses from yourself.
5. Just Enjoy It!
Even if you don’t make your goal, life will continue on and you will always have the chance to get moving again tomorrow. Even if weight lifting or cross fit or yoga is the omg-best-workout-in-the-world-ever, if you don’t enjoy, find something else. If you have had a terrible day and feel absolutely wrecked, take the day off. Cut yourself some slack and remember that this is not a super serious endeavour, and that any movement will help maintain your health! As my ballet teacher reminds us, “remember to smile’!
Now’s the time to set your new habits and beat the hibernation! Plus, if you get back into exercise now, you won’t have to deal with everyone who is trying to start fresh in January- it will be old hat to you. How do you find the motivation to get out and move while it is getting colder out?