8 Ways To Motivate Yourself For Winter Workouts

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I honestly have the most annoying alarm in the history of alarms. Each time I hear it, I groan and fumble around trying to find my phone to shut it off, so I don’t have to listen to the torture anymore. If I hate it so much, then you’re probably wondering the obvious: why don’t I change it? Because – if it were playing soft classical music, I wouldn’t care that my alarm has gone off – I’d just leave it ringing and drift happily back off into slumber, dreaming of Beethoven.  I certainly would not be in the mood to get out of bed and workout in the morning.

Few thoughts go through my mind when my alarm goes off in the morning, but the main thought going through my head is usually “Yay! Thanks for waking me up, Oh Lovely Alarm! Now I get to jump out of my nice warm bed, shiver my way to the kitchen, and start on my morning workout, even though I barely slept last night because I couldn’t keep warm! I can’t wait!!” NOT.

To be honest, my first thought in the morning is usually something along the lines of, “I am way too tired for this to be considered a normal hour to wake up, it’s freezing out there and my bed is so warm, and where is that dumb phone so I can shut off that annoying ringing!” Not so cute.

And it’s not just the morning workout that we need more encouragement for in the winter. Somehow, the cold weather combined with non-stop indoor heating makes most of us sluggish, and all we want to do is curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book or movie. So, what can we do to fight the winter slump? Because as we all know, when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-Slumping yourself is not easily done. (Yes, I am also wondering when I will grow out of Dr. Seuss. My husband has taken to leaving the room whenever I start rattling off Green Eggs and Ham by heart again.) Luckily for us, there are ways to get in the mood for a workout. And you don’t even have to use the most annoying alarm in the world. But I’d recommend it.

1. Put Your Heating On A Timer

Pushing the button on the heating settings.

Heating for motivation.

If warm down blankets versus a cold room is your struggle, eliminate it by creating a warm environment. If you don’t want to leave on your bedroom heater the entire night, you can set it to go on a half hour before your alarm rings. From experience, it’s way easier to get out of bed when your room is nice and toasty.

2. Get Married In The Winter

I’m kidding, of course. But seriously speaking, having a major event like your own wedding or that of a close friend or family member can be a great motivation to workout. Buy a dress that is just that touch too small, and each time you want to skip the gym, just think, “Remember the dress. Remember the dress.” No weddings on the horizon? Make an early-spring shower for all your friends and family. Not only is it motivation to exercise, it’s also something to look forward to at the end of all your hard work.

3. Do Exercise That You Enjoy

Indoor Rock Climing

Indoor Rock Climbing

I get you. You’re not always in the mood for push-ups or weights, especially in the winter. But why not do exercise in less conventional ways, so you can trick yourself into thinking you’re only having fun, while really, you’re having fun and getting exercise? Get together a group of friends and play a game of indoor basketball, do laps in an indoor heated pool, or opt for indoor rock climbing.

4. Take Advantage Of Social Media

It’s going to be pretty embarrassing if you back out of going to the gym after posting on social media how much you’re looking forward to today’s workout. And if your gym teacher and gym buddies are following you, this is pretty much a foolproof tactic.

5. Find An Exercise Partner

Exercising With A Partner

Exercising With A Partner

This works especially well if you’re the guilty type. By knowing that someone is going to be waiting outside in the cold for you if you don’t show for your workout, you’re more likely to haul yourself out of bed, even if it’s just for their sake.

6. Healthy Competition

If you’re the competitive sort, set up a competition with friends or family for doing the most exercise over winter. To make it more fun, you can add a reward – for example, whoever is best at sticking to the exercise schedule receives 50 dollars from every participant.

7. Keep It Interesting

Whatever this means for you. It may be worth buying new gym clothes for this season that you’re excited to wear. Maybe you need to create a fast-paced playlist full of new songs that you love and that get you pumped – and only allow yourself to listen to it when you’re working out. Or perhaps you’ll need to spice up your routine: take a different gym class; run in a different neighborhood; switch to other stretches and exercises instead of the ones you’ve been doing until now.

8. Set Goals

Woman writing in notebook.

Setting goals.

Setting goals – for example, “By the end of the week I want to have run X number of miles” keeps you on track and gives you something to work towards. You can also give yourself small treats and a big reward at the end, to keep you motivated.


So, you see, in the winter, it’s really a question of knowing what will work for you. Eliminate your excuses and focus on goals that will get you reaching for your runners instead of your Uggs. With the right tactic, you can find yourself just as ready for your winter jog as you are in the warmer weather.