5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise in Winter

1. Get some new gear. A little lycra can go a long way. It’s called “enclothed cognition” – a scientific term describing the influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes due to the symbolic meaning of the garment. When you dress the part, you act the part; meaning if you look gym-ready, you will be. Investing in activewear (leggings, tanks, shoes, pads, etc.) for the big chill will motivate you to get out of the house and get moving. It’s science.

2. Make plans for the warmer months. This is a good one. Book a spring or summer vacation somewhere tropical, sign up for a marathon, or plan a two week hiking excursion. Maybe you want to lose 10 lbs before a week on the beach, or improve your stamina for a national park camping trip. Training for a marathon is its own beast. Impending commitments will help you visualize where you want to be physically and mentally by a certain date – and not to mention, you’ve already paid for it (hello, $600 plane ticket). Pressure’s on.

3. Take advantage of the weather. Take a break from couching a couple weekends a month and do something active with the crew. A brisk run, skiing, iceskating, snowboarding, hiking, and sledding are just a few cold weather activities that will warm you up in no time.

4. Get some new ear candy. You might be taking a break from sweets, but that doesn’t mean your ears can’t have a snack. Instead of listening to the same old mix while exercising, download a few new podcasts and tracks for your workout. A solid selection of tunes can spice up even the dullest fitness routine and have you looking forward to spending an hour at the gym.

5. Take it one day at a time. Whatever your goals are, focus on the day at hand and try to be patient. It’s natural to feel impeded by the miserable weather and overwhelmed by all the things you feel you haven’t accomplished. It’s OK to have an “off-day” or even a few — give yourself a break. Focus on the successes of the day, not your failures. Eventually, you’ll feel like the cold never bothered you anyway.