Winter blues; bottling the exercise buzz!

Everyone knows what it’s like to struggle with the winter blues: dark mornings, days and nights make dragging that booty out to do a workout all the more challenging.

I often get asked

how do you do it?

So’ I’ll try to break it down into steps that will make you sure to succeed.

Set a long term goal

This means fixing something in the future, whether it be entering an event, booking a holiday, whatever it is that forms the major part of your long term goal. Book it, pay for it, lock it in so there’s no backing out now!

For me this step was entering a race in Feb 2020. It wasn’t cheap to enter, so that’s my focus and if I get a bit flakey with me shorter term goals then this cost is the reminder to me to get my butt in gear!

Set a medium term goal

These can be monthly, or weekly goals, whatever works for you. I like weekly, it’s short manageable chunks that I can tick off and that satisfies me more.

For me, this step is a weekly swim and cycling goal, 2 swims and 4 bike rides. Now that’s my ideal week and I have a set idea in mind for these sessions but I don’t write that down, because then if I don’t actually do that- I would consider it a failure! Maybe that’s just my weird brain! Like I said, do what works FOR YOU

Accept that it’s ok if you don’t do exactly what’s planned

Sometimes life plays ball, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s how it goes and you need to be prepared to accept that, and adapt / overcome. So what if you only achieved SOME of those goals? It’s better than

  1. Not having a goal in the first place.
  2. Having impractical unachievable goals.
  3. Giving up completely because the first thing didn’t go to plan. (Wouldn’t we consider that to be childish.. yet so many people fall at this hurdle!

Your goals must be relative to your long term goal. So for example: if you have a wedding as an end goal and your focus is weight loss, I might suggest that the diet and cardio elements of your medium term goals should be slightly more important than anything else on your list.

In my own personal example: within my weekly goal of 2 swims and 4 bike rides, I intend for one of those swims to be long and one of those bike rides to be long. I have to say, come what may, I do always do the long bike ride. Sometimes this may be at the expense of the other shorter rides, but that’s ok, because long is my race goal, so that’s the one I stick to. As for the swim, I’m less concerned about this because swimming is my strength. I knock out 3km (my target race distance for the swim) almost every week, so if I miss this I’m not concerned. But I haven’t yet reached my race distance in a long bike ride, so that’s way more important.

Have a contingency plan

So let’s not pretend that everything will be perfect, because it won’t. So what will you do if it goes a bit pear shaped?

  1. Give up, throw in the towel and go and eat cake?
  2. Blindly carry on focussed on your goal regardless – everyone else can shove it?
  3. Accept that this week might be slightly different and adapt your goal to something more achievable?

I would hope you’d go for no 3! This week is a perfect example in my world that everything doesn’t always go to plan, but I haven’t adopted approach no 1 … just yet!

This week has been a high demand week of working hours. I have been working long tiring days, which means that I haven’t achieved my 2 swims and 4 rides at all. If I had carried on blindly regardless (approach No2) then I would run the risk of injury and / or burn out. If I adopt approach no 1, my end goal is in jeopardy and the potential to have a wasted race entry fee. So I have adapted this week. On Monday I was intending to do a focussed intervals bike session – but instead I did an open ride – 40 mins, no agenda. A ride of some sort is better than no ride at all. On Wednesday it was meant to be swim sprints day (and I already knew that I wouldn’t make long swim Thursday due to work commitments) so on Wednesday I went to the pool anyway, and for the amount of time that I had spare, just swam. No agenda, I didn’t count laps or time it, I just swam. Because again it’s better than NOT doing it.

What might this look like for you?

  • can’t fit the walk you planned, so park further on your next trip to town and walk to all the shops instead
  • didn’t do the fitness session you intended to, so you went for a walk in the park / with the family instead
  • went out for lunch when you were mean to be ‘watching the calories – so make tomorrow a carb free day instead.

The possibilities to adapt and overcome are almost endless, but never think that it’s all lost and go and eat cake – that approach is for losers – and you are not a loser.

(Listen to this blog as a podcast, click above)

Got a particularly motivational approach working for you that I haven’t mentioned? Please do share it with us by adding a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!


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