Unlike spring which inspires new beginnings, autumn is a time when many people start to slow down and become more insular. It is natural to slow down, but equally as important that you don’t stop completely as it’s harder to get moving again from a standstill. As you prepare for the short, dark days and long cold nights, it is easy for your motivation to wane, allowing unhealthy and unhelpful habits to creep back in.
I like to take this transition time between summer and autumn to refocus and think about what I want to achieve, and how I want to feel heading into the New Year. Yes the, New Year is still a while of yet, but just long enough to do good on those goals that slipped off during the summer, or just never got off the ground.
With that in mind, here are 8 simple ways you can stay motivated during autumn and winter:
1. Review your goals and intentions
This is the perfect time of the year for reflection. Firstly look back and review how far you have come.
What have you achieved and accomplished?
What needs improving and where do you need to step up?
What have you learned?
What worked well and what didn’t go as planned?
What have been your highlights and what hasn’t felt so good?
Next, assess where you are right now and what you need to do to become more aligned with your goals and intentions over the coming months.
What action do you need to take?
What changes need to be made?
What do you need more or less of in your life?
What healthy habits do you need to recommit to?
Ensure you make allowances for the time of year and include plenty of time for rest and self-care.
2. Remember your why
When it’s cold, grey, damp and miserable, maintaining the motivation to work on your goals can be a struggle.
Especially when simply getting out of bed takes effort.
On those days when you’d much rather stay curled up under the duvet; you need to remember why your goals and intentions are important to you.
You need a reminder of what you are working towards.
A vision board or strong mission statement is a tool you can create as an instant visual reminder of your why.
3. Identify any season related obstacles
For example, if your intention is to improve your fitness by jogging, how will the weather, dark mornings and shorter days affect your plan?
If you’ve been out all day, once you’re in it can take a lot to leave the house again. Consider making better use of your lunch break and doing things straight after work. Popping on the fitness gear as soon as you land through the door can also be a huge help in putting you in the right mindset. Get clear on how the seasons affect you and make any necessary adjustments.
4. Make fun plans
Let’s face it, autumn and winter can be depressing. It’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s damp. There’s nothing that exciting going on either. It’s a kind of lull period. The summer parties and holidays are over and there nothing much except a pumpkin in the diary till December.
Make plans! I always feel more focused on my goals and more productive in work time when I have something to look forward to. Plan family days, lunches with friends, country walks and cosy pub stops. Spend time with people who inspire you and make you feel excited about life.
5. Take care of your health and well-being
It can be extremely tempting at this time of year to get home from work, curl up with a blanket and not move again until it’s time for bed.
The thought of leaving the house on a cold, wet and windy night to exercise is not appealing.
So slow down if you must, but stay active.
The fact is that the least active you are, the less energy you have and it’s difficult to maintain motivation when your energy reserves are low.
Yes, Netflix and chill is a great way to relax but think about the effect on your energy and well-being if this is how you spend huge chunks of time.
6. Be inspired with new recipes
It’s not just what you do with your body that matters; it’s also what you put in it.
Winter is peak germ season and if you’re eating crap and not moving, your immune system will struggle to fight off any germs floating around.
Being ill is no fun and is a sure way to kill any motivation you have.
I totally get it, hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows is, for some of us, what makes autumn and winter bearable. Don’t cut out the things you love, just make sure you are getting enough of the good stuff to nourish your body.
Now as healthy as it may be, a bowl of salad does not make the mouth water when you’re freezing your bits off. So it’s time to hit the recipe books, the blogs or put all that social scrolling to good use and be inspired to revamp your recipe repertoire with seasonal soups, warming casseroles, hearty roast and everything spicy. Get reacquainted with your slow cooker for......well everything really! Dump and forget - dinner is done.
7. Get enough rest
Autumn and winter are the seasons for rest and recuperation. If self-care was lacking during the summer months, now is the time to recommit to a self-care practice, and part of that should include getting plenty of rest and good quality sleep.
Too many of us are relying on as little as 6 hours of sleep each night. This does not give the body enough time to repair itself. In the short term, other than feeling tired, you may not notice the adverse effects of not getting enough sleep. However, insufficient sleep increases a person’s risk of developing serious medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dementia.
So if lack of sleep can do that, imagine the effect it has on your motivation. Make a conscious effort to go to bed earlier and get sufficient sleep.
8. Declutter your home
As we tend to spend more time indoors during the autumn and winter months, it can be a great time to declutter. Spring is typically associated with clearing out your home for a fresh start, but there’s no reason you can’t also have a clean up at this time of the year. In fact, it’s an ideal time to put away all your summer clothes and furnishings and dust off your knitwear, winter coats, boots and blankets. Get rid of anything that no longer brings you joy. If you have any items that no longer fit or match the décor of your house, consider donating them to charity to bring someone else joy.
Your home should be a place where you feel cosy and at peace. The aim is for you to feel like your home is giving you a warm, welcoming hug when you walk through the door. Feeling comfortable in your home can improve your mood which in turn helps to maintain your overall motivation.
Take a look at any are of your home in which a good sort and organise might reflect back in to helping you reach your goals. Some ideas are clearing your office space and purchasing some bright new organisers. Pairing up your exercise kit tops with bottoms, to make easy grab and go outfits. Re-organising the kitchen Tupperware ready for healthy leftovers/meal prep or decluttering the bathroom cupboards to make your nightly wind down and skin care regime a more enjoyable and relaxing time.
There is nothing wrong with slowing down a little at this time of the year. But to feel good, have energy and stay healthy, you need to find a balance. Make plans as to how this might work best for you.
There will be days when you feel de-motivated and when this happens, an injection of inspiration can be just what you need to get back into action.
Find a fun workout class for new fitness inspiration with UpFit Women's Fitness.