We get it. We start the year with best intentions, realistic goals, and achievable routines. And then here we are, knee-deep into February and its midwinter blues, grey skies, and cold rain. Pile on the lingering pandemic, and it’s not exactly the recipe from which motivation is made.
Regardless of what that groundhog says, we’ve got high hopes that Spring is nearly here. If you’ve lost your mojo, are fresh out of willpower, or just find your bed far more comfortable these days, you’ve got this!. We checked in with some of our favorite motivators to find five ways to refocus—fast.
Give Yourself Grace
“Consider what barriers might be there and give yourself enough grace to start again,” says Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Juliet Kuehnle. “Or shift the goal to something that aligns more with your values.”
We get it if your January goals might have been too ambitious. A reset is perfectly in order, without judgment, once you discover what is doable in your daily life and what isn’t. This year, especially, we have to make room for some extra emotions living rent-free in our heads.
“We have grief, fear, anger, sadness, hope, gratitude, optimism –” says Kuehnle. “Make sure we continue to hold some kind of structure for ourselves.” Mark your calendar and keep going!
Slow Down for Meals
As we’ve gotten rolling this year, our meals can feel like they’re… uh, on wheels. Eating in a rush or on the go leads to bad habits like eating less healthy food, or larger portions we don’t need. Slow down and be mindful.
“Stay present while eating,” reminds Matt Dengler, of RxRD Nutrition. “Remove all external distractions like phone, computer, and Zoom meetings. Step away from the screens when enjoying your meals.”
Planning ahead can help you eat right on the go, when you need to. Write out a meal plan the same way you would an exercise plan, Dengler recommends, and prep ahead so you are ready when life gets a little off track.
Check Your List
You wrote down your goals, right? (It’s okay if you didn’t — do it now!) Check that list, and reframe it if necessary. The key is to remember WHY you chose the goals you did. Did you want to run a marathon this year? Lose 20 pounds for Spring Break? Fit into your summer clothes the way you did in 2019? They’re all good, sound reasons to take a deep breath and remind yourself that a healthy life is a journey, not an hour in the park.
Your reasons and goals are just that — they’re yours, reminds Kuehnle. Make them work for you. In addition to those long-term goals, write out monthly and weekly goals so you can check them more frequently and stay on course, suggests Dengler.
It’s time to check in on friends. How are they doing? Are they feeling the blahs? Commiserating can help you both — if it motivates both of you to be better; so can pushing each other to show up.
“For accountability, there has to be a consequence,” says Will Hayes, Performance Manager at Novant Health Sports Performance. “If you don’t show up, you’re letting someone down.”
Hayes recommends finding an app that you and your accountability partner can use together to push each other, or try a friendly wager. Make it fun, or make it meaningful — if you find it hard to be motivated for yourself, you might be motivated by encouraging someone else to reach their goals.
Just Show Up
If it’s a workout or a class — just show up. Consistency breeds success. “Go to the gym,” advises Hayes. “If you get there — if you walk in the door — you’ll probably do something. You may even exceed your expectations.” Time for a trail run? Go to the trail and even if you do less, you’ve done something, says Hayes.
Remember — something (and even anything!) is better than nothing. The February blahs are real, but Spring is coming soon. And remember, you’ve got this!