Unlike spring which inspires new beginnings, autumn is a time when many people start to slow down and become more insular.
The same happens in nature; flowers die, leaves fall and animals go into hibernation.
The autumn and winter months are a time for rest and rejuvenation.
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.
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.
Here are 7 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 is a tool you can create as an instant visual reminder of your why.
You can also write your own personal mission statement that you read at the start of your day and before you go to sleep each night.
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?
Personally, I avoid leaving the house during autumn and especially in winter.
And if I’ve been out all day, once I’m in, I’m in. It takes a lot for me to leave the house again.
So I know that for me, this time of year is not a good time to schedule any big social events.
If you’re anything like me, consider using making better use of your lunch break and doing things straight after work.
Get clear on how the seasons affect you and make any necessary adjustments.
4. Stay inspired
Let’s face it, autumn and winter can be depressing.
I know some people love this time of year. I’m not one of them.
I do like the colourful transition from summer to autumn when the leaves start to change. But once those leaves start falling and making friends with the rain, I’m over it.
There are wet leaves everywhere and I hate it!
I spend as much time at home as possible but only because I really dislike being outside in the damp and cold.
I’d much rather be out and about doing stuff with my life but I just cannot bring myself to leave the house if I don’t have to.
At times, it can get me down.
So it’s important that I ensure being at home for extended periods feels good.
There will be days, sometimes even weeks when you feel totally demotivated and when this happens, an injection of inspiration can be just what you need to get back into action.
Make a list of all the things that inspire you such as books, music, films, blogs, TED talks, etc. and have them on standby so you have them to hand as and when you need them.
Additionally, 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 a cup of hot chocolate and not move again until it’s time for bed.
The thought of leaving my 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.
Identify an activity you can do regularly during the winter months, such as a home workout or simply taking a walk during your lunch hour.
It’s not just what you do with your body that matters, it’s also what you put in it.
As healthy as it may be, a bowl of salad does not make my mouth water when I’m freezing my bits off.
That being said, it’s important that you do what you can to maintain your physical health and well-being.
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. Mash potato, crumble and custard, hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows is, for some of us, what makes autumn and winter bearable.
And by all means, treat yourself, but just don’t make it your staple daily diet.
Nourishing your body helps to maintain good health and stay motivated during autumn and winter.
Additionally, creating a self-care kit can be an effective way to keep all the things that make you feel good in one place.
6. Get enough rest
As I said earlier, 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 5 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, studies have found that insufficient sleep increases a person’s risk of developing serious medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
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.
Additionally, avoid looking at your phone or any electronic devices, including your television at least an hour before going to bed.
Better still, leave all electronic devices out of your bedroom as the blue light emitted from them is believed to disrupt the body’s biological clock. This can also have a negative impact on your health.
7. 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, heavy curtains and blankets.
Get rid of anything that no longer brings you joy.
Your home should be a place where you feel cosy and at peace.
Feeling comfortable in your home can improve your mood which in turn helps to maintain your overall motivation.
The aim is for you to feel like your home is giving you a warm, welcoming hug when you walk through the door.
And, if you have any items that no longer fit or match the decor of your house, consider donating them to charity.
Many animals hibernate in winter and although they do nothing but rest during this time, they actually do a huge amount of preparation in advance.
So, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with hibernating at this time of the year.
But to ensure you stay motivated during autumn and winter, the key is to plan ahead and follow the ideas shared in this post.
Journal prompt: What do I need to do to stay motivated during autumn and winter?
Affirmation: Motivation comes to me easily. I find the motivation when I need it.