The weather is cooling and soon the winter blues will be coming on strong. If you’re anything like me, the lack of sunshine and chilly temperatures makes me want to curl up on the couch with fuzzy socks, a warm blanket, and Netflix. Keeping up with my health-focused routines feel far from the top of my list of things to prioritize.
With holidays filled with wonderful food and weather that can cause us to feel sad and exhausted, wintertime is usually not the season we feel like our best selves. These are my five tips, ones that I’ve incorporated into my own life, that I hope bless you as you prepare for the changing season.
- Make a list
I have a list of things I strive to do every single day. These include starting my day with a glass of ice water before my coffee, stretching, working out, time with Jesus and in the Word, doing something creative (ex: playing an instrument or writing), learning (ex: reading a book or listening to a podcast), and drinking 64 ounces of water. Understanding my patterns and that sometimes my schedule is crazy, I only hold myself to doing five of these daily, even though my goal is all seven. I have this list on a whiteboard in my office, the place I frequent most during my day, as a reminder every time I glance away from my computer screen.
2. Start with something you love
As I get up, drink my ice water, and make my coffee, I get out my Bible and devotional. I start most days out like this because it’s what grounds me for my day and gives me the most energy. Perhaps your thing is hitting the gym as soon as your alarm clock goes off, reading a chapter of that book on your bedside table, or listening to a podcast as you get ready in the morning. Whatever that thing is that gets you the most for your day, do it — even if that means getting up an extra 30 minutes.
3. Find accountability
It may be a text to or from your best friend every morning to make sure you got out of bed at that annoying 6 a.m. alarm, meeting up at the gym with your workout buddy at a specific time every day, your husband making sure you don’t hit snooze too many times, or an online group of ladies hustling after similar goals that you check in with every day. Find someone and hold on to them because good accountability is invaluable.
4. Consistency is key
Do it every single day. Don’t make travel an excuse. Don’t make family in town an excuse. Don’t make a busy work schedule an excuse. Instead, adapt to your circumstances. Maybe you can’t work out for an hour but you can for 30 or even 10 minutes. Just get your body moving! Maybe the morning went by so fast and you forgot to start drinking your daily dose of water, which should be half your body weight in ounces (ex: if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces of good ol’ H20). Don’t count the day a loss! Start drinking in the afternoon. I promise you can still reach your goal. Strive to be adaptable to build consistent habits. It only takes one day to get off track.
5. Give yourself a reward
It could be your favorite snack from the grocery store, going to see that movie you’ve been wanting to go to, or you get to meet up with a friend for coffee. For me, my husband and I in our budget allot ourselves some money every month that we get to spend on whatever we want without the other getting a say — much of mine usually goes to Starbucks coffee! Instead of me getting all of mine at once, we’ve set a system in place that I only receive it if I check off five items every day from the list I mentioned above. This motivates me for a couple of reasons.
My husband is my #1 fan, accountability partner, and the budget nerd of the family, so I have to go through him and he checks my list every single day.
- I mostly use my money to hang out with my friends — getting lunch or coffee, going to a local event, shopping, etc. Could we do something that doesn’t cost money? Of course! But we also like to do fun things around town and this gives me a specific purpose that encourages me to tackle my checklist.
As fall turns to winter, I pray that what I’ve worked hard to build into my daily routine will work for yours, too. Let’s approach this season with intentionality and purpose in everything we do, and more specifically, in how we take care of ourselves.