How to keep motivated in winter

How to keep motivated in winter. A white mug sits on the windowsill, which is chocolate brown in colour. Outside it is misty, raining and cold. There are trees and undergrowth just visible through the fog.
It’s hard to keep motivated in winter

Why is it hard to keep motivated in winter?

To keep motivated in winter a healthy mind-body routine and mindset are key. It is a time when people may drop their usual wellness routines and put their goals on hold. A ‘winter blues’ mindset may take hold. Some people are really affected by seasonal change, whilst others revel in the cooler months.

I was interviewed for an article on how to keep motivated in winter and the cooler months (Weight Watchers Magazine, July, 2018). The gist of the article was that certain habits that typically go with the season. Staying in bed, staying indoors, eating more, and exercising and socialising less are common. The challenge is to get out of the rut, take a step back and think about what you want for the season (and in life).

Why do many people feel low in mood in the winter or cooler months?

There may be several things getting in the way of you pursuing your normal goals and routines. Such as weather, mood, illness, lack of motivation and general lethargy could drain your usual positive approach to life.

If your regular activities aren’t weatherproof you could be at risk of ditching your normal routine, resulting in you feeling a bit flat and low in motivation.

Seasonal Mood Disorder, a form of depression, is known to affect some people. One in 300 people in Australia are affected by it, and it affects many more people in the UK (one in three). It can be serious and require medical and psychological treatment. On the other hand people can also be sensitive to the cooler climate, have colds or the flu, or not function at their best.

How to keep motivated in winter? 

Read the featured article for some tips. Assess your lifestyle for the things that make sense to do more of in the winter. It could be a great time for de-cluttering your living space or organising your files. Can any of your regular routines be carried through to the cooler months or can you adapt them (e.g. cycling at the gym instead of outside). How will you socialise when it’s cold? Find some things that will be ideal to do in the winter (ideal months for movies, restaurants, and galleries) or something you wouldn’t generally do).

To stay healthy most people need a healthy mind-body routine and mindset. The featured article outlines a model to change unhealthy habits so that you can make new habits that suit you better for the season. It also has some tips on how to make hibernating productive.

The article’s bottom line is that is you maintain a balanced approach to your health and wellbeing throughout the year you will reap the benefits. It advises going a bit easier on yourself in the cooler months, rather than being too self-critical and running the risk of putting all your goals on hold.

It is important to keep your goals alive throughout winter and cut yourself some slack on occasions. After all, it is cold! (Don’t say that to someone from the northern hemisphere though).

Hopefully, this article will get you thinking about what you can do to keep motivated in the winter. Included below is a pdf file of the article. Happy reading!


If you are concerned you may be experiencing seasonal depression, please seek help from your GP if symptoms persist. It is advisable to seek help early and contact a mental health professional. Australian numbers are provided below.

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Lifeline 131114
Mensline 1300 78 99 78
Suicide call-back service 1300 659 467

Links to other articles by Linda Magson that may help you to keep motivated in winter.

Other resources 

Winter Blues, fact or fiction? ABC South Australia, 9 June, 2016