The winter is easily the most difficult time to begin a new training regime. The holidays in particular provide several excuses to put off starting a new activity and are rife with opportunities to allow your current training regimen to be derailed. While New Years Resolutions may provide a brief flash of inspiration in January, a promise made to yourself that you’d do something all year tends to lose its motivational power after a few weeks. There are ways of maintaining that sense of motivation throughout the winter months.
1. Set a goal. General goals with vague restrictions are easy to discard. Instead of raising your glass of champagne and vowing vaguely to train at least three times a week for the coming year, set a more specific challenge for yourself. Vow to obtain that next belt level within the next three months and put in the work to get there.
2. Tell people about it. Once you’ve made your goal, mark it down on your calendar and tell your friends and training partners. Tell your instructors you’ve made a goal and ask them their advice on how to achieve it. Just the fact that everyone knows you’ve set this goal will motivate you to put the work in on days you don’t feel like going in to train.
3. Make a bet. A little healthy competition goes a long way, especially when there’s a reward on the line. Challenge a friend to a training competition. You both have to train a certain number of days per week or achieve a certain goal. Make sure you have weekly check ins with each other to keep track. Winner gets treated to dinner by their friend!
4. Put some money down. Money is the classic motivational tool. Sign up for a seminar and pay for it in advance. Sign up to test for a rank, put the money down. You’ll be much more likely to do the work necessary to prepare for your seminar or rank testing if you’ve already paid for it.
5. Change up your routine. One of the biggest motivational killers is boredom. If you feel your routine is stagnating and there are days you just can’t force yourself to go in to train, take a look at your school’s schedule. See what classes are offered during that day that you don’t normally go to. Even if the class is below your level, see if you can jump in and brush up on your basics.
6. Fun with friends. Ask your friends what classes they enjoy or what outside training they do. Ask if you can join in occasionally. Once you’ve committed to meeting up, do whatever your friend’s normal routine is. You may discover some new classes you enjoy or some new workouts you can apply.
Mix things up throughout the winter to keep things fresh. Set new goals once you’ve accomplished your original ones. Not only will your training stay on track, you may find you’ve had your most productive winter to date!