I don’t know about you, but my boots were not really made for walking. Even my warm and furry snow boots are more suited for a stroll down a snowy sidewalk on a cold day than a serious power walk.

At this time of year we need the motivation to get to the gym even more. The weather eliminates the extra exercise we get from mowing, gardening or going for a longer stroll with the dog when the sun shines.

But the weather also kills our motivation to get in the gym during winter. It’s difficult to leave a warm and cozy house or office and brave the bitter cold to exercise.

So we’ve come up with some ideas to boost your motivation to get in the gym—learning a new skill, your favorite music, some fun money, a chat with a friend and, oh yeah, better health year round. You can consider cleaning off the car and shoveling the drive to be part of the workout.

How To Gain the Motivation To Get In the Gym During Winter

motivation to get in the gym in winterTake steps to learn a skill

Get on a treadmill and count your steps with a pedometer. Then challenge yourself to finally really learn Microsoft Excel by charting your walking progress on a spreadsheet.

Make a soundtrack for the track

Create an inspirational soundtrack for your MP3 player using all your favorite songs. Then make those songs off-limits except when you work out. You’ll be motivated to get to the gym to put on your tennis shoes and earbuds.

Commitment pays off

Hire yourself to work out for at least 30 minutes a day. Decide on your hourly pay; then each time you report for “duty” at the gym, put what you’ve earned in a jar. Use your weekly or monthly “paycheck” for something fun—a movie, some new walking shoes, another tune for your soundtrack. Motivation to get in the gym in winter could even turn into a trip to somewhere with summer weather!

Keep your pace to save face

Agree to meet someone for a workout every day, whether it be a friend, a coworker or a trainer. Embarrassment over bailing is great motivation to get to the gym at any time of year.

Have a hot cocoa after you go

You know that chocolate milk is one of the best recovery drinks after a tough workout, with its balance of carbs and protein. Why not heat it up and turn it into a treat? Use skim milk and a high-quality dark chocolate to maximize nutrients while minimizing fat and sugar.

With a little extra effort and creativity, you can find all kinds of motivation to get in the gym during winter. Best of all, when it’s finally warm enough to skip through the tulips, you’ll be fit for the frolic.

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