December 14, 2020

Slimdown Wellness Challenge | Progress Not Perfection

General Health

Happy Week 5 of the challenge, everyone!

Can you believe we’re a little over 1 week away from 2021?! I look back on 2020 and in one thought I think “this was the fastest year ever” and the next thought I think “what are you talking about?! I feel like I’ve lived 47 lifetimes in 9 months!”…maybe you feel similar too.

Winter in Wisconsin is ROUGH, and it can be hard to stay motivated with your wellness plans and goals. How do you keep yourself thinking positive and getting pumped about your health and wellness goals when the darkness/cold/ice/polar vortexes/snow sometimes get the best of our moods and motivation?

Some days it is easier than others, and some days no matter what you do, you just can’t get going, and you know what? It’s ok! One of my favorite mantras in 2020 has been “progress, not perfection” and I think that applies perfectly to this topic/blog with staying motivated in winter. Sometimes all it takes is a little prepping and planning to put your plan into action, and I’m hoping that these tips/tricks may encourage you to step outside the box and find what works for you to keep you motivation in winter.

Set a SMART goal

I probably sound like a broken record talking about SMART goals, BUT, it’s because it’s something I believe in, AND, can make an impact on the success of your goal setting. SMART goals help you essentially get a firm foundation for what you want to accomplish and sets a timeframe in order to make this change a reality.

As you’re making goals/resolutions, be thinking to yourself:

  • “Is this goal SPECIFIC?”
  • “Is this goal MEASURABLE”
  • “Is this goal ATTAINABLE”
  • “Is this goal REALISTIC” (sorry, losing 20 lbs. in a week is not super realistic. If you find a way to do this, let me know!)
  • “Is this goal TIME BOUND”


Having a game plan puts you in charge of want to accomplish, and it also helps to eliminate the opportunity for excuses. Depending on what your wellness goals are, the planning and prepping may include:

  • Setting a schedule with time built in for “x, y, z” (exercise sessions, ‘me’ time for stress management, food prep, or writing out your grocery list). When you have a schedule, you can make sure to MAKE time for what you want to accomplish.
  • Laying out/packing your workout clothes OR lunch to make it easier in the morning/after work/evening to exercise, and to not be scrambling in the morning to make healthy choices for eating.
  • Meal planning can help with not only the prepping and eating component, but also the grocery shopping and ensuring you have everything you need for meals.
  • Time dedicated to reflection of what your goals are, and is your plan and action getting you closer to achieving those goals.

Get Cold Weather Gear

Through all the winters I have lived through in Wisconsin, not much changes year by year—it’s cold and there’s snow. I know that I can either embrace all the beauty that Wisconsin weather brings, or I can complain. While, ok, I won’t lie… I do complain a fair amount, I have also become a HUGE fan of winter walking/running when it’s not icy outside. There’s something so quiet and peaceful about the cool, fresh air and really…if you have good cold weather gear—it’s lovely and rejuvenating to be outside, and it really is beautiful.

Good cold weather gear usually means layers, outerwear (coat, vest, etc.) a hat, mittens/gloves, a scarf and of course good footwear, and this can be the difference between a great experience outside, and a miserable complaint-worthy one. When you have the proper gear, it makes it that much easier to get outside and ‘play’, which means physical, mental and emotional health benefits!

Eat Within the Season

Nutrition is (and should) be part of your wellness plan, and winter has a great variety of produce that offers different tastes that are in-season during the winter months. Winter produce includes pears, apples, citrus fruits, root vegetables and many types of greens that can jazz up your current eating routine and give a flavor boost.

Find a New Hobby

Winter, especially during a pandemic, means spending more time at home and not going out as much. This can feel a bit lonely and leave you also feeling like you need something to look forward to. This time of year is a great opportunity to learn a new hobby or skill, or to pick up where you left off. Indoor hobbies may be reading, arts and crafts, woodworking, learning an instrument or doing puzzles (mine recently is PURGING…not sure if that’s fun or not?) and outdoor hobbies in winter that you can learn and pick up include snowshoeing, ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, hiking and even playing!

Remember Your WHY

This may be the most basic suggestion of all, but it also could be the most powerful. When you’re in a funk or even thinking about quitting working towards your goal, stopping to remember WHY you started, WHY you want to accomplish your goal and WHY it is important to you can be enough to jump-start you to working on that plan, and putting it into action. Your why should be powerful to you and should keep you wanting to chase those goals.
Making changes and staying dedicated to them is HARD and can be incredibly frustrating. Many times, we need to take a step back and recognize what we truly believe we are capable of accomplishing, and how we can help ourselves best by putting a plan into action for achieving those goals.