Seasonal Challenges: Motivation and Sleep

It’s almost the end of October and fall is pretty solidly here. It’s my favorite season. I love everything about New England fall. The colors, the outfits, the leaves, the weather, the hot drinks, the squash and apples, the holidays.

I wrote a post this summer and talked about how establishing my walking habit in the summer took more effort to get going…until I realized how  my dislike of walking in bright sun on hot days was A Major Factor That Was Stopping Me. This time of year, I have NO trouble with walking often. Walking on trails in New England in the fall is pure heaven. I wish I could live in a place with perpetual fall.

As much as I love fall though, I’ve noticed that changing seasons can bring new challenges as far as sticking with my healthy habits. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just requires some flexibility and openness to changing up my routine a bit.

First, since I lift on my porch most of the time, I’ve changed the time of day that I train. I’m lucky enough to have that option, since I am home with kiddo two days per week, and that’s when I lift (plus the weekend).  Now that the mornings are colder, I’ve started lifting in the afternoons more often after the temperature has warmed up. Kiddo usually plays outside while I do that.

However, afternoon workouts bring their own “challenges,” mostly of the motivational ilk. I’m noticing that motivation levels are NOT the same in the morning vs. the afternoon! I can definitely see why many people prefer to work out in the morning. After running around with a 3 year old for most of the day, I usually don’t feel like doing anything other than lying on the couch.

One of the things that gets me up off the couch anyway is the fact that I have a training schedule that my coach writes for me. I get a little antsy knowing that if I skip a day, it will throw the schedule off. So, it’s less a question of “am I going to lift today?” and more of a question of “how long until I get up off the couch and lift today?” That helps. If I didn’t have a program and was just doing whatever I felt like, maybe it would be easier to skip.

Once I am up off the couch and out on the porch gym, I find music helps. For morning workouts I preferred silence, but for the afternoons when motivation and energy are low, music helps me with both those things.

The other big challenge I am noticing with sticking with my habit goals this fall, is that fall TV shows are back on. Between that, and the fact that I’ve let myself get sucked into binge watching episodes of my favorite TV show that is no longer on, my Hulu Plus account is getting a lot of play. At night after kiddo is asleep.

My habit goal of going to sleep before 10pm is suffering hard, after I was doing great with it for months. My TV watching at night is interfering with my energy levels and my mood. I’m a lot more tired and impatient and it doesn’t feel good.

One question I have in my mind is “I don’t skip sleep to work out, because sleep is important to me and my health. So, why am I skipping sleep to watch TV?” I’m thinking about adding another habit goal to the list to help me with this….something like “watch one TV show or less most nights.” I’ll be back with more details about that once I figure it out.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! If you have any tips for sticking to healthy habits when motivation is lower, or for getting to bed when you’d rather watch TV, I’d love to hear them!

 

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2 thoughts on “Seasonal Challenges: Motivation and Sleep

  1. Pingback: How to Set a Sustainable Habit Goal This Year: Part III | Power, Peace, and the Porch Gym

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