In addition to our 12 Trails of Christmas this holiday season, we are giving you bonus blog posts to accompany videos from our Ambassadors and Staff. Today Ambassador Sarah gives us 12 ways to stay motivated this winter.

I don’t know about you, but once it starts raining (or snowing), I have a strong desire to curl up on the couch with my dog, a warm beverage, and a good book. This is usually welcomed after a summer of feeling like I have to try to capitalize on all the long sunny days, but there comes a point in winter that I start to get cabin fever and long to be outside. Whether you are just needing to be back out in the fresh air or are trying to stay in shape for those upcoming spring and summer adventures, here are a few ideas to stay motivated.

1. Try something new!

One of the reasons I have a hard time getting outside in the winter, is that I don’t have any winter specific outdoor hobbies. I don’t love skiing or snowboarding and I hate being cold. However, in the past few years, I have taken a downhill skiing class and tried snowshoeing. Maybe you have always wanted to try dogsledding or winter camping. Whether or not you end up loving it, it doesn’t matter. You still got outside. And you might find a new hobby after all. I definitely intend to snowshoe again this year.

2. Hike somewhere…anywhere.

You don’t have to wait for the perfect weather day to get outside. If it’s raining, like it will be here in the Pacific Northwest, dig out your best rain gear and waterproof boots, and just go. Even if you just go tromping around in the snow at a park, it still counts.

3. Find a friend and motivate each other.

This is helpful for tip #2. It’s easier to bail on a hike if it’s just you and the weather isn’t great. It’s harder to let a friend down. Pack a thermos of a hot beverage for the hike or bring some favorite snacks. Challenge each other to hike a certain number of miles or to do a new trail.

4. If you can’t go outside, find something fun indoors as a way to stay in shape for hiking.

Be the silly looking person at the gym on a stair machine with your backpack weighted. Take a yoga class to stay flexible. Go to the rock climbing gym. Swim in a pool or take an indoor kayak class.

5. Buy new gear or ask for gear for holiday gifts.

Nothing makes me more excited about going outside than being prepared with a new piece of gear. Maybe you want to try to hike on icier trails and need some micro spikes or have been too cold in your current coat. Find some great sales or deals and be ready for your next adventure.

6. Be a kid again.

Even if you don’t have kids, you can still go outside and play. Build a snowman, go sledding, or go exploring in the woods.

7. Rent before you buy.

Even though I just mentioned buying new gear, it’s also a great idea to try out gear by renting from a local outdoor shop or university’s outdoor program. Even if you know that snowshoeing will be your new favorite hobby, you might not know yet what features you want in a snowshoe until you try them out.

8. If you do find yourself on the couch with a book, considering reading some motivational outdoor memoirs or novels.

Treat yourself to a book on local trails or get a travel book for the next place you hope to go to next year. The Hike Like a Woman Adventure Book Club is a great place to get book ideas.

9. Find support.

Even if your friends don’t want to go outside with you this winter, find online motivation and support through outdoor groups such as Hike Like a Woman.

10. On a cold or blustery day, hop online and start planning some summer adventures.

What trail have you wanted to do but haven’t yet? If you will have enough funds to travel, start planning where you will go and what you want to do when you get there. People always say that the anticipation of a trip sometimes makes you happier than the actual trip does and it can definitely keep motivation alive.

11. Sign up for the 365 Mile Challenge.

Start tracking those hiking miles and find motivation from others who are doing the challenge along with you. To learn more about the 365 Mile Challenge click here.

12. Clean and organize gear

Stuck inside on a snow day? Clean out your gear closet, sell or donate what you don’t need, and organize what you do have. Clean up your boots, repair any holes or tears in packs or gear, and be ready for those longer summer adventures once it does get warm again.

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