Ignoring the forecasts calling for more storms and a continuation of the longest winter I can remember, I choose to be optimistic and believe that spring is just around the corner. Technically, it is only three weeks away but as many of us know, Mother Nature doesn’t go by a calendar and the snow will leave and temperatures will rise when she decides, not us.

As someone who personally struggles with winter at the best of times, I have to say that as difficult as the weather has been I will be coming into this spring in a very positive state of mind. Spring usually finds me exhausted and in recovery mode. I’ve spent most recent winters fighting off various bugs, feeling cold one hundred percent of the time and generally wishing a slow and horrible death upon Jack Frost.

When things go bad, people have a tendency to relive them over and over. It’s very easy to stay in that negative space and I’ve never been able to figure out if it’s human nature or just how society has groomed us.  When things go right it’s even more important to hold on to those positive feelings. My experience is that we see negatives as things we “deserve” and chalk up good things to “chance” when more often than not it’s the opposite – bad things happen by chance and good things are earned.

With all of that being said, what has worked for me this winter?

1) Focusing on family.

I use a broad definition of family, meaning I don’t define it as a genetic link. Family members are the people who love you unconditionally, don’t ever judge you and stay with you through thick and thin regardless of what is happening in their own lives. This includes pets, stuffed toys or people you have never met face to face. I truly appreciate every member of my family and try my best to communicate that to all of them as often as I can.

2) Getting my butt outside.

Fresh air and daylight (note I didn’t say sunshine – stupid clouds…) are a big key to me feeling decent. This holds especially true for training and I’m happy with the effort I’ve put in to my running this winter. There is a certain crazy pride in running in conditions that are described as a “polar vortex” or the “snowpocalypse”.  Pushing yourself to get outside in less than great conditions makes it even easier to appreciate the warmer, longer days to come.

3) Removing negativity.

This is probably the biggest work in progress in my life. The most negative thing I deal with on a regular basis is my own self-doubt. I have a difficult time accepting compliments, I am quick to point out my own perceived faults and I dwell far too long on my mistakes. Knowing this has helped me to at least start removing external negatives in my life. Filtering out those things or people that ONLY ever bring you to a negative space is very freeing.

4) Building on previous experiences.

I’ve been through enough winters and have enough life experience at this point that drawing upon what I’ve already accomplished (or survived) is a valuable resource. That doesn’t mean I’ve seen and been through it all, but it does mean that I know things get better.

5) Setting goals.

A proven way to look forward to the future is to remind yourself what is waiting there for you. Bad luck happens and obstacles can get in your way and sometimes we may even need to amend our goals, but we still need them. Setting small, realistic goals and developing a pattern of success helps us to make our goals larger and set in longer time frames.

If you have other things that have helped you get over the hump this winter or if you have a comment or question, please post them here. I always enjoy the feedback and love hearing and learning from all of you!