How can I stay motivated during the winter?

Paul Brotherton advises how to keep focussed on distant goals
I've got six months to go to a major regatta. I'm unfit and I need to do lots of boatwork but I can't get motivated at this time of year. What can you suggest? Paul Brotherton says: Visualisation is a key skill in this situation. You know that without doing these things you will never be successful, so think what it will be like to win or not win the championship. Some people are motivated by different things to others. If you find that the pain of thinking about not winning the championship is greater than the good feeling of winning, then use that negative emotion as a motivator. Think your way into a specific situation and sense what you feel like. You might be sailing down the last run of the final race of the championship and feel yourself getting close to victory. Savour that moment and use those emotions to give you the drive to do what needs to be done today - whether that be going out for a run in the freezing cold or doing two hours of boring boatwork. But while this visualisation of winning is very useful in this instance, it is the last thing you want to be doing when you are in the heat of battle. Have you ever found yourself leading a race or an event and already beginning to plan the victory speech in your head, or thinking about how you are going to tell your friends and family about your heroics when you get home. Shut these thoughts out of your head, as they are now a distraction from the job in hand. For the situation of racing you need concrete processes for each manoeuvre and decision, that if you focus on these will lead to a positive outcome. This goes back even