This time of year can wreak havoc on the goals you’ve worked so hard to make . . . and keep. Even the most iron-willed of us can find ourselves slipping into less-healthy habits around the holidays.
For one, you’ve got more social activities than normal, which will leave less time for your work-out sessions, and which are often centered around food. It’s also a busier-than-usual time at work, with year-end deadlines looming dangerously near. Top that all off with the additional baking, cooking, shopping, and mailing that you do, and you’ve barely got enough time to hit the drive-through, much less plan and cook a healthful meal. Plus, this time of year is emotional for many folks – you might be alone for the holidays, or can experience sad or sentimental memories more acutely.
It’s an unfortunate irony that you end up having less time for the things that keep you stress-free, such as exercise, eating well, and relaxing down-time with family, friends, and pets. It’s no wonder that the holidays are a danger-zone for your healthy goals. Want to better your chances for staying on the right path, even during the holidays?
- Yes, you can. The mind is a seriously powerful force. Shift your belief to realizing that you can, and will, make the better choices you desire regarding food or drinks at a party, or exercising on a busy day. If you think that you can, you CAN.
- Fast-forward. As you weigh your options of exercising or napping, eating the salad or the twice-baked potatoes, think about how you’ll feel an hour, day, or week from now. A few small decisions made toward your bigger goal can make a huge difference. Not only that, but good dietary choices have a circular effect – if you eat well, then you have more energy and willpower to eat well, and so on. This is a great tool for when you’re headed out to an event, too. If you can visualize the fully-stocked bar or the luscious-looking desserts ahead of time, and set some boundaries for yourself, you won’t be seduced on the spot when you get there.
- Call in the troops. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve likely got an army of folks around you who are struggling with holiday-time goals too. Buddy up and form an accountability team. You can check in with each other, support each other’s efforts, exercise together, and/or plan a post-holiday success reward (one that is in line with your goals, obviously). Together we stand . . . and run, and bike, and burpee . . .
- See the vision. Picture yourself on January 2nd, having nailed it with keeping your self-control in check, and your healthy habits strong. How will you feel? Proud and strong? Accomplished and fulfilled? Keep this visualization in the back of your mind, and call it to attention during the times when your willpower feels depleted.
- Be sure to look back. Baby, you’ve come a long way. Take a moment every now and then to see how far you’ve come. Where were you health-wise a year ago? Six months ago? What was your mind frame about exercising or eating well then versus now? You should be proud of how far you’ve come. Use this pat-on-the-back moment to keep going strong.
Despite all of your best efforts, know that it’s not a complete catastrophe if you have a slip-up or two. Many people have to recommit to their health goals several times before making it an ingrained lifestyle. You’ll get there, and we’ll be helping you all along the way.