The holiday season gives us reason to celebrate and indulge. And although the holidays, most certainly, should be enjoyed, some of us are great at managing the amount of celebrating we do, and some of us wish we were better. None of us, however, want to wake up New Year’s Day, 10 pounds heavier, feeling so exhausted that we need a vacation.
Here is my “GPS” system for navigating the holidays so you can stress less, enjoy more, and have your cake and eat it too.
- Goal Setting: Setting goals for the holiday season will give you something to work towards and keep you accountable. Think about the season, each week and each day and set goals accordingly. For instance, for the season, your goal might be to maintain your weight. For the week, maybe your goal is to get to the gym four times. And for the day, it might be to enjoy one or two cocktails instead of three or four.
- Plan Ahead: As always, I believe in indulging wisely and celebrating – just doing so moderately. When possible, try to maintain an 80%/20% rule, where 80 percent of the time you stay on a healthy course and 20 percent of the time, you allow yourself to indulge. Look at your week and at each day, and plan for what is to come. For instance, if you have a party at night, decide what is worth indulging in and stick to it. If you love dessert, but can take or leave alcohol, then saving your calories for dessert might be a good strategy. Look at menus before going out to holiday dinners at a restaurant. And always carry a healthy snack with you, so you don’t enter a party too hungry. Also, don’t underestimate “scheduling in time” for exercise. If it is on your calendar, you’ll be more likely to keep to it.
- Stay True to You: When making decisions during the holidays, I urge people to consider the following questions 1) Will the opportunity help or hinder you in reaching or maintaining your goals, 2) Is the action something you want to do, or would you be doing it out of guilt, boredom, peer pressure, or something else that is negative? and 3) Will the action be consistent with your goals, needs and values? For instance, if you are feeling exhausted due to three nights of celebrating in a row, you might decide your goal for the night is to get to bed by 10pm. If your friends invite you out again, for the third time that week, weighing your decision against these questions should provide you with rather clear guidance.
Staying healthy during the holidays is achievable. With a little planning and “GPS,” you’ll navigate the worst of it. Celebrate and enjoy this holiday season!