Six Steps to Happy, Healthy Holidays

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The holidays are here! For the next few weeks, the barrage of food, alcohol, parties, and stress is constant. We are insanely busy so workouts, healthy eating, and normal routines take a back seat. By the time January rolls around, we're up a pound or two, our muscle mass has decreased a bit, and we feel kind of “blah.” Why don’t we commit to making changes now instead of waiting until the new year, when we are a little worse for the wear? Let's take control of the holiday season and start the new year leaner, meaner, and a month ahead of schedule on our resolutions.

They say it takes 30 days to make a habit. While that statistic may not be entirely accurate, and statistics don't tell us much about individuals, the point is, new habits aren’t formed overnight. It takes a while, and a little effort. If you start now, you'll be pretty set in your routine by the first of the year and you’ll be ahead of the game. Seeing January on the calendar will serve as a high five for the progress you've already made, instead of a nagging reminder of how far you have to go. Here are a few tips to help you get started today and start the new year off right:

  1. Set mini- resolutions every week - Instead of setting one huge long-term goal, such as "I want to lose twenty pounds,” set smaller goals, "this week I will go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings." That way, you'll feel successful right away —- a week in! — instead of feeling that you are waiting for.ev.errr to meet a seemingly unattainable goal.
  2. Make time for yourself - Set aside time for yourself every day, even if it's only for five minutes. Taking a hot shower, sipping a cup of tea in the quiet (bonus points if you're not locked in the bathroom hiding from your kids while you're doing it), or snuggling with your favorite fur-baby, are all easy and inexpensive ways to slow down and make sure your mind is in a good place. Working toward your resolutions is a lot easier to do when you are feeling good about YOU.
  3. Eat RIGHT - This one is easier to do if you are actively working towards your goal. Before, you may have said, why not? It's the holidays! What's one more slice of pie! But now, as you're working hard to reach your goal, the dessert table is easier to resist. Make half of your plate fruits and veggies. Fill up on the good stuff that fuels your body. You will feel great knowing that you kept it together when a holiday meal can average 5,000 calories per person (you read that right, a five with three zeros! Yikes!!!)
  4. Write it down - Write your resolution down on a sticky note and place it on your mirror, bedside table, or somewhere you can see it. When you feel like giving up, glance at your sticky note and remember how important your goals are to you.
  5. Grab a friend and sign up - Sign up for that class that you've been wanting to try. If you've committed to it ahead of time, you're more likely to follow through. A lot of gyms let you sign up weeks (even months) in advance. If you know a friend is there waiting for you, you're much less likely to bail.
  6. Treat yo’ self - what better way to celebrate the hard work you put in over the holidays than with a pedicure, an indulgent coffee drink, or a new outfit. Afterward, set new mini-resolutions and follow through with rewards every so often. This will give you something tangible to encourage you to keep working at it.

Whatever your resolutions are, I encourage you to start them today. We control very little during the holidays. The weather, travel delays, behavior of our tired kids (or of our tipsy relatives) are just a few of the issues facing us over the next few of chaotic weeks. Being in control of this one small area of your life can be a big help. Instead of having to play catch-up with your health and fitness in 2016, start now and get a jump on it. Happy Holidays!