I want to talk about the holidays. You know, that time of year that begins this week, and goes barreling full speed ahead for the next 6, culminating in ball dropping, fireworks, midnight kisses and resolutions to do it all better the following 52. You may be like me, experiencing a certain sense of deja vu this week. We’ve all been here before. We’ve stood on the precipice of Thanksgiving, looming as a cornucopia of memories from years past - and with a certain resignation, we accept that we’re going to fall off the fitness wagon, we are going to overindulge, we are going to stress out over wrapped gifts, ugly neckties, having enough cash on hand for proper tips, making all the parties and pageants, finding all the toys on santa wish lists, and handling your boisterous relatives. Or… just maybe… this is the year you break that pattern.
I am not suggesting you skip the holidays, I am not saying to even skip the egg nog, what I am suggesting is that you change your expectations. Just because you have done things a certain way every other year, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing them that way. We get into a Holiday Habit — I already start hearing people at the gym and at school saying: “Oh, I’m going to be so good this holiday, after Thanksgiving, I am going on a major diet so then I will allow myself to totally pig out at Christmas.” Everyone is going to do what works for them, but does this thinking really work?
“The Holidays” are not an excuse to let all of your hard work the other 46 weeks of the year go down the drain. They are not a license to start reverting back to an unhealthy lifestyle and run rampant on a sugar binge. Change the way you look at the holidays, change your expectations of yourself and your behavior. If you set a standard for yourself and try to live up to it, even if you fall short, you will have succeeded. In every way. I say over and over again in my social media posts: “You run you”, and its’ true. Run the day or the day runs you.,.. run the holiday season, or it runs (ruins?) you. Have an expectation of yourself, then make a plan to help you live up to that expectation. How?
- Keep your fitness routine set in stone. As hard as it is, don’t start skipping bootcamp at 7am because you were out late at your Office party the night before. We are all adults here. Look at it as an obligation. As a work meeting. You’d show up to that meeting wouldn’t you?
- Pick your poison. Have the egg nog, but not the chocolate peppermint mousse too. What’s the one thing you look forward to the most that you don’t have the rest of the year? Let yourself have it, indulge. But don’t use that as an excuse to open the fatty floodgates.
- Weigh yourself at least every other day. This one is going to cause a big uproar, I am certain. Sorry, but if you’re going to be altering your usual behavior you should be monitoring the changes. Better to check up regularly than wake up January 1, 2016 with a 10 pound hangover.
- Change the way you celebrate. My friends and I always get together for Holiday drinks and dinners. This year, I am going to suggest we do a workout either instead of or in addition to.
- When you feel stress coming on, go sweat. This one is my golden rule. Even if its just a 15 minute set of squats and mountain climbers in your basement, I promise you will feel better after you break a sweat. Reach for the resistance bands, not the sugar cookies.
- If you fall off the plan, don’t beat yourself up! Try harder the next day.
Getting into the Holiday spirit, doesn’t have to mean revisitng your ghosts from Christmas past. Try setting some higher, newer expectations of yourself this year - you might find they are the gift to yourself that keeps on giving. Sorry, I can’t help you with the boisterous relatives.