3 Tips to Staying on Track Over the Holidays

With special events, parties, family gatherings, and travel plans, the holidays can throw off your regular routines and make it especially challenging to stay focused on your health goals. It’s no secret that this time of year can be a bit of a health and wellness rollercoaster, but with a few thoughtful strategies, you can continue improving your health without feeling deprived or stressed. In this article, we’ll explore three essential tips to help you stay on track over the holidays and enjoy the season without sacrificing health.

1. Remember the “Why” Behind Your Goals

When it comes to maintaining your health goals during the holiday season, it’s crucial to remember the “why” behind your commitment. Why did you set these goals in the first place? Most people set health goals tied to feeling better, being more present with their family, or being able to enjoy the future as they age. The holidays should reinforce your “why” and motivation to achieve your goals, not feel like a distraction from what is most important.

This is the perfect time to reflect on your initial reasons for setting those health goals. Take a moment to remind yourself of the positive changes you’ve experienced and the impact these goals have had on your life. By keeping your “why” at the forefront of your mind, you’ll find the determination to stay on track and make healthier choices, even when tempted to indulge in winter specialties.

Father cooking with his soon, pouring oil over some veggies in a bowl

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Alter or Start New Traditions

Traditions can be a significant part of the holiday season, but they don’t have to be obstacles to your health goals. If every year you look forward to spending time your family while baking cookies but feel tempted to snack on cookies for a week or dislike how your stomach feels after eating them, consider altering the tradition. Instead of indulging in a cookie feast, share them with your neighbors or donate the freshly baked goods to your local homeless shelter. This way, you can continue a meaningful tradition while also promoting acts of kindness and staying committed to your goals.

Alternatively, if you always dread spending a whole day in the kitchen baking, consider starting a new tradition for family time together. You can explore activities like walking around to look at the neighborhood lights, going ice skating, or volunteering together. By finding ways to make traditions something you look forward to or creating new ones, you’ll be less likely to compromise your health goals during the holiday season while still enjoying the intention behind the original tradition.

a table filled with food as people enjoy a family style meal together

3. Don’t Forget It’s Just a Single Day

One crucial perspective to maintain during the holiday season is that these festivities are special events on specific days, not the entire winter season. While indulging in a hearty Thanksgiving meal can be enjoyable, remember that one particularly large meal on a holiday will have little to no impact on all the effort you have put in throughout the year. However, if you feast every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it could hinder your hard-earned results.

During the holiday season, focus on making your daily choices a priority. Continue with your regular exercise routine and maintain a balanced diet so that when you do enjoy special moments you can be fully present, not worrying if it will ruin all your hard work and progress so far. By keeping the big picture in mind, you’ll realize that a few indulgent meals won’t derail your progress. It’s all about balance and moderation.

The holidays should be a time of joy, togetherness, and gratitude, and they don’t have to be a period of guilt or deprivation. By following these three tips—remembering your “why,” altering or creating new traditions, and keeping the holiday indulgence in perspective—you can navigate the holiday season while staying on track with your health goals. Remember that progress is the goal, not perfection. There may be days when your kids’ holiday play interrupts your daily scheduled walks, or nights when you have to compromise a few hours of sleep to pick your family up from the airport. These moments are part of life, and it’s essential to enjoy them without unnecessary stress.

After all, health is not an all-or-nothing endeavor, and the holidays should be a time to celebrate life with the people you love. Embrace the season with enthusiasm and make choices that align with your long-term well-being.