Staying on Track and Taking Care of Yourself During the Holidays!
SMART Goals and 8-Critical Habit Forming Steps.
Ahh the holidays, a time away from life’s stressors like work, traffic jams, crowded elevators and the never ending chain of emails. We use this to kick-back, relax and tune-out from the hectic world. Once relaxed, from the time away from the daily grind, why not use the holiday season to begin new routines and habits like exercising and healthy eating (yes you are allowed a few glasses of wine or that dark meat turkey). Utilizing the holidays to limit health damage as well as prevent a downward slide is necessary to reach new year fitness goals. Taking the time to get active and stay motivated is difficult in the holiday season (and may appear unrealistic), but here are some tips to help you stay on track, feel good, and walk into the new year ahead of the game!
The first step is planning your health and fitness goals. Whether it’s exercising three times a week, losing a certain amount of weight or being more mindful of your body, all successful goals have to follow the SMART guideline:
Specific: The less vague the better. Use numbers and timeframes and make it something that is easily identifiable. For example, to lose 6-8 pounds in the next 6-weeks.
Measurable: Give yourself a reasonable timeframe that you can keep track of. We are more likely to achieve our goals if we can track our progress.
Achievable: Set the goal within your capabilities. Yes the idea of losing 50 pounds might seem appealing, but it’s much more achievable to say “I will lose 10 pounds in one month, and 50 pounds in 6 months.”
Realistic: Be honest with yourself, and set a goal that is truly rewarding and beneficial.
Timely: Make sure you can complete your goal in a set time and that you’re giving yourself enough time to accomplish it.
The SMART guideline is extremely helpful in setting up and organizing your goal from the start. Keeping your goals SMART allows you to stay motivated throughout your journey, especially during the holidays. When creating your goal, we have to factor in our habits, which can sometimes get in the way of us achieving our goal. Here are some tips for successful habit formation:
1. Create a daily plan and make time for your fitness and health goals! Book a specific amount of time daily where you invest in your own well-being, no ifs ands or buts – it’s your health, make it count!
2. While working to complete your goal, it’s important to keep an optimistic mindset. If you miss a workout or if you eat too much one day, whatever it may be that is detrimental towards your goal, it isn’t the end of your journey. Show yourself some gratitude.
3. If you’ve done something to set yourself back be mindful. Use any deterrent as motivation to push forward and reach your goals. Push yourself each day and remind yourself what it is you are working towards and why it’s important. Understanding that the mind is the most powerful asset you have, will be one of your most effective tools.
4. Another important tip is to start small. If you are new to exercise or just trying to get back into it, avoid making ambitious goals such as working out every day. It will be easy on your body and mind to start small and work your way up.
5. Active living is making small decisions throughout your day that have a big impact on making your more active. For example, take the stairs every time instead of the elevator/escalator. Not only do you get a cardio workout and build muscle tone, you can avoid overly congested escalators – win/win situation! Other ways of active living include biking or walking to your work or any destination that is within reasonable distance.
6. Ever notice how your dog or cat automatically stretches after they wake up? Try it out yourself! After you wake up or before you go to bed, do a bit of yoga or stretching. Go for walks every night after dinner with your family. These are great ways to keep active over the holidays without giving a lot of effort, and can help motivate you to keep pushing towards your goal.
7. New year’s resolutions are often made fun for their lack of seriousness. If you make one, stick to it! Although you don’t need to wait until the new year to make a resolution, it is still a perfect opportunity to set a goal for yourself. And why not take a chance to make changes in your life for the better and improve on yourself in an area that you have always wanted to? Don’t let the cliche bashing of new year resolutions get in the way! Take it upon yourself to make it mean something and you could find yourself making huge progressions in your own life.
8. Remember that even though it’s important to push yourself towards your goals over the holidays, it’s also important to avoid burnout. Burnout can happen if you overload yourself with training or stress, and in this case could come from working too hard towards your goals when you should be relaxing. Burnout can affect you physically, rendering your muscles tired and sore, and can also affect you mentally, leaving you unmotivated and too tired to want to work towards anything. This can happen if you are doing too much too fast, especially if you are pushing yourself too hard in training, or with the new diet you are on. This goes back to the importance of starting with small goals. Take your time starting out and moving forward, and always push yourself to keep motivated, but do not over do it! Remember if you burnout you won’t be able to stay consistent.
Remember that it’s ultimately up to you to stay motivated and reach your goals this holiday season, but the InsideOut Health + Fitness staff are here to help. We love to see our clients succeed and achieve their highest potential! And for an exclusive time we’re offering our 30 Days of Giving campaign to bring you 30 days of coaching support, three one-on-one goal nutrition setting sessions, a two-for-one gift voucher for a friend and an opportunity to give back with a clothing drive. Get fit, lose weight and donate this holiday season!
If you want any tips on how you can set a goal and stay motivated throughout the holidays, contact us at: InsideOut Health + Fitness
By: Dylan Hawley