This article by Executive Contributor Lisa Hammett was first published in Brainz Magazine.
It’s six weeks until the start of the New Year. Next week is Thanksgiving in the US. For many individuals, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season.
The holidays can be challenging if you’re trying to lose weight, get healthy, or maintain weight
Seasonal temptations abound. You may have a tradition of baking cookies or other special treats. Tis the season for festive parties and get-togethers with family and friends. Trying to limit our indulgences can be very difficult. Completely checking out often becomes the most desirable option. This is giving yourself permission to eat whatever you want, in whatever portion size you want, for the entire holiday season, without any regard to health and wellness. It often involves minimal activity.
Checking out, provides the least amount of resistance
As humans, we take the path of least resistance. We want easy peasy. If it’s easy, we’re more inclined to do the behavior. If it’s challenging, we’re less likely to do the behavior. Therefore, limiting our indulgences is less desirable because it requires willpower, which is overrated, and involves more friction.
When we check out for the holiday season it sets us up for more challenges in the New Year, including doing major damage control in January. This can feel very restrictive and is not sustainable. You may be successful for the first 2-3 weeks of January but are likely to fall off when you begin to feel deprived. Deprivation leads to irritability which impacts mindset, making it difficult to achieve goals.
A negative mindset sabotages our efforts to be successful by generating doubts about ourself and our performance. Tasks become more difficult to complete, productivity declines, and communication with others becomes strained. Before we know it, our best intentions for a happy, healthy, successful New Year have disappeared.
How do we manage our behavior so we set ourselves up for success in the New Year?
We start by setting realistic expectations for the remainder of the year. It may look something like this.
Determine the number of holiday celebrations you’ll experience in the next 45 days. For example, there may be 10 days that involve holiday temptations and celebrations. That leaves 35 days to focus on a healthy diet and activity. Think of activity in terms of moving more throughout the day. Park farther away, take the stairs, get up every hour to walk around your office or home for a couple minutes. Holiday shopping counts as activity too!
Develop a strategy for the 10 days of holiday celebrations. Plan ahead of time what you’ll eat. If you are going to a friend’s house for a party, bring a healthy dish. Focus on your non-negotiables, those favorite foods that you may only have during this time of the year. Plan for a manageable portion and forgo other high calorie foods that are not as desirable. Prevent over-eating by sharing meals at restaurants and packing a to-go box. Keep your most enticing holiday temptations out of your house. Enjoy them at parties, but don’t bring them home.
In my international best-selling book, From Burnout to Best Life
I share other important tips for developing sustainable healthy habits. I also include a section for creating a laser focused vision for the New Year. You’ll find my book on Amazon, From Burnout To Best Life on Barnes & Noble, and other distribution channels worldwide.
Here’s to setting yourself up for an amazing 2023!