“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”
– Frank Llloyd Wright
You know the situation all too well. You’ve been trying to accomplish something important to you: get to a healthy weight, workout regularly, declutter, eat better, climb out of debt – and then the holidays come around and sometimes it feels like you’re choosing between tradition and doing what’s right for you.
If you’re in the U.S., it starts with Thanksgiving dinner.
Then there are office holiday parties, family parties, friends visiting…
Buying gifts, relatives bringing gifts, Christmas, New Year’s – and before you know it, you’re back where you started:
- Your eating habits destroyed
- Your promise to yourself to meditate every day a distant memory
- The house is filled with even more stuff you need to find a place for
The holidays are a time for friends, family and celebration – but they can wreak havoc on your personal goals.
It’s not hopeless though. Here are five strategies I employ which help me stick with my goals – even during the holidays.
#1 – Take Advantage Of Tradition
Don’t fight it – use the holidays to your advantage by accomplish goals in line with tradition
- Quality Time With Family. I discovered when I researched my article about how to make more time for yourself that 90% of people wished they had more time to spend with friends and family. So why not take advantage of the holidays (children out of school, federal holidays, relatives visiting) to spend more time with your friends and family?
- Volunteer Opportunities. I know I often wish I could do more for those less fortunate than myself. The holidays provide many excellent opportunities to volunteer with local groups, whether it’s serving Thanksgiving dinner or donating toys.
- Donate and Clear Clutter. One of my favorites – I use winter as a time to donate my excess items (especially clothes) to charities that help the needy. Not only do they go to a good cause, but it helps me clean out my home.
Plan For Failure
I generally eat very clean and healthy – no alcohol, no sugar, lots of fresh vegetables and lean meats.
However, I know that during the holidays, I enjoy eating out with friends and family and well, with some rich comfort food.
So I plan for failure. Knowing that I’m going to eat foods I normally wouldn’t perhaps on a weekend, I make sure to eat extra strict in the week leading up to it.
The net result? Even though that meal may be off track, by planning for the failure it’s part of what I planned to do – and I can enjoy my meal without worrying about getting back on track the next day.
Get Your Family On Board
As some of you may know, I’ve been reducing unnecessary commitments as well as my possessions – and I’ve talked to my family about it and they’re on board with my goals.
Though they may not be changing their lives in the same direction as I am, just knowing my stance means I no longer receive Christmas gifts that I won’t use.
Your friends and family are supportive, and will support your goals – as long as you tell them about it and get them on board.
You know there is a lot of tasty, unhealthy food at holiday meals. Rather than accept what’s going to happen, I try to proactively thinking about what a solution might be – rather than just complaining about the situation.
For example, at pot lucks I bring salads, fresh fish, healthy wraps, etc.
Even if nobody else brings something I can fit into my diet, I’m in control of what I’m going to eat – and I will often still try what other folks bring, but most of my meal ends up being a couple items that I brought and some other friends bring.
It’s A Challenge
Finally, if all else fails and the deck is stacked against you – don’t fear it, embrace the challenge!
Self-discipline, willpower is like a muscle – you can exercise and strengthen it.
So rather than dreading the holidays as a time that will wear you down with your goals, I try to mentally spin them as a challenge.
I tell myself that if I can get through December without eating cookies, for example, then the rest of the year is going to be easy.
It’s like my own personal willpower bootcamp.
Strengthening my willpower muscles at this time of year means that they can easily handle anything that is thrown at me during the other 11 months of the year.
Another perspective a friend brought up is that it may just be too much work and not worth the extra stress to try and stick to some of our goals during the holidays.
I think there’s definitely some validity to that point as well.
Me personally? I like to be as consistent as I can – but I don’t worry about it if I occasionally don’t eat well, or stay out too late due to the holidays. Enjoying my life, and spending time with people that matter to me is high on my list of priorities as well!
Take Action Today
You don’t have to go it alone. If you like what you’ve seen so far, your next step might be to join me in my advanced training program. Take a moment to read the details about my course The Action Solution and see if it’s something you’d be interested in. It is the result of decades of experience, and hundreds of hours of making dreams a reality for real people – just like you.