6 Ways to Set Health and Fitness Goals this Holiday Season

It’s hard to believe the holidays are fast approaching. The next few months will be full of parties, treats, and extra time with family and friends, so it’s no surprise that many of us find ourselves a few pounds heavier by the time January rolls around.

The good news is, holiday weight gain can be avoided. All it takes is a little planning. As a Registered Dietitian, I encourage everyone to take a few moments to set some personal goals for the holiday season. These goals should be designed to help you stay on track when you find yourself faced with temptation.

Let’s dive into making realistic holiday goals!

Remember to make your goals SMART!

  • Specific: I’m going to strength train (arms, legs, core) 3 times per week for the next 3 months.
  • Measurable: I’m going to track my measurements (arms, legs, core) in Anytime Health to see results.
  • Attainable: I have time to workout 5 times per week, which makes 3 strength workouts possible.
  • Relevant: I want to look good in my wedding dress and toning through strength training will help achieve that look.
  • Time Frame: 3 months gives me time to focus on improving my arm, leg, and core strength.

Here are some tips:

  1. Plan your social events ahead of time. Make sure to have your evenings planned out in advance. This way, even if your calendar is jam-packed, you can prepare an on-the-go healthy snack before you leave the house; or pack a gym bag to workout during lunch.
  2. Compromise with yourself. Don’t tell yourself you can’t eat any of the holiday treats, just realize that you can’t eat ALL the holiday treats. Remember, if you’re enjoying a few alcoholic beverages and eating a cookie as well, you’re getting extra calories from two different sources. Try setting a goal to stick to 1-2 drinks per event and choose a smaller dessert to savor or share with a friend!
  3. Make your own. If you know that you’ll be tempted but are determined to avoid the unhealthy options that are often found at parties, make it a goal to bring a healthy appetizer or dessert to each party you attend. This way you’ll have at least one healthy option available.
  4. Watch the clock. When food is prepared and readily available it’s easy to eat and eat and eat. Make it a goal to give yourself 20-30 minutes for each course so that your stomach has time to communicate with your brain, giving you a chance to realize you’re full.
  5. Be social. If you find yourself grazing when standing next to the buffet table, make it a goal to seek out someone who is sitting elsewhere. Or start a game of cards or bring out the monopoly. In many cases, out of sight, out of mind will apply and you’ll find yourself enjoying the company and not thinking about the food!
  6. Make exercise a priority. Even when the weather gets cold and your schedule gets busy, you need to make an effort to get your blood pumping. Try adding workouts to your calendar just like you add other events and don’t give yourself any excuse to skip out. Make it a goal to exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days per week.

By setting a few simple goals for yourself before the holiday craziness begins, you’ll be well positioned to stay on track for a happy and healthier holiday season!

What are some of your SMART holiday goals?

Photo credit: Silvia Sala | angietorres

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Lindsay is Registered Dietitian and writes about food and fitness at The Lean Green Bean. She shares healthy recipes, fun workouts, and snapshots of her life. She lives with her husband in Ohio and enjoys traveling and spending time outside with her dogs.