4 Ways to Avoid Sabotaging Yourself During the Holidays

4 Ways to Avoid Sabotaging Yourself During the Holidays

“Rather one bird in the hand than ten in the woods” – Swedish proverb
“A sparrow in your hand is better than a pigeon on the roof” – Polish proverb
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” – English proverb

What are your December fitness goals?

Lose 5 pounds?  Run a 5k? Do 20 pullups?

Whoa, whoa.  Slow Down.  Don’t start sweating bullets. I’m not going to try and talk you into one of those.

I’m going to challenge you to do the opposite.

I’m going to challenge you to do….nothing.

Why December Is The Wrong Time To Set a Personal Record

Greg has been crushing his workouts since July. He’s gotten stronger, his times have dropped on his workouts, and he’s leaning out. Greg has even started working on his first muscle up.

Back in October, I asked Greg what his goals were. Here’s how our conversation went:

Greg: “I’m going to try and lose 10 pounds between now and the first of the year.”

Me:  “You mean 5 pounds in November, and 5 pounds in….December?”

Greg: “Yep.”

Me: “December. When your kids are out of school. When your schedule is off. When everybody’s else’s schedule is off. When you’re travelling. When you have family in town. When all the worst food is shoved in your face. When you’re stressed out and looking forward to the new year. That December?”

Greg: “Ummm….yeah. I think I see what you mean.”

Defend Yourself

Let me be a little melodramatic: the world is conspiring against you in December.

After Thanksgiving, everybody’s life goes nuts for a month.  It’s the holidays and everybody is off of their normal routine.  It’s very hard to set and keep a productive pattern.  Forget about starting a new one.

That’s the most important thing to realize.  Achieving victory in December is not about moving forward.  Achieving victory in December is about not moving backward.

But how to accomplish that?  Here are action steps you can take in December:

  1. Weigh yourself every day.  Normally I’m against this. But in December it will help you stay conscious of your weight.  When you go to shove that brownie in your mouth your subconscious will scream, “No! You’re up 2 pounds since Monday!”.
  2. Exercise at least 2 times each week.  Just because you’re not trying to set a PR doesn’t mean you can take December off.  Your body will melt back into a gelatinous puddle if you don’t keep up some level of activity.  Move it or lose it.
  3. Don’t chase good things.  Remember the proverbs I led off with?  Don’t chase good things like weight loss or new gym PRs.  It’s going to be hard to make progress in December with all the other stressors you have.  Make a plan and attack those goals in January.
  4. Don’t chase bad things.  Don’t chase bad stuff either.  Fruit cake. Christmas cookies.  It’s OK to have some but don’t tell yourself you’ll work it off in January.  That’s like trying to learn to swim with an anchor tied to your feet.

If You’re Really Serious

All of these  are good tips.  You could get started right now by weighing yourself.

But if you’re really serious, I’d recommend checking out Dai Manuel’s #NetZeroGain December Challenge.  Dai is a fitness author that has set up a challenge to keep December fun and healthy.  If you sign up (free), you’ll receive a daily email with various prompts, tips, workouts (with or without equipment), feel good challenges and the like.

Hold onto your gains and aspire to a fantastic 2016.