5 Steps To Crossing The 2019 Finish Line With No Regrets

Ready or not, here come the holidays!  The season of joy and giving can also be the season of stress and excess. 

Celebrations, travel and gifting are all good things AND there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”.  Often the strategy for getting through the holidays is to go into “survival mode”.

We put our good habits on hold, or throw them under the bus altogether.  We also avoid starting anything new, telling ourselves it’s OK, because the new year will bring with it a chance to start fresh—the “new year, new you” mindset. 

But that strategy is a losing battle.  We start the new year playing catch-up which takes us further from our vision of a healthy new year.  Worst of all, the increased stress and lack of routine can allow unsupportive habits to sneak in and take root.

 

Want this holiday season to be your best yet? 

Follow these 5 steps:

 

Step 1:  CREATE A VISION

Picture yourself at midnight on New Year’s Eve celebrating your best holiday season yet. How are you measuring that success?

Before things get too busy, take some time to get really specific about what a successful and healthy holiday season would look like.  It might mean continuing the weight loss journey you started earlier this year.  Or, it might mean feeling less harried and stressed and more “present” in the moment.

Maybe you want to avoid the seasonal financial crunch, or avoid over indulging with food and drink.

Mindset is everything. The VISION is the map or itinerary that sets expectation for the brain.  The brain will search for evidence and opportunities to validate your vision.  The more specific the vision, the easier it is to align small positive behaviors.  

 

Step 2:  CHOOSE A SIMPLE STRATEGY (or two!)

Ask yourself what or why you want to change this year.  The answers provide the strategies.  

For example,  “I want to be less stressed this holiday season”, or, “I want to avoid over-spending”, or “I want to lose a few more pounds”.

 

Step 3:  CHOOSE YOUR TACTICS

These are the small, consistent habits that are going to support your strategies.  Similarly to creating the vision, the “trick” is to be SUPER specific. 

Ask yourself:

• What am I going to do? 

• How am I going to do it?

• When am I going to do it?  

You could start with what is already working in your favor and build from there.  This capitalizes on the consistency and efficiency that your brain seeks.

If your vision is to maintain your current weight, and you know that party food and drink might be a barrier, consider adding 5-10 minutes more to your regular workouts.

Or, maybe this is a chance to finally give “intermittent fasting” a try.  

Wait, what?  Try something new at this time of the year?  YES!!  Sometimes the best time to adjust your routine is when it’s already been thrown off course.  Since the brain isn’t sure what to expect, something new doesn’t seem as jarring.

Delaying your first meal or skipping dinner might be the way to enjoy that party and stay on track with your weight goals.

Another example:  Is keeping ahead of your finances this season part of your vision?  It might be helpful to check you bank account every morning.  If your current routine is to start the coffee and then check social media, wedge the “bank account check” between coffee and Facebook to increase your chances of success.  

 

Step 4:  CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY

Set yourself up for the dopamine hit that comes with checking something off of your to-do list.  

SCHEDULE your new habit by writing it ON YOUR CALENDAR.  This prioritizes this commitment to yourself as you would an important appointment with someone else.

SHARE your intentions with a buddy (or group of buddies).  The positive peer pressure can work in your favor.

CELEBRATE your success.  Give your brain a reason to want to do the habit again.  Even something as simple as a positive phrase spoken out loud (“YAY, Kelly, YOU DID IT!") provides a reward and encourages a repeat performance.

 

Step 5:  WRITE OUT AN INTENTION STATEMENT

Keep this handy and read it first thing and last thing every day.  Use your insights from steps 1-4 to complete this statement:

“To support my vision of___________________________, I am committing to (strategy/strategies) by doing the following (tactics—be specific with what, where, when and how).

 

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A final word of encouragement - 

Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress...  Any positive change, no matter how small, is a win!

 

“Winning does not always mean coming in first...real victory is in arriving at the finish line with no regrets because you know you've gone all out”  

(I love this quote from Olympic short track speed skater Apolo Ohno because it focuses less on the outcome and more on the effort.)  

 

So, “CHEERS!” to crossing the year-end finish line with momentum, enthusiasm and NO REGRETS!

 

Our “Surviving and Thriving During the Holidays” group coaching program is November 6 from 7-9 pm

 

Go to www.foundationmed.com to find out more and sign up to reserve your spot. All journeys start with the first step !

 

 

 

Author
Kelly O'Brien, NBC-HWC Kelly Day O’Brien is a Duke Integrative Medicine trained Integrative Health Coach and has over 25 years of healthcare-related experience. As a FoundationMED Health Coach, Kelly provides resources, support and accountability as you strive to make healthy changes. She has extensive experience with the diet and lifestyle recommendations that serve as the foundation for your treatment plan. Guided by her coaching expertise, you’ll set a plan in motion to achieve your vision of optimal health. Through a collaborative partnership, you’ll identify obstacles to change and create strategies for sustainable health and wellness goals.

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