Let’s dig in and look at some simple strategies for creating healthy holiday habits that you can adopt for life. Living A Bespectacled Life is all about long term, positive change. This kind of change takes time, so you won’t find a magical solution or well marketed empty promise about a quick fix here. After all, lifestyle change isn’t just doing something in the short term. Its about drawing a line in the sand and stepping into a new journey. Living Bespectacled is going the distance, starting now!
1. Plan Ahead
Did you know that decision fatigue is a real thing? We all make countless choices each day. In fact, this article suggests that on average, an adult makes around 35,000 choices each day. Over 200 choices are specifically related to food. That is A LOT of decisions. Faced with these many decisions sometimes leads to decision fatigue. Research tells us that there is a link between making multiple decisions and depletion of self-control. In other words, the more decisions we have to make, the less self control we have.
Consider the holiday season. You have no doubt already altered your routine. There are multiple new decisions to make daily. Some of these include where, what and when to eat, which places you might go, purchasing decisions, which movie to watch, what time to get up…the list could go on and on.
This is where planning ahead is super useful. Simple give yourself a few moments to plan for some of the decisions you will need to make, ahead of time. For example, if you are want to continue eating healthily, plan ahead to where you will purchase your lunch BEFORE you head to the shops for a day of shopping. You could even look at the menu online and decide what exact meal you will order. This will help you not to choose a fast food meal when you are feeling tired and hangry in the moment. This concept of planning ahead can be used in lots of situations:
- Going to a party and don’t want to drink alcohol? Plan ahead and bring your favourite non-alcoholic beverage, and consider what you are going to tell your friends so you feel prepared when they offer you a wine.
- Want to get up early and go for a walk? Plan ahead and put your clothes out the night before, set an alarm and invite a friend along to join you.
- Want to keep up a stellar effort on drinking water? Plan ahead and download an app that will remind you to drink throughout the day whilst your routine is interrupted.
2. Get Real - Get Perspective
In the grand scheme of things, is one unhealthy meal going to make you put on 30kg? No single meal or day of inactivity or event of restless sleep will lead to obesity or chronic disease. The problem with lifestyle is that we ‘infect’ ourselves with poor choices too regularly. Stacking unhealthy meals together and then adding in long term inactivity, stress, and the overall complexity of life? That sounds like a recipe for disaster!
It’s ironic really when you think about it. So often what happens is that we commit to new healthy habits, right up until we have our first slip up. Then we can fall into a negative spiral of thinking and throw the baby out with the bath water. We give up and sit on the coach, eat chocolate and remind ourselves how hopeless we are and that things will never change. We want quick fixes. Honestly- quick fixes don’t really exist.
The message here is clear: tell yourself the TRUTH. Put it in PERSPECTIVE. Get REAL. Long term, positive change takes time. There WILL be slip ups- that is inevitable. Pick yourself up and keep going!
3. Recognise that Change is a LONG TERM Commitment
Did you know that on average it takes about 66 days to form a single, simple habit? 66 DAYS! The popular (but unfortunately wrong) belief is that it takes us 3 weeks, or 21 days. In fact, the time variation for habit formation between individuals is anywhere between 18-254 days!
This brings us back to square one- how to create healthy holiday habits for LIFE.
How about a mindset shift? Rather than thinking about making a new start AFTER the holidays, why not starting with something small now? Why not make that lasting commitment to a healthier lifestyle right now? Recognise that change is hard. Know there will be hard days and that you will inevitably run into problems. Bumps in the road. That’s all they are. Pick up where you left off and keep going.
What is one small thing you could commit to today to start your journey? If you feel stuck, reach out and book a free 20 minute chat so we can discuss where you are at and how I can help you to move forward.
4. Put a Boundary Around the Holiday
Have you ever woken up in February and decided it was time to do something about all that ‘Christmas’ inactivity and poor eating choices?! I hate to break it to you, but Christmas is ONE DAY, in DECEMBER! Let’s be real here. The call to action is simple. Take the time to consider how you want to approach the holiday season:
- Is it that you want to eat drink and be merry for 2 weeks? Great, do that.
- Do you want to completely ignore your normal routine and stay up late, sleep in and do less exercise? Give yourself permission to!
- Is it that you want to only eat junk on Christmas day? Ok, great, do that!
Just don’t fall into the trap of allowing Christmas to lead into another week and another month…if you want to break your healthy routines for a short period, give yourself permission. When the time comes (one which you have pre-determined!), drink the concrete (harden up!) and move back towards your longer-term healthy lifestyle goals.
5. Wait. Or, Don't Wait!
So, there is this thing called New Year’s resolutions. Ever heard them before? Sometimes, these can be less about healthy habits and more about quick fixes.
Here’s the thing. Some people love planning ahead for a date when they are going to make positive lifestyle change. That is awesome. However. January 1 isn’t a magical date where it will suddenly be easier. So wait until then if you must- using the ideas I already suggested in this blog. On the flip side- stop saying no to yourself! For every day that you put off making that commitment, you ARE saying no. What COULD you do between now and new year (or some other date you have chosen)?
Holidays are a time to be with family, break the day to day routines and enjoy ourselves. Healthy holiday habits are great to consider in the mix of all the fun and merriment. So let's not get stuck in thinking we have to completely loose sight of our longer time health goals. Life is a journey. One day at a time, living with intention and learning from our mistakes. You got this!
I have created a free Holiday Check-in Journal to help you be more intentional these holidays. To get it, simply put your deets in the form below and it will be heading your way!