Holiday parties and family gatherings, along with all the extra food and drink, can make it easy to get off track. That is unless you have a plan. Use these strategies to keep up with your fitness commitment. Why start all over in January when you can stay the course instead?

Memorize a mantra

Get clear about your motivation for achieving health goals. When your why is meaningful to you, the how of it will be easier. Maybe you want to reduce your a1c, have more energy or look and feel your best. Whatever the reason, make sure it really matters to you. Now make a mantra to help you stay encouraged. For example:


I am choosing my health in this moment.

I listen to my body and eat only when I am hungry.

It is easy for me to stay on track.

Everything in moderation, tomorrow is another day.


Practice the 80/20 rule

Staying on track doesn’t have to mean deprivation. Aim instead for moderation. Choose foods that support your fitness goals 80 to 90% of the time and save room for treats. Remember, tomorrow is another day. Just because something is in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat it. When you do go for the treat, take time to savor. Slow down and give yourself over to the taste, texture and experience of the food you are eating.


Schedule exercise

Don’t let holiday excess push exercise off your calendar. Just like you schedule meetings or other can’t miss commitments, you can schedule workouts. Think you don’t have time. Try this:


  • Skip the late show or that last glass of wine and get up 15 to 30 minutes earlier.
  • Break your workout into two or three 10-minute sessions.
  • Gather family or friends for a hike or a game in the yard that gets everyone moving.
  • Sneak in fitness – take the stairs, park the car farther away, dance or do jumping jacks when you have a minute or two to spare.


Create clear boundaries

Take the guess work out of the fitness game. You’ll have an easier time of staying on track when you create clear boundaries for yourself. For example:


  • I will eat X servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • I will exercise for X minutes X times each week.
  • I will maintain my weight at or below X pounds.


Use your phone or a journal to track your progress. Monitor progress by weighing and/or recording food intake daily. When you fall short, simply forgive yourself and begin again. Never give up. Give yourself the support and permission you need to begin again as many times as is necessary to get where you are trying to go.


We are heading into the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall off the fitness wagon. Get clear about why your fitness goals matter to you. Decide on a mantra you will use to stay encouraged. Fit fitness into your schedule (you can find time no matter how busy you are) and set up some parameters for yourself. You are more likely to be successful with appropriate motivation, self-encouragement and a plan. You’ve got this.