How To Stay On Track Through The Holidays

Are you one of those people that absolutely dreads to holidays or loves them? Do you already have a headache just thinking about getting everyone dressed and ready, loaded in the car with the crock pot of macaroni (praying it doesn’t leak), just to go to grandmas house so everyone can ask you the same questions about what you’re doing in life over and over again? Or maybe you love the holidays and have been looking forward to grandmas famous Thanksgiving lunch for weeks and you’re ready to put on your stretchy pants and “Gobble til you Wobble”.  Either way, it’s safe to say it’s hard to stay on track during the holidays. We tend to throw our budget to the wind, our diet and exercise plans go out the window, our routines are forgotten, and sometimes we say things out of frustration (or too many cups of eggnog) that damage relationships.

Well, ladies and gentlemen I’m about to help you stay on track during the holidays! If we start thinking and being intentional now, the holidays will be a walk in the park.

First, let’s talk about the budget. Per a Gallup study, Americans are projected to spend over $1 trillion over the holiday season this year. That’s a ton of money y’all!! 33% of Americans will spend over $1,000 on gifts. The average person spends $920 on gifts. You know that retailers know you’re shopping. And boy do they play on your emotions to try to get you to go over budget and buy on impulse. Don’t be a sucker y’all. Remember we have goals, we have dreams, we have big plans and have to stay on budget! I know your kids would adore that $200 LOL Suprise Doll House but, is it worth being $200 short on your utility bills, or $200 more on the 21% interest credit card? Come on, you know they will get bored with it after about an hour. Is that $200 emotional purchase really worth 1 hour of playtime, crowding their bedroom, and months of moving it to clean around it. This year let’s get intentional about our spending. Take some time to really think about the gifts you’re buying. Plan your gifts out, make a list, and a budget before even stepping foot in the store or shopping online. And if you can’t afford gifts this year, don’t buy them. I promise your family and friends will completely understand. If someone gives you a hard time just remember, that kind of person really isn’t worth going into debt over. Plus, you can always get creative with gifts. You can make something like homemade sugar scrubs or even give a cute certificate for a service like a house cleaning. The point is, make a plan now of what you can truly afford and be intentional about the gifts you purchase. A little time spent planning can keep you well on your way toward your financial goals. 

Next, let’s talk about your health. Most diets tend to fail during the holidays, in fact, most adults gain about a pound. That’s because we tend to over-indulge or over eat due to stress. Here are seven tips to help keep you on track toward your health goals. 

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast. Don’t load up on sugar or carbs, instead opt for a meal high in protein and fiber. This will keep you feeling fuller and satisfied longer. 
  2. Go easy on the appetizers. You can easily eat 1500 calories before you even get to the main meal. Only try your favorites and limit them.
  3. Watch your portion sizes. The average dinner plate is 14 inches. Try using a smaller plate or only filling your plate half full. 
  4. Enjoy your favorite dishes. Practice mindfulness when your eating. Take time to truly enjoy the flavor of each bite.
  5. Bring a healthier version of your favorite dish. Search online for healthy alternatives for one of your favorite dishes. Take it to your family gathering so you can enjoy it and save yourself a ton of calories. 
  6. Easy on the booze. Eggnog alone has 160 to 290 calories. Add a shot to it and add another 60 calories. Perhaps you prefer wine. One 5 ounce glass will set you back about 125 calories. Like beer, it will cost you about 160 calories. Or maybe you just like a little Rum and Coke. That combo will add set you back a whopping 361 calories. Like with everything else weigh your options and be mindful. Decide if your prefer to have a piece of pie or drink your dessert. 
  7. Forgive yourself. No matter how hard we try sometimes the temptation of grandmas homemade dressing or deviled eggs can be too much. Just try to catch yourself and practice restraint but don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself and get back on track your very next meal. Definitely don’t wait until Monday. Jump back on track before you get completely derailed.

Lastly, let’s talk about relationships. If you’ve watched any Hallmark movies you know that family gatherings are a prime place for arguments to arise. Know this going in and strive to keep the peace this holiday. Before you leave your house practice gratitude. Write down 20 things you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude is proven to make you happier.

If you know Uncle Todd is going to harass you about the same thing he does every year then prepare for it. What can you say or how can you respond to diffuse the situation. Even go through a practice scenario with your spouse or a friend. It may seem silly now but, it will totally be worth it when you are prepared and get by unscathed. 

Be intentional. Take time to really enjoy the laughter of the children running through the house. Enjoy the stories and wisdom shared around the table. Life is short and we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Remember that, and cherish the moments you have with family and friends. 

Think now about what you want to take away from the holidays. Is it great memories? Time with aging loved ones? To rebuild broken relationships? Whatever it is write it down and remember that. Remember why you are there. 

The dishes may be great but, nothing compares to the people we share it with. 


You Are in Control