Ditch The New Year’s Resolutions! Why I started using December as my January.
New Year, New You? I Don’t Think So. After years of trying to master the new year’s resolution crunch, one day I finally said no more! Why? Because it just wasn’t working.
It wasn’t working easily.
Wasn’t working smoothly.
And wasn’t working in any of the ways we’re conditioned to believe it’s supposed to.
It was the same thing every single January. Instead of feeling motivated and determined to achieve my health and wellness new year’s resolution goals, a large part of me would succumb to feelings of anxiety, stress, and intimidation. I always felt the pressure to get “as fit as ever” once and for all!
You know what always made it worse? The gluttony of December. Knowing that once January hit I’d have to be obsessively rigid about diet and exercise, I’d gorge my face off throughout the holidays. I’d always think “eat it now, because January is around the corner and you’re going to be cracking the whip again”! (Case in point: my favourite holiday treats, below.)
I’d feel out of control in December anticipating the rigidity of January, and to soothe my soul I’d eat everything in sight. Then, I’d feel out of control in January due to the pressure of having to achieve unrealistic goals.
Moral of the story? I was perpetually feeling OUT. OF. CONTROL.
For years, I’d let the same thing happen: I’d quickly fall off the wagon after a few weeks of ‘new year, new you” and wouldn’t recover and / or get my sh*t together until late spring.
A Necessary Change:
Eventually, after much needed reflection around my fitness habits (and more importantly, my mindset) I decided I’d start making December my new January with the intention to recommit to healthy habits before the end of the year. The major difference? I wouldn’t make those big sweeping new year’s resolution mandates that are typically associated with the kick-off of a new year.
Instead, I’d focus on recommitting to good habits, setting some gentle health and fitness goals for the year ahead, and making better choices without being cruel to myself.
Do I stay 100% healthy in December? Absolutely not! I enjoy delicious treats throughout the holidays, just like everyone else… but I never let myself fall of the wagon. I stay focused on following three healthy holiday eating rules to keep me feeling in control, so I never feel panicked or behind when January rolls around.
For most of December I focus on cleaning up my diet (when I’m not at holiday parties) and getting in regular workouts. Then come Christmas time, if I want to indulge – I don’t feel guilty because I’m able to keep my choices balanced and my attitude positive.
There have been many advantages to approaching December like my January, but some of the biggest benefits have come from the mindset shift. To me, enjoying the month of December (and the kick off to my new year), means doing whatever I need to do to bring in the core qualities that make me feel great.
My Core Qualities for Success:
- Focused: Knowing that my main goal is to avoid feeling behind, stressed, and panicky in January helps me stay focused on healthy eating and regular exercise in December.
- Balanced: Indulging is one of my favourite things! I don’t want to miss out on delicious goodies – but by balancing treat days with healthy days, I enjoy the best of both worlds.
- Happy: I stack more healthy days in early December so that I never have to feel guilty about enjoying festivities with family and friends later in the month. Instead, I can just be happy and enjoy myself, because I’ve already put in the work.
- Present: Keeping up with regular workouts throughout December is another way that I stay present throughout the chaos of the holiday season. Even a quick workout a few days a week helps me feel more grounded / less volatile.
- Calm: Remember that anxiety I used to feel from needing to desperately catch up in January? That’s gone. With my new approach to December and January, I stay feeling pretty calm throughout the whole season.
- Confident: The holidays are a tricky time. There are treats everywhere, but you’re also expected to look great in sparkly dresses and festive halter tops. By finding a balance between health and indulgence throughout the month, I find that I’m able to stay feeling confident and empowered.
Want to stay on track throughout December and the holidays? Check out my post on handling holiday eating and learn the 3 healthy survival rules I swear by!