Healthy Holiday Challenge: How to Create Your Own?

Sherwin Garcia

November 30, 2021

The holidays are filled with family, friends, delicious meals, and wonderful memories. However, they’re not entirely compatible with a healthy lifestyle. When the holiday season arrives, it’s easy to fall back on our usual healthy eating and exercise routines. That’s one of the reasons why creating a healthy holiday challenge for yourself is a great idea. 

What is it exactly?

Healthy Holiday Challenge Defined

It should: 

  • Help you pinpoint and track several healthy habits 
  • Encourage you to move your body every day  
  • Allow you to enjoy guilt-free treats in moderation 
  • Enable you to focus on self-care daily
  • Hold yourself accountable with a caring approach
  • Be a fun way to keep you from gaining weight during the holidays

 

It shouldn’t:

  • Deprive and ask you to always say no to holiday treats
  • Follow a special diet or strict meal plan that presents an “acceptable food” list
  • Finally, it isn’t a specified workout program, although movement is essential at this time of year. 

 

How to Create Your Own Healthy Holiday Challenge

 

Step 1: Start with a Specific Goal in Mind 

Set a goal, write down your reason for choosing that goal, and finally, don’t forget to pick a reward. 

Start by Setting a Goal

Kickstart your Healthy Holiday Challenge by determining what you want to accomplish once you complete it. 

A popular goal that’s usually being set during this time is keeping yourself from gaining weight. 

Putting your goal into writing is necessary to ensure that you’ll succeed in the challenge. So make use of the notes app on your phone, a Word doc, or old reliables, like a pen and paper, and start writing down the things that you hope to achieve. 

Figure Out Your Why

After setting your goal, the next step is to figure out your why. Essentially, it answers the question, “Why do you want to have a healthy holiday season?” You might say, “So I don’t start the New Year with feelings of regret,” or “So that my little black dress will fit me nicely on New Year’s Eve.” 

Whatever your why is, keep in mind that it’s something unique and specific to you. Writing it down is always a great idea. 

Pick a Reward

Often, a coveted payoff upon completion of the challenge provides added motivation as you run its course. Take the time to think about what to reward yourself. It can be a day at the spa, a new pair of performance footwear, or even essential oils to help keep you relaxed and energized throughout the day. 

The choice is yours. Pick a reward that’ll keep you motivated and write it down.

 

Step 2: Take Note of your Current and Relevant Stats 

Not exactly the most fun part of this activity, and for a good reason. Nobody really likes jumping on a scale to take a reading. However, this step is a must to determine if you succeeded in conquering the challenge. Unfortunately, you won’t know if you did without knowing your starting point. 

At the minimum, take note of your weight and the measurement of your waist. If you want, you may also measure your chest, arms, hips, thighs, and calves. Remember that you’re only keeping track of their measurements to serve as a data reference point. You don’t have to feel any guilt over the numbers.

   

Step 3: Pinpoint at least 4 or 5 Healthy Habits to Set your Sights On 

Select goals you think will work best for you that are also realistic. You wouldn’t want to set goals that’ll prove too challenging to accomplish—for instance, running 5 miles a day and sticking to an 1100-calorie diet plan aren’t the best goal ideas you’d like to set.

In the process of selecting the healthy habits you want to focus on, think of simple and doable tasks you can do every day that you’ll benefit from without leaving you stressed or feeling deprived. 

 

This is where SMART goals come in. SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.  

Some of the goals you might want to consider or modify to better suit your needs include: 

SMART Goal #1: Stay Active

  • Get up 15-30 minutes earlier, five days per week, to either take a walk or perform flexibility stretches
  • When watching TV, get up and move around during commercial breaks. 

SMART Goal #2: Maintain Your Weight

  • Start each holiday party with a salad to avoid overindulging in less nutritious party fare.
  • Practice mindful eating by minimizing distractions, including gadgets and work tasks. 

SMART Goal #3: Make Healthy Eating Choices

  • Add an extra serving of fruit or vegetables between lunch and dinner four days a week.
  • Begin your day with a nutritious breakfast five days a week. 

SMART Goal #4: Avoid Overspending

  • Go over your budget and figure out how much you can realistically spend on gifts.
  • Look for ways to save money. For instance, instead of buying from a coffee shop, brew your own coffee five days a week.

SMART Goal #5: Reduce Stress

  • Map out your to-dos for the entire week, so you know what needs to be completed.
  • Spend 15 minutes before bedtime, three nights a week, doing something relaxing, such as reading.

SMART Goal #6: Get a Good Night’s Rest

  • Commit to getting at least 7 hours of sleep on most nights. 
  • Avoid consuming any food or beverage that contains caffeine late in the day. 

 

Step 4: Keep Track of Your Progress While Holding Yourself Accountable in the Process

How will you know how you’re doing if you don’t track your progress and hold yourself accountable? The answer is, you won’t. 

Therefore, you should push yourself to revisit your goals and keep track of the habits you’ve chosen. One idea you can consider is creating miniature printable planners while completing your holiday challenge. These planners will remind you of your goals every day and allow you to monitor if you’re following through on your healthy habits as planned.

You can think about it this way: “Every time I open my planner, I’m holding myself accountable.”

The good thing about tracking and being accountable to yourself is that you can see how you’re doing at a glance. Do I eat mindfully every time? Yes or no. Did I exercise? Yes or no. Did I stop eating at 8 pm? Again, yes or no. 

If you look through your planner and don’t notice any boxes checked, you’ll know you need to either step up your game or focus on a different habit altogether.

Accountability is essential for achieving success. Definitely, you don’t need to hire a coach, a Facebook group, or your spouse to hold you accountable. You’re capable of doing that on your own. There’s really no excuse.

 

Step 5: Evaluate Your Challenge, Reward Yourself, and Start Another Challenge with a Fresh Goal in Mind

Evaluate Your Challenge

In your printable planner, notebook, mobile app, or wherever you tracked your progress, take the time to assess not just how you did with the challenge but the challenge itself. Did you track your healthy habits diligently? Were you able to hit your goal? Was it a fun and positive experience overall? 

Also, part of the evaluation is noting what you’ll do the following year differently. As early as January, you may write down in your planner what your next healthy holiday challenge is for next year. 

Reward Yourself 

By the time you complete the challenge, don’t forget to reward yourself properly as you promised at the onset of the holiday season. At this point, it’s also important to remind yourself that perfection isn’t the goal. Instead, consistency is. 

Hitting your goals most of the time makes you deserving of a reward. 

Pick a New Goal 

The healthy habits you’ve worked hard for don’t end on New Year’s Day. Ride the momentum and think about the goals you want to conquer next. 

You can set your sight on a 5K run, lose a few pounds, or maybe even stop eating fast food. 

As you know, things can become quite hectic this time of year. Planning is crucial in helping you stay on track with your goals and get the new year started on the right foot, so you don’t have to play catch-up on the healthy holiday challenge you set up for yourself.

Now that you know how to create your own healthy holiday challenge, what are the goals you intend to realize this year? Make sure to share them with us in the comments field.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy holiday season! 

 

  

 

    

 

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Sherwin is one of the resident bloggers of BodyTrends who writes mainly about diet, exercise, and other topics in the health and wellness niche. His journey as a wellbeing advocate started way back in secondary school when he got cut from the varsity team due to conditioning concerns. While he didn’t realize his dreams of becoming a professional athlete a decade later, he’s able to improve his fitness constantly by adhering to nutrition and other personal care programs. Through writing, he wants to inspire others to lead a healthier lifestyle as we usher in the post-pandemic era.

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