We’re in holiday season.

And our phone is ringing off the hook! We get invitations to gatherings, parties, and events. There’s so much to do. It’s a fun time, indeed.

Now, while I encourage you to enjoy the holiday season and to eat whatever you want, drink as much as you want (responsibly), and let go and enjoy yourself, I nevertheless want to urge you against turning this into a habit.

I’ve met a lot of people who lost good momentum over the holidays. They liked drinking, overeating, and relaxing, and it’s always easier to indulge than to have self-control. So let me share with you my recommendations for what you can do to keep a good momentum and avoid forming bad habits or slipping back into your old ones. Here are some things I usually do.

1. The Day of the Holiday

I have a personal rule.

On days where I am going to indulge and enjoy myself, I do two things:(1) take care of myself physically, and (2) do something toward one of my goals.

So on December 24th, I got up early in the morning and went to the gym. I didn’t go hard. I went for moderate weights and high repetitions. I didn’t push myself too much. I didn’t struggle to complete my workout, but I got a good sweat. I enjoyed it. After that, I walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes.

When I got home, I prepared a good nutritious meal. I ate more vegetables than usual and had a cup of green tea.

At around 1:00 PM I sat down to put in a little bit of work. I sent a few emails and I wrote a draft of a post I want to circulate. I finished around 3:00 PM.

And that was it.

Later on that evening, I went out and I ate whatever I wanted. I had pizza, steak, chicken wings, cake, croissants, and more. I also enjoyed a wide mix of drinks. Yup, I woke up the next day with a headache. And that’s okay. It’s okay because I allow myself to (responsibly) let go once in a while.

2. The Day After

On December 25th, I got up and had an apple, a banana, almonds and some cherries. I drank water, had my coffee and went to the gym.

I do woke up early – as you might already know. See my insanely popular post on how to wake early in the morning: guaranteed. And because I get up early, I don’t miss breakfast with my loved ones. I am normally back home before they’re out of bed.

On December 25th, I drove to the gym to “wake my body up”. On that day, like the day before, I didn’t go hard. In fact, I chose a few exercises that I really liked and I pushed the weights “for fun.” I wasn’t trying to “get better” or break any records. All I wanted to do is to reset my body and get my blood moving.

I got on the treadmill after that and I walked for 15 minutes.

And that was it.

I took a shower, drove home and I was ready to have breakfast with the family. It felt amazing. (But be sure to focus on veggies here as well. I pour hot water over a little bit of broccoli for a few minutes, and it’s ready. It literally takes 3 minutes to get your broccoli ready.)

The feeling I get after my morning workout is incredible. I am fresh, rejuvenated and ready to laugh and have a good time. AND I don’t feel guilty for having fun and indulging the night before.

Give it a try.

If you are thinking about going to the gym the day after, then please do so. Don’t rationalize it and think about postponing it till the next day. Home workout are okay if you don’t have a choice, but in order to feel refreshed, I find that it’s best to get out of your current space for a little bit. So go to the gym. Go for 20 minutes. You’ll feel better.

3. It’s Not an Excuse

Wit the above said, the holiday is not an excuse to go back to your old habits or from bad ones. If you’re struggling with lack of motivation, diet, exercise, or you have a drinking problem, then don’t let the holidays sway you away from your commitments.

There are other ways to enjoy the festivities.

Personally, one of the best feelings I get is to choose to eat healthy in the presence of various temptations. That’s a strategy I’ve used successfully in the past (and I continue to use it when I need to). Knowing that I am the master of my ship. Knowing that I have the power to decide what I want to put inside my body despite social recommendations and approval to “just have fun” gives me confidence that I can live the life that I truly desire. It give me confidence that I can consciously steer my ship wherever I choose to take it.

Next time you feel tempted, imagine how good you will feel the next day for making a conscious decision to stick to your goals despite the temptations. It will feel and taste much better than anything you would’ve had the night before.

Be safe and have fun.