Six Ways to Stay Motivated During the Holidays

It’s no secret that holidays can sometimes be as stressful as they are exciting, and for many people holiday to-do lists shake up routines that have been perfected over the course of the year. Whether it’s maintaining a regular work out schedule, completing work before deadlines, or taking care of the many responsibilities inherent in everyday life, such as paying bills or cleaning the house, the holidays have a way of throwing our schedules off (although not always in a bad way!). If you’ve found yourself having difficulty doing the sometimes not-so-fun things during the holidays, you’re not alone. But there is hope! Here are some tips will help you maintain your schedule, get things done, and enjoy your holidays even more!

1     First and foremost, try to maintain your regular schedule as closely as possible. This begins with keeping your sleep schedule. Keeping your sleep patterns consistent will prevent a sleep hangover (i.e. sleeping in until 1pm to make up for lost sleep) and make it easier to keep your other daily tasks on track. Of course, holiday breaks allow you some degree of leniency in your schedule, and certain things could, and should, be rearranged to allow you to enjoy things you typically would not during a busy work week. For example, going to a late-night movie or dinner party with friends.

2.      Planning ahead also goes a long way to help stay motivated. Are you worried your workout routine will derail while staying at your parents’ house for the holidays? Try to find gyms or parks near their house prior to your trip, or plan a family outing that gets you moving. With planning, it is easier manage potential setbacks and stick to your commitments.

3.      Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize. And take it one task at a time. You may find it helpful to work in increments and break large projects into smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, break your large, king-of-all To-Do lists into a daily To-Do list of three of the most urgent or important things you need to accomplish. As you complete each one, cross it off (very important, as this gives you a sense of accomplishment that keeps you going!). Or, you may prefer to prioritize tasks by completing the ugliest, most dreadful task first, which makes everything afterward smooth sailing. It’s also important to reward yourself for reaching even small goals. For example, taking a five-minute break for every 45 minutes of consistent work, or Googling “puppies in pajamas” after crossing something off your list. Either works fine.

4.      Tap into gratitude to change your perception of the things you “have” to do. Think of how glad you are to have a home to clean and pay for, how glad you are to have a job that provides income, and how glad you are to have good health to be able to work out. Write these things down to have a tangible list of reminders of all the things you are thankful you “have” to do. Also, remember the reasons why you’re doing what you’re doing. Remind yourself of your long-term goals and the progress you’ve made toward them thus far to keep you motivated.

5.      Fully enjoy your breaks and the time away from your typical responsibilities. Okay, this one may seem contradictory to every point I’ve made above, but just listen. Fully enjoying the time you have off makes it easier to return to your responsibilities when you need to. If you’re spending your break worrying about all the things you need to do, did you really have a break? I say no. Set specific time limits to do the things you need to do (i.e., stop working at exactly 5pm), and when that time is over- it’s over! If possible, turn off your emails and notifications on your phone, leave your responsibilities for another time, and enjoy your time off!

6.      Lastly and most importantly, be kind to yourself. It’s okay if you don’t get everything done. Give yourself credit for the things you did accomplish, and trust that you did the best you could. The holidays are a time meant to relax and enjoy time with family and friends, eat indulgent foods, and be a little lazy. You deserve to take time for yourself and those you love- after all, life is about so much more than what’s on your to-do list!

Brooke Hudgins