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As we slide into the 2019 holiday season, our attention will naturally turn toward fun holiday parties, stressful shopping excursions, and yummy sugar-filled desserts. It seems way too early to start planning anything for 2020… but is it really?
Actually, it’s not. The fact of the matter is that our workout schedule (and our wellness in general) often suffers during the holiday season, which means some of us (okay, me… but maybe you too) have to start the New Year almost from scratch in our exercise routines.
But what if you didn’t do that this year? Rather, what if you planned ahead for your 2020 exercise goals and actually started working toward them right now during the holidays? Imagine what that would be like….
The Benefits of Planning Ahead
Increase Your Motivation
There are a number of benefits to starting your 2020 goals in 2019. For starters, it can help keep you inspired to get to the gym. I think we can all agree that it’s harder to muster up the motivation to work out during the last two months of the year. It gets dark so early, we haven’t gotten used to the chilly weather yet, and sometimes there are just more fun things to do! But if you know what your 2020 goals are, you can use them as motivation to stick to your exercise schedule to get you through the holiday season.
Fight Holiday Stress
A second benefit to starting your 2020 goals in 2019 is that keeping a consistent workout practice will help you beat the stress that can come during the holidays. As much as we wish it didn’t, the family-filled holiday season can sometimes bring more than just peace and joy… it can also bring conflict, anxiety, frustration, and overwhelm. But, the mind-body connection is real and the endorphins released during a workout help decrease the brain chemicals that are related to stress. These “feel-good” endorphins that come when you exercise boost your mood and release tension from your body. A win-win!
Focus On Your Values
At Lincoln Park Therapy Group, we teach something called Values Clarification (you can check out this article to learn more about this process). The Values Clarification technique is a way to identify and enhance certain values that are important to you, while gaining awareness about how they influence your lifestyle and decision-making. By establishing your 2020 goals now, you are laying the foundation for your exercise practices in the new year. We call these “practices”, because they are ongoing habits that you are building that will prevail long after you’ve reached your 2020 goals. Identifying your 2020 goals in 2019 also helps you establish that working out and attaining goals related to your physical health is an important part of your life, or a value that you hold. Essentially, you are training your brain to recognize the importance that exercise has in your life and helping yourself to build long-lasting practices to support this value… practices that can withstand the chaos of the holiday season.
Simple Tips to Keep Calm and Exercise On
Let’s face it… even with all the commitment, motivation, and values-driven decision-making you can muster, it can still be hard to find time to work out during the holidays. Here are some simple tips to help keep you on track and moving toward your 2020 goals:
Go Get Started
Now that you’re aware of some of the benefits to planning for your 2020 goals, I hope you will give some serious consideration to setting them and starting to build your workout practices that will help you achieve them. Imagine what it will be like in six or eight months after you’ve achieved your goal, looking back on the commitment you made to yourself way back in November 2019. Think about the smile one your face and how proud you will be when you’ve crossed that finish line, completed that competition, or participated in that event. Just thinking about that accomplishment should boost your mood a bit right now. What if you could ride that adrenaline all the way through the holiday season? Imagine how great you’ll feel...
Nicolle Osequeda is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Daring Way Facilitator, and a member of the Financial Therapy Association, which supports the integration of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects that influence financial well-being. She is the Founder and Director of Lincoln Park Therapy Group, Chicago’s premiere group therapy practice with offices in Lincoln Park and East Lakeview.