Stay on track over the Christmas season

Tis the season to be jolly

Parties, shopping, eating, drinking… Christmas is a time for overindulgence.  So how can you stick to your goals when there is so much pressure on your time, wallet and waistline?

Do you have to stay on track?

What would the impact be if you gave yourself some time off from your goals?  Some goals can be set down for a period of time and picked up again later down the track.  For example, if you’re renovating a house you might stop at completion of the latest room pre-Christmas, and then pick up again in the new year.

Whether you can take a break depends upon the nature of the goal and the period of time you’re looking at.  If you’re goal is to lose 10kg it’s probably not a good idea to take a break completely over the festive season.  Given that the season seems to start earlier and earlier, and here in New Zealand runs into summer, that could be a break from Halloween until the end of February – you wouldn’t be likely to see great results!

Compromise

It is likely that you’ll need to balance your conflicting values through compromise.

Example: You want to save money, but you also want to give great gifts and not miss out on social events

Compromises could include:

  • Still give gifts, but set a budget beforehand
  • Handmake gifts
  • Put a lot of thought into personalising gifts – a cheaper gift is far more meaningful if a lot of thought has gone into the recipient’s interests
  • Input into the planning of social events where possible (to suggest cheaper options)
  • If entertaining at home, share the cost by asking everyone to bring a plate
  • Alternatively, splurge on this and make the saving elsewhere.  For example, go to the special dinner at the fancy restaurant, but eat simply (cheaply) at home for a week or two to cut the grocery budget
  • Or be selective about which events you go to.  If you choose to go to half the events, you could half the cost!

Many of these compromises involve spending more time instead of money.  Life is a balancing act of time vs money vs all the things you want to do.

There is no right or wrong answer as to where to compromise.  This is based on personal choice, based on your values and your current situation.  If you have more money than time, that will influence the choices that you make.  Similarly if you have more time than money.  If you’re short on both, you’ll need to review all the things you want to do!

When deciding on your compromises, make sure you don’t compromise on fun every time.  Having fun is hugely important for your health and wellbeing, so don’t sacrifice this.

Focus on the positive

Where you have chosen a compromise, focus on what you are gaining rather than what you are losing.  Check back to what’s your why? and remind yourself of all the benefits to your goals.

If you’re choosing to watch your weight over Christmas, focus on how healthy you feel and fill up on the healthier options available.  Enjoy the active side of Christmas – go for a walk after Christmas dinner, play with the kids, dance!

If you’re choosing to curb your spending, focus on the time with your loved ones and the memories that you’re creating.  Float the idea of a secret santa to cut gift-buying costs.  Make sure everyone takes a plate so no-one is left with the whole cost of entertaining (or the effort!).

Remember – this is your choice!  If it really doesn’t feel right then change it.   But remember to weigh up short term cost and long term gain.