Exercise During the Holidays Part 2: Grace Over Guilt

I know the holidays bring so much joy, excitement, and gratitude; however, we can also feel a great deal of stress and guilt.  I know these past two weeks for me have been overwhelming and stressful.  I haven’t had the time or energy to do some of the everyday activities that bring me a great deal of joy the rest of the year. There have been missed workouts, cookies for breakfast, and much shorter dog walks for Luke.  If you feel the same, I am permitting you to allow yourself a substantial amount of grace for the rest of this holiday season. If you have gotten off track with your workouts or indulged more than you usually do, recognize that these are both widespread occurrences during this time of year.  You are not alone.  

Suppose you have been on track leading up to the holidays and are now feeling defeated or guilty over the past few weeks. In that case, I want to remind you not to miss the forest for the trees; as the saying goes, instead of summing up the year by only looking at the past couple of weeks, take the sum of your year as a whole. What did you do right that you can reflect on as a success? Did you manage to get in more workouts than last year? Did you tackle something hard at work? Did you make more time for the activities that bring you joy? 

Try this exercise: list all your accomplishments this past year, even if they may seem minor or insignificant. When you finish, look at everything you accomplished and congratulate yourself. Don’t allow yourself to dwell on the things you didn’t accomplish.  That’s a waste of time and doesn’t serve you. Give yourself a moment to reflect on what you felt went right in 2022. 

Allow yourself time to sit with your accomplishments before diving into goal setting for 2023. 

When you are ready to look forward, list everything you want to accomplish in 2023. Feel free to bring over the stuff you did in 2022 and want to continue into 2023. The items can be significant, like running a 5K or getting a new job, or smaller, like drinking more water or reading a book for fun. Goal-setting is an incredibly powerful tool. It provides a way for us to see what’s possible. It also helps us stay focused and driven toward what we want. 

Here are a few tips for setting a good goal:

  1. Start small and break down big goals. This helps you feel accomplished, which will go a long way toward staying on track and ultimately reaching your end goal. Smaller goals are also less overwhelming. The paralysis of overwhelm is a real thing.  Set yourself up for success.  
  2. Write it down.  I said it above, but it merits repeating. Write your goals down so you can look back on them and also so you can check them off (again, the feeling of accomplishment goes a long way towards ensuring success)
  3. Ask for help. I don’t know about you, but asking for help can be really difficult for me.  However, after finally overcoming my initial hesitation, I have rarely regretted it (except when I asked my husband to fold clothes…never again).  Asking for help keeps you moving forward and prevents the paralysis of overwhelm from sidelining you. Early this year, I wanted to make some significant changes to my website.  I tried to find a way to do it myself.  It was just too much, and the process took way longer than it should have, had I just reached out to a professional for guidance and support right away.  

I hope you feel better about 2022, the holiday season, and are now hopeful for the way ahead in 2023. Remember to give yourself some grace during this busy and stressful time of year to enjoy time with friends and family and to indulge in your holiday favorites.   

Remember, my 2023 Do More with Pilates Challenge starts Jan 1st. If one of your goals for 2023 is a strong movement practice, I would love for you to join us. You can sign up HERE!

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Do More with Pilates Challenge

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