If you want to stop eating too much during the holidays you have two choices:
- You can decide what you’re NOT going to do. “I am not going to eat chocolate cake or those cute little holiday cookies with icing and sprinkles and such pretty decorations….”
- You can think about what you ARE going to do. “I will drink enough water to stay well hydrated.”
Approach Or Avoid Mindset
When I was a sales manager for a medical company I took a training course called Pathways to Leadership. Two things I’ve always remembered:
Your mind can’t avoid a “don’t.”
You go toward what you focus on.
Thus when you think about what you’re going to stop eating, it’s likely your mind is drawn to it and you want it more.
Avoidance goals (those focused on what you’re not going to do) create more stress and anxiety. That’s not good–doesn’t stress and anxiety sometimes make you want to eat more? Psychologists comparing approach and avoidance goals say an avoidance mindset is linked to less happiness and wellbeing. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.206
Health Goals That Work
I think we can learn about health goals that work from mountain biking, kayaking, or horseback riding. I wrote about that in an earlier blog https://deborahrankinrd.com/health-goals-that-work/
Whether you need to ride over a rock, paddle past an obstacle, or get your horse to jump, the common advice is “look in the direction you want to go.”
What if, instead of telling yourself you have to stop eating too much during the holidays, you visualized yourself waking up on New Year’s Day this year feeling strong, calm, and energized?
The premise is simple: forget about starting a diet or a exercise program in the new year! Instead, live during November and December so you don’t have to make corrections. Also gain benefits like:
- Less holiday stress
- Feel more calm and relaxed
- Lift your spirits against holiday sadness
- Feel less tired
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