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How to stay motivated to work out during the holidays: 5 tips

Easy ways to stay on track, decrease stress, and keep moving your body during the holiday season.

They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year...but for a lot of people, it can also be the busiest and most stressful.

And while you may know that movement ultimately makes you feel better, exercise is often the first thing to go when our schedules fill up and we’re feeling stressed.

But it’s in those moments – when we feel the most “bleh” and it feels hardest to find time in the day – when we need movement the most.

Here are my favorite ways to stay motivated and connected, to make sure I keep moving my body during the holidays.

1. Make a plan and schedule it

You are much more likely to stick to a workout routine if you have it planned out in advance. At the beginning of the week, take a look at your calendar and schedule your workouts.

And I mean physically write them down in a planner or block off time in your Google calendar. Know exactly when you are going to move your body and treat it like any other appointment that you won't skip. Make moving your body equally as important in your calendar as Christmas shopping, going to the doctors, or your work meeting.

2. External accountability

It’s okay to get a little help. When you have something (or someone) other than just you holding yourself accountable, you’re more likely to see your workout through.

Work out with a friend – take an in-person class together, go for a walk or run, or log in to the same virtual class and chat about it before and after. Sign up in advance for an in-person class where you are penalized if you cancel (such as a small cancellation fee). Schedule a few sessions to work privately 1:1 work with a trainer, virtually or in-person.

Finding an extra layer of accountability can make all the difference in staying motivated.

3. Prioritize sleep

It’s so simple, but something countless people still forget to prioritize. Getting a good night's sleep – between 7 and 9 hours, depending on your body – is essential for having the energy to work out.

Sleep is time for your body to recover and recharge. While so many people think they are “just fine” on 4, 5, 6 hours of sleep, they really have just grown accustomed to life without recovery and don’t know how good their body can feel when they get proper rest. So stop scrolling on your phone or spending hours on late night holiday shopping and actually log off from your devices and close your eyes.

Sleep is not a “nice to have” – it is a must have. If you want to get your best workout in, have more energy and reduce your stress, make sure you log 7-9 hours between the sheets at night.

4. Intentional Mindset

Choose to actively have a positive mindset about movement. It matters. You want to set a goal for yourself and make the decision to, purposefully, recommit to that goal every single day.

Now this doesn't mean you won't feel stressed or unmotivated – but what it does mean is that you have the power to change the way you think when those feelings and holiday stressors starts to creep in.

When you start to feel sluggish and don’t want to get out of bed, or you'd rather be laying on the couch than do any kind of exercise, take a moment to look forward: how do you want to feel in one hour, or at the end of the day? Do you want to feel guilty, more sluggish, and less motivated? Of course not. You want to feel proud of accomplishing your workout, to have more energy, to feel healthy and strong.

You know how you want to feel, so remember that and keep coming back to it. Hold yourself accountable by thinking about how future-you wants to feel.

5. Make it convenient and be realistic

Be honest with yourself and know when your schedule is looking a little more hectic or stressful than normal. You want to make working out as seamless as possible.

Sign up for classes at a studio or gym that is very close to home or work, making it an easy and short commute. Or, try working out from home, so you eliminate that commute time all together – and here’s a free 30 minute beginner Pilates class to start with if you're new to the W(out)FH routine.

Or even something as simple as packing your gym bag the night before, or laying out your workout clothes on your bed in the morning, makes life easier and helps set you up for success.

And finally, be realistic about the time you have. If you know you’re swamped, don’t try to commit to five days a week for an hour+ each day. Start smaller and achieve little wins. Try 2-3 times a week for 20, 30, or 45 minutes. Or heck, on a super busy day, even 10-15 minutes is better than nothing. Consistency matters more than always hammering your hardest workout.

The holidays are magical and crazy, so give yourself a little grace when you need it, but then also hold yourself to a high standard. Commitment and consistency are key to feeling the best you can in your body, so let these tactics can help you stay motivated on the toughest days.

And if testing out the convenience of an at-home workout is what you're looking for this holiday season, you can try a 10 Day Free Trial to Kristen Giddings Studio and get unlimited access to a digital library of almost 200 classes (and growing every week).

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