November 23rd, 2009
12:48 PM ET

Staying focused on your goals during the holiday season

By Jillian Michaels
Guest blogger

The holiday season is upon us and this time EVERY year I write diet, fitness, and motivation tips about how to not gain weight and let your health spiral out of control. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before so honestly why the heck am I writing about this again?! Did no one listen the last 10 years?

You are not stupid. You know how to be healthy. Eat less and move more. It doesn’t take much to know that a second helping of stuffing and pumpkin pie and yams and biscuits is a bad idea.

You know all the obvious stuff… Eat white meat turkey, not dark. Do whole grain rolls instead of biscuits. Bring fitness DVDs with you if you are traveling so you can workout on the road. Create fun family fitness activities to do together such as touch football instead of sitting around eating or watching TV. And the list goes on…

Let’s get down to the bottom of it. The holidays are a time to be grateful. Grateful for the blessings you have and the ability to create new blessings symbolized by the coming of a new year. However, at a time when we should be celebrating our lives most, we are prone to depression and dysfunction. Eating becomes gluttonous. Family issues become magnified. The gym becomes a distant memory. Stress levels go through the roof and so on.

So how do we create that shift in our thinking, behavior, and overall holiday experience? Desire. The first step is to stay focused in the present tense on the things you want for yourself and in your life. Transformation doesn’t happen in the past or in the future. It happens right now. By focusing on the positive things you crave and deserve, you shift your focus from one of resignation to one of inspiration.

Start by picking a goal. Maybe the one you have been saving for January 1 and begin pursuing it immediately. Every day this season, I want you to wake up and think about that goal and how the actions you take throughout your day will bring you closer to that goal. If holiday parties create temptation for you, avoid them. Find a healthier way to celebrate with your friends like a night on the town dancing. If stressful family reunions throw you off track, set boundaries or stay away. Take a healthy vacation with close friends instead. If the memories of holiday seasons past cause you to feel lonely, channel those feelings constructively instead of destructively. Take them as a sign that it’s time to form new connections. Join a club, support group, or online community where you meet new people and make new friends. And with every decision you make ask yourself this question – “is my choice or behavior in this moment getting me closer to my goals?” If the answer is no, make a different choice.

Some of you are thinking “it’s not that simple. I have to go to my office party. I have to go to my grandmother’s house for dinner where she guilts me into eating thousands of calories. I have to let my in-laws stay with us even though they insult me.” Do you? Do you physically have to? Are you being held at gunpoint to engage in behaviors that upset or hurt you in some way? I bet 99 percent of the time the answer to that question will be no. So stop wasting time and start putting your health first, physically and emotionally. Let’s redefine the holidays as a time of inspiration and possibility one empowered person at a time. And remember, taking care of oneself is a gift to everyone else because everyone ends up having a happier and healthier holiday.

How will you maintain your health goals during the holidays?

Jillian Michaels is a fitness expert and trainer on the TV reality show "The Biggest Loser".

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.