Keeping your motivation to exercise can be difficult anytime, much less the holiday season. During the holidays I sometimes find myself wanting to pat myself on the back for just keeping up with all the festivities and excusing myself from working out regularly.


It may sound odd but my favorite time to exercise is at night. This makes it even more difficult to stay active when family events and social engagements tend to go further into the evening than usual. Plus there are a lot more get-togethers this time of year too, putting my time at a premium. I have to be really careful to make sure that I am honoring the boundaries I’ve set around “my time”, especially when I want to put off things like working out. Holding that space makes it harder to skip.


Here are 10 ways that I’ve found to be really helpful in staying motivated to exercise over the holiday season:


Reward yourself

Self-bribery is an underrated art. Especial on the path to creating natural motivation. Treat yourself to new exercise clothes. If you have a new workout outfit you’ll want to slip it on and take it for a spin. If that doesn’t excited you, find something you can do for yourself that will motivate you. Or you could always hold back on something until after you’ve worked out. If you vowed not to shower until after you’d broken a sweat and gotten your heart rate up, I’d hope you wouldn’t choose to be smelly!

Get Committed

Find public activities that you can participate with. Signing up for a fun-run with your family is a great way to bond and promote the importance of physical fitness. Grabbing a few friends and taking a belly dancing class could be a great way to blow off steam!

Active family in the snow by lighthouse

Make it a Family Affair

Go for a walk or toss around the football with the family after a big meal. It could become a fun family tradition. Our family regularly breaks out the Nerf guns for an all out (friendly) war after meal clean up. It’s perfect especially during the fall and winter months since I am especially sensitive to the cold.


Prepared Travel

If you’re traveling. Ask the person you are staying with if they have a gym membership. If they don’t or if you are staying in a hotel, find out if they have a gym or if there is a gym nearby that do guest passes.


No Idol Hands

Use every opportunity to get extra movement in. Get creative. Throw in 20 squats while you brush your teeth or push ups first thing when you get out bed (plus it will wake you up!). Just like food, every little bit counts.


Shop Til You Drop

Ditch the computer and do your holiday shopping the old fashioned way… hitting the mall! Power walk as you shop. Just be careful not to take out any innocent shoppers in the process. Bonus points for parking far away.


Pair Up

Find an exercise partner over the holidays. Better yet, add some healthy competition in. You can choose to workout together or just hold each other accountable. If you are part of a larger holiday program, pair off with someone else who is participating. This way you won’t be tempted to disappear into the group.



Take it one step at a time. If you normally gain weight over the holidays, then don’t worry about losing weight. Put your focus on not adding the extra holiday pounds. Then after you’ve gotten through the holidays for a few years without gaining, then maybe upping the ante may be a good idea.


Get Professional Help

Working with a coach or a personal trainer can be the saving grace over the holidays. If one on one isn’t in your budget, try finding a group program or ask for sessions with a coach or personal trainer, or a boot camp package, for a gift.


Don’t give up

It’s not about perfection. More than likely you will have a backslide or two. If you have a few slips along the way it’s okay. Don’t give in to all-or-nothing thinking. The most important thing is that you learn, forgive yourself, and move forward.


If you hold space around your exercise time and you use some of these tips, you’ll have no problem staying active over the holidays. Not to mention, future you will be ever-so-grateful!

If you want some help on making it through the holidays in one piece when it comes to keeping your healthy eating habits, grab my Naturally Healthy Holiday Survival Guide.


Get Your Free Holiday Survival Guide

What works to motivate you to exercise over the holidays? Share in the comments below!




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