Gooey cinnamon rolls and breads, chewy chocolate Christmas cookies, savory Thanksgiving stuffing and relaxing by the fire with loved ones are just a few of my holiday loves. Just thinking about all of these makes me wish for an early snowfall. At the same time, I don’t want holiday indulgences to create New Year regrets. Not enough exercising, healthy foods or sleep are frequent holiday lapses in my wellness this time of year.
Continuing our #HolidayWellnessHabits series, we’ve discussed our how’s, habits and hopes, obedience to overcome procrastination and we’ve now come to L in our HOLIDAY acronym. It’s time to address our loves and lapses, especially during holiday season. Assessing mine, a clear pattern emerges. My loves involve too much and my lapses involve not enough. Hmmm…
Maybe we can adjust our loves and lapses into wellness habits by simply applying discipline. Maybe all it takes is a bit of balance; an evening of the scales during the holiday season. But if you’re like me, once November comes, it’s a sprint to the New Year. Let’s plan now to create a habit of balance in the bustle.
No one wants to give up everything they love. It’s probably why so many people fail on resolutions, diets and major overhauls of their routines. It’s doubtful I’ll ever give up chocolate entirely and habits are a conduit to balance. But it’s important to understand habits are created by action, not inaction.
In my year long quest to learn more about habits, some research enlightened me. Unhealthy habits are changed by modifying the cue and/or creating a new, better action. So if I want to eat less bread or chocolate, I need to either eliminate or distance myself from the cue (having all those yummy treats in the house) or change the action associated with the cue (take only one bite or eat something healthier instead). It’s about modifying my motivation from what I want to what is good.
Psalm 34:9-10 tells us:
Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
When we trust our lives to God, we will lack no good thing. The verse tells how this occurs, by trusting in the Lord. It’s about letting go of our wants and leaning into Him. God wants us to enjoy our lives and by trusting Him, we can do just that without lacking a thing. He also wants us to be wise, however. When we use the wisdom He gives, we make smart choices–like only eating one cookie or prioritizing exercise.
God doesn’t want to deprive us from celebrating the season, but we can be balanced in managing both our loves and lapses.
Here are a few tips:
Assess loves and lapses. How many projects, parties and purchases are we partaking in this holiday season? Is there too much to realistically enjoy while still maintaining the healthy sleep, eating and exercise routines needed to live well? If the holidays create a sense of overwhelm, it may be time for better discipline and balance.
Prune and protect. After identifying where balance is needed, adjust accordingly. We don’t have to create new, handmade gifts or purchase something for everyone. Sometimes simple and thoughtful is enough. What is important and necessary to protect? Maybe it’s creating a few handmade gifts instead of a hundred or spending quality time with loved ones. Prune the unnecessary, overwhelming or overindulgent to protect what’s important.
Prepare for Action. Habits are created by actions associated with a cue and repeated over time until the action becomes automatic. So either eliminate or minimize cues prompting bad habits or change the actions to be more positive and healthy. This is best done ahead of time, not in the midst of the mayhem when overwhelm threatens our wellness. Prepare now for healthy habits by being disciplined.
So here’s our homework this week: What are your loves and lapses? Assess, prune, protect and prepare with discipline seeking God in every step of the process.
When we seek His direction and wisdom, God always gives it.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. ~James 1:5
Let’s seek God’s wisdom and exercise discipline as we address our holiday loves and lapses. It will help guide us to creating #HolidayWellnessHabits for this year and all those yet to come.