Carrie Myers by Carrie Myers
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The holidays are upon us yet again. While many look forward to a time of good cheer and celebrating, it can be a stressful period for health and exercise professionals who experience a decrease in work volume and, as a result, income.

From holiday parties to shopping to just plain busyness, clients and students often take a hiatus from training and classes during this time of the year. As a health and exercise professional, I was always hopeful that the next holiday season would be different—that my clients and participants would see the benefit of maintaining their training and classes through this hectic time, helping them get through the holidays with more ease.

Unfortunately, this wish never came true. The change had to start with me and my mindset related to this time of year. Here are a few tips I’ve learned through the years to help you more joyfully get through this—and every—holiday season from here on out.

Plan Ahead Financially

While this tip may not help you this December, starting in January, set aside some money each month so that by next December, you have enough funds saved up to cover your expenses for the next holiday season. This can help you enjoy this time of year more and take some of the stress off yourself.

Instead of taking an extra part-time job or asking for cash as your gifts so you can pay this month’s bills, you’ll have all that covered. As a bonus, you’ll have the time to work on that to-do list you’ve been putting off. Speaking of which…

Use This Time to Work on Other Aspects of Your Business

Have you had the same business to-do list for years now? I did. I struggled with the tug-of-war between needing to pay my bills right now and all the other things, like marketing and new programs. I knew they’d help me bring in more income in the long run, but my day-to-day work always took precedence. This downtime can be a great time to start checking off some of these longer-term items.

Whether you’re self-employed or employed by another company, there’s always marketing that can be done. Do you need to get a website up, or maybe freshen up the one you already have? Do you have a blog? When was the last time you wrote a blog post? How’s your social media campaign going? Is your email list up and running? Maybe a New Year’s Challenge is waiting for you to develop it to help get your clients and participants motivated and excited to get back at it following the post-holiday rush.

Evaluate the Past Year

We often ask our clients to evaluate their progress, assess what goals they met, and determine what obstacles prevented them from accomplishing yet unmet goals. The same principles should be applied to our businesses.

Use this downtime to go over the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Even if you didn’t set any specific goals, think about what you were hoping to accomplish this year. Journal out what progress you made in these areas and celebrate it.

What obstacles did you encounter that prevented you from making the progress you were hoping for? Remember, sometimes our obstacles are our own mindsets and limiting beliefs. Are there any areas of personal development holding you back? If so, what can you do to make these changes so that you’ll not only be more fulfilled personally, but also more successful professionally?

Set next year’s goals in writing. Break the larger goals down into monthly goals, and as you come to the beginning of each month, set up your weekly and daily goals for that month. Think ahead about potential obstacles you might come up against and draw up a plan for handling them. Having a strategy for success will help you move yourself and your career ahead much faster than just “winging it.”

Re-energize, Renew and Refocus

If you’re like many health and exercise professionals, you have a tendency to burn the candle at both ends, at least occasionally if not consistently. Depending on the population you’re serving, you might be training or teaching both early morning hours and evening hours. Those are some long, exhausting days, and you may be neglecting much-needed self-care as a result.

Consider this time a gift to rest and refocus your energy on getting your own self-care back into alignment. Your clients and participants will respect your words more when they’re aligned with your values and behavior. This can help you be a more effective trainer, instructor or coach.

What activities have you been neglecting that could contribute to nurturing yourself, body, mind and spirit? Take this time to reconnect with these aspects so that when the first-of-the-year rush arrives, you’re ready for it.

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