Top 3 Tips to Help Your Teen Maintain Healthy Habits During the Holidays

Do you want to start the New Year feeling happy and healthy?

Does this sound familiar? “It’s the holidays. I’ll get back on track in the New Year.” My guess is that most people have said that phrase about something. For a teen, that might be healthy habits like eliminating soda, exercising regularly or going to bed at a reasonable hour. Even if your teen wants to continue with their healthy habits, not following through with healthy habits during the holidays is the norm. Luckily, I have a plan that will help your teen maintain their healthy habits, so when the New Year arrives, they feel happy and healthy and are ALREADY on track to have a great year.

#1 Reframe the Decision

When teens commit to healthy habits, there is typically an underlying reason. Let’s take the example of eliminating soda. Maybe your teen breaks out, feels jittery or has trouble sleeping when they drink a lot of soda. When your teen is tempted to drink a soda, encourage them to shift the dialogue that starts running through their head.

Negative:

  • I really want to drink a soda but I can’t.
  • I feel deprived and annoyed.
  • Everyone else can drink soda and have clear skin; it’s not fair.

Positive:

  • I happily choose to avoid soda because it helps me maintain my clear skin.
  • My skin is clear and beautiful right now, and I continue to make choices to keep it that way.
  • Clear skin brings me more joy than soda.

#2 Stop Sign

Teens often decide that they are going to do something and then, in the moment, they convince themselves it is okay to not follow through with their commitment. Let’s use the example of going for a walk. Your teen said they were going to walk every morning over the holidays, but then when the time comes to head out the door, they start thinking of reasons why they don’t have to like:

  • It’s too cold.
  • I don’t have enough time.
  • Skipping one day won’t matter

When the justifications pop into your teen’s head, have them visualize a Stop Sign and say, “I am committed to my healthy habits. I am heading out the door right now.”
 
 #3 Plan Cheats

During the holidays, there are going to be situations where it is less stressful and makes more sense for your teen to cheat than to stick to their healthy habits. Let’s take the example of getting enough sleep. Have your teen look at their calendar and choose the days where going to bed on time would detract from their happiness. Then they give themselves permission to stay up late on those nights.

Once your teen has picked their nights, then they should not be altered. By committing beforehand, your teen is less likely to try and convince themselves that blowing off their bedtime won’t hurt. (The truth is, once your teen breaks their commitment, it becomes increasingly more challenging for them to maintain the healthy habit.)

However, if something spontaneous occurs and they want to stay up late, by all means, they should. If your teen wants to add another late night, just have them asks this clarifying question, “Will staying up late increase or decrease my happiness?” Asking this question will help them determine if adding this extra late night is in their best interest.

Most teens have long vacations during the holidays and for many teens, it is a less stressful time of the year. It is a perfect opportunity for your teen to pick a strategy and develop the habit of relaxing and incorporating a bit of silence into their day. Click here to grab a copy of my FREE Stress Less Guide which includes my top 5 strategies to help your teen be more at ease when stress does arise. This way, when they return to school which is inherently more stressful than a vacation, the habit is already formed. They will start the new year feeling proud of themselves for maintaining their healthy habits as well as developing a new one.


Originally published at www.claireketchum.com on November 15, 2017.

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