Exercise can be a difficult routine to maintain, but it’s twice as hard when there are sugar plums and eggnog clouding your vision. You don’t need to feel bad about having a second slice a pie, or about skipping one day at the gym. In the end, it will all work out if you maintain a positive attitude throughout the holiday season, and follow these tips for extra motivation:

Personal TrainerMake a plan and stick to it

By creating a solid plan, you’re more likely to stick to it. Block out certain times of the day that are meant for working out—whether it’s a walk around the block, Zumba class, at home training, or boxing—set aside specific times that are meant for exercise. You’ll think twice about breaking the date with yourself.

Go early

The hullaballoo of the holidays can get away from you. If you block out time in your morning routine to hit the gym, you’ll have less distractions. Work out first. Worry later.

Grab a friend

Your friend will keep you in check. They will make sure you’re at the gym, getting the job done, instead of binge-watching a show on Netflix. Even better, grab a friend and sign up for a YMCA membership together. You’ll both save 20% on your monthly membership and we’ll waive the joiner’s fee.

YMCA WorkoutEvaluate Yourself

Know your goals. Know where you started and know if you’re progressing. If you’re gaining weight, but working out more, maybe there’s another factor that’s influencing your health. Don’t avoid the numbers. Avoiding the numbers is avoiding progress. Be aware of your heart rate, weight, and overall well-being.

Use the reward system

Envision the apple pie at the end of the tunnel. Once you finish your workout, you’ve earned dessert. You beat your personal record for the one-mile run? Treat yourself. It’s a good way to stay motivated through the holidays.

Set goals beyond the scale

It’s not all about the numbers. Know how much you can eat for the day. Stop when you’re full. Run three miles today instead of four. Avoid hitting snooze before your early gym session. All of these goals matter.