Ah, 'tis the season of contradiction. Smell that? It's the sweet, sweet holiday aroma of gingerbread lattes and hypocrisy.

One minute we're reading articles about how to eat mindfully at the Christmas dinner table or how to fit in a spinning class between the festivities. Then, the next, we're watching a Buzzfeed Tasty video on how to make our own cinnamon roll apple pie and double-tapping Instagrams telling us to #treatyoself.

So, let's set things straight. We can do both.

I promise this won't be one of those cliché articles that just tells you to chug water and remember that “balance is key,” then pat you on the back and send you on your merry way. What I will tell you, though, is make your goals smaller, but to still have goals in the first place.

I'm not going to justify derailing from your fitness routine, nor am I going to tell you to stick to a strict regime. The holidays don't have to be all or nothing—especially because, at the end of it all, all of the articles that told you to go ham during the holidays will start force-feeding you New Year's resolutions tips and “10 Ways to Bounce Back From the Holidays” articles the second the clock strikes midnight on January 1.

My point is, the holidays shouldn't be a grace period to over-indulge and inevitably repent and compensate in the New Year. I do believe that the holidays should be a more lenient time than your regular, healthy lifestyle—though not so much that “bouncing back” is necessary.

You can indulge, and you can abstain, and you can indulge again. All in one day. The focus should be less on deciding on a holiday game plan (caring vs. not caring) but, rather, on revising fitness goals to meet more realistic and relevant needs.

Here are a few small goals you should consider making this holiday season.

1. Start or end your day with Pilates

It can be as simple as waking up 30 minutes earlier and squeezing in a short Pilates toning sequence. This ballerina's “Train Like a Ballerina” program will surprisingly whip you into shape (even better, her videos are free on YouTube).

This program, which even the VS Angels swear by, focuses on sculpting long, lean muscles. It's not really meant to be a calorie-torcher either. There's no jumping or squatting involved. There's not even any standing involved. Basically, it's one of those “no-excuse” workouts that you can do at home, laying out on your yoga mat, watching Netflix.

You're doing something small, but at least you're doing something. These daily toning moves will highlight your hard work at the gym or, on their own, gradually help elongate your limbs.

2. Do less, but still do

The holidays are a whirlwind of balancing Secret Santa parties, extended family get-togethers, and all of the doctors appointments your mom unrealistically packed into this small time window.

So, compromises will inevitably need to be made. This could mean exercising less frequently, but going extra hard when you do. Or, this could mean exercising more frequently but for shorter periods of time

Ultimately, it all depends on your schedule and what fitness regime fits in with your lifestyle. It shouldn't, however, get to the stressful point where you find your mind racing with “Okay, if I want to workout before X, I need to leave for the gym at 9:30 am and be home in time to shower and change and put makeup on before X time.”

If your gym schedule begins to feel like another chore on the ever-mounting list of to-dos, then it's not conducive of a healthy, relaxing holiday season.

3. Water, then coffee, then tea

I'm so tired of the coffee vs. no coffee debate. Have your coffee. Or don't. But, just know, despite all the negative hype it has gotten over the years, coffee can actually jumpstart your metabolism and provide you with a healthy dose of antioxidants.

However, since caffeine is dehydrating, I recommend starting your day with a warm glass of lemon water beforehand. Adding a squeeze of lemon to your water is a small, simple way to boost your metabolism and detoxify your body.

If you want to bring your water to the next, next level, consider adding two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to it. This is just another super simple step (you probably have a bottle of it in your pantry right now) that can help control blood sugar levels, which subsequently curbs cravings. Better yet, apple cider vinegar can also boost immune and digestive function.

After you've had one or two cups of coffee, it might be a good idea to switch to decaf tea. Not only does tea keep you warm and full (which, then, curbs your appetite), but it also comes with innumerable physical and cognitive benefits. Most notably, tea can enhance your mood and increase mental alertness.

4. Stay active—with friends

Go for walks with friends as an active way to catch up. Or, schedule a gym-date or fitness class together. That way, working out won't eat up your time with friends and family. Plus, it'll be a fulfilling way to stay both active and social.

This can also extend to walking your family dog or running errands (like holiday gift shopping). Make sure you're on your feet as much as possible. It all adds up, you know.

5. Seeing friends doesn't always have to mean snack time

I feel like when I'm home for the holidays, I'm always grabbing coffee with friends and celebrating reunions at restaurants. There's nothing wrong with a lunch date with a friend, but keep in mind there are other ways to catch up without food in front of you to mitigate interactions.

That's not to say, however, that all food outings are bad. Hit up your town's diner like old times. Visit your favorite local coffee shop. Just make sure that's not all you do.

6. Rest and de-stress

When you're tense or stressed, levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise in your body. As a result, your blood sugar drops and you start craving foods high in fat and sugar. That's why they're called comfort foods, after all.

This surge of cortisol puts you in “fight or flight” mode, which signals your body to consume more calories and replenish energy. So, you become ravenous—even if you haven't used up very many calories that day. Elevated cortisol levels also tell your body to store more fat, especially around the waistline. 

Lack of sleep can also be preventing you from achieving healthy, mindful eating. Chronic sleep deprivation disrupts the proper functioning of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, which stimulates hunger, and leptin, which inhibits hunger. Not only do you crave more when you're tired, but you're also likely not exercising as hard (or even at all) on the days following your restless nights.

Focus on de-stressing this winter break, and try to get into a regular, rhythmic sleep schedule. This can be as simple as stepping out for fresh air, trying yoga, or treating yourself to a spa day. (Hint: Try essential oils.) 

You can also enhance your mood and ease your mind just by being more social. Surround yourself with friends and family, and let your stress melt away.

7. Focus on other people

Focus on appreciating those around you and really being present. This will allow you to momentarily de-emphasize food and fitness in your life.

The holidays shouldn't be about eating really slowly, or about sipping water in between bites, or about calculating how much more pie you can eat without officially feeling guilty. This isn't the Mental Olympics. The finish line isn't “surviving” family meals, and last place isn't “sabotaging” all of your year's hard training.

The holidays should be a time of warmth and comfort, a time of appreciation for family and friends. Let this positivity preoccupy you, and let it momentarily free you from your emphasis on food and fitness. Keep in mind that your physical health is important, but so is your mental health.

Just because your healthy lifestyle is temporarily less healthy than before, doesn't mean you should just put your fitness goals on hold till January 1. You don't have to cleanse on Monday or detox on Tuesday to off-set family meals. You don't need to oscillate between extremes. 

So, revise and modify your fitness goals this break. But, don't drop them altogether.