The holidays will soon be here, and that means family, friends, and some well-deserved rest. But the weeks leading up to all the fun can be stressful as you prepare for exam day. To help you get through, we’ve compiled a list of five things you can do to help you stay on track during this holiday season.

Make a Schedule and Stick to It

It might be funny to twist the old saying about procrastination into: “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow;” but delaying the inevitable can wreck your progress and health. According to a study published by Bishop’s University, there is a strong link between procrastination and hypertension and heart disease, as procrastinators experienced greater amounts of stress and were more likely to delay healthy activities, such as proper diet and exercise. That’s no joke. As much as the thought of studying during this season of busy family time and celebrations might hurt your head, you can do it. 

Get the Balance Right

According to Business Insider, there are some ways to maintain a positive work/life balance during the holidays. However, one nugget stood out in particular: “Be 100% present with your time [by] setting specific days or times in your schedule to commit yourself solely to work, and the rest of your time to your personal life. Whatever you do, don’t stray from that. If you find yourself trying to do a little work here and there over the holidays, you will find yourself distracted, inefficient, and unproductive.” To ensure you make the most of your time this holiday season, commit to your schedule and stay on track even when you’re on the go with the convenience of Wiley CMAexcel

Maintain Health & Wellness

The Philadelphia Tribune posted an article outlining five ways to remain healthy during the holidays. In short, the period between Halloween and New Years is a perfect storm of unhealthiness–if you’re not careful. The stress, the carbs, the parties, combined with the onset of cold and flu season can take the joy out of the season. However, by eating well, taking time to laugh (laughter is the best medicine for stress), remaining moderate in your junk food intake, and finding time to exercise, you’ll take significant steps to proceed confidently in reaching your goal of becoming a CMA.

Give Yourself a Present

When you need a push in the right direction, use the proverbial carrot rather than the stick; or when you think you’ve got good comprehension of the topic you’ve been studying and do well on a practice test reward yourself for the positive accomplishment. Need ideas for motivators/rewards? You can find plenty online to suit your lifestyle, personality and budget. Here are five simple reward/motivators to consider: 1) Read that book you’ve had your eye on; 2) Waste time online. Go ahead and watch the funny video; 3) Buy some fresh flowers to brighten your study space; 4) Watch a movie; 5) Shut out the noise around you and meditate. This reward system will keep you on track and by giving yourself a reward for each goal met, you’re much more likely to be diligent in sticking to your schedule. 

Stay Positive

Keep your interior message positive when things might not be going as well as you would like. OK, there’s a good chance you’ll miss a study session or four– don’t feel guilty about it. It happens to everyone all the time, holidays or not. Just enjoy your time with your loved ones and focus on being productive when you do get back to your study routine.

For more tips to help you effectively prepare for the CMA exam, check out our list of Free CMA Exam Study Tips.