The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. Year after year many of us approach the holidays with no thought of preparation then at the dawn of the new year, set ridiculous resolutions. Yes, I say ridiculous because how many of these resolutions actually last past a few months. That is actually stretching it a bit. Most are just a thought, resolving to do something but never committing to the action necessary for change.
There may be a solution. What about jumpstarting the new year before the holidays? With the proper mindset, setting guidelines before the holiday season, can prove to be beneficial. This can offer the much needed discipline and support in areas that are of most concern.
Four key areas of focus that tend to be the most common areas of new year’s resolutions include:
Refuse to get caught up in overeating during the many holiday festivities . Use common sense. Keep in mind as the saying goes, a moment on the lips but a lifetime on the hips. Meaning any extra calories that you take in, will require even more work to take off. With food used so much socially, that may be easier said than done. However, there are actions that can be taken to make sure you do not approach the new year carrying more physical weight than you desire:
- Keep a food journal – statistics prove that you are less likely to overeat if you write down everything you eat.
- Increase your consumption of healthy snacks. Stock up on extras in bulk and create small snack bags to keep with you for times you feel hungry. This way you are less likely to have an overreaction to the sight and smell of the delicious spread at that after work holiday party.
- Drink more water. Normal recommended daily intake = body weight multiplied by 0.5. Make sure you at least drink that much. This again, will keep you at a comfortable state and lessen the chance of overeating, not to mention aid in proper digestion of what you do consume.
- Increase your physical activity. Just because the days are shorter this time of the year, does not mean that you have to retire those walking shoes. Find safe places to walk like the stairs at work or the mall after work. Any consistent movement of at least 30 minutes a day will help tremendously to help burn the extra calories and may even curb the appetite a bit.
Do not allow the commercialization of the season or the pressure of gift exchange, force you to overspend.
- Create a holiday budget. Plan ahead by setting aside money during the year for holiday spending.
- Clean out your closet and garage. Ditch those items you know you will not wear or use again. This also serves as a great clearing ritual to make room for those new items you’ll be receiving as gifts. You can give the items away or if you need a little extra cash to buy holiday gifts, this is a smart way to accumulate extra cash.
- Stay away from the overuse of credit. You will to regret it if you don’t. It’s just that simple. If you must buy gifts, choose to draw names among family members. That way, there will be less gifts for each person to buy, saving money for all involved.
- Note: Do not deviate from your regular budget, savings and investment practices during the holiday. Being cautious of this, will make receiving those after holiday account statements less stressful.
Your Emotional Health
The holidays can unfortunately be a source of added emotional stress. Thinking of lost loved ones, broken families and holidays of ears past, can often be depressing.
- Remember to take care of you. Sometimes it’s so hard to avoid the holiday stresses with the increased traffic, longer lines and often impatient shoppers Spend quite time, exercise, read, mediate or adopt whatever stress relieving practices that you need to.
- Live in the now. Refuse to allow depression to creep in at the memory of past holidays that were happier times. Volunteer or help someone less fortunate. This takes the focus off of you.
- Handle toxic situations with ease. Often the holidays require you to encounter family, friends and colleagues that you may prefer to avoid during other times of the year. Leave the drama at the door. Approach toxic situations and people optimistically and minimize the time that you must spend with them, if necessary.
- Seek support. If you do find yourself a little down, seek help or the company of those who understand and can lend a listening ear.
Whether single, married, separated or divorced, know that this time of the year may provoke moments of loneliness. This is not uncommon.
- Maintain healthy relationships. If you are single, refuse to seek out a date or companion for Christmas dinner simply because you dread questions from others about why you are still unhitched.
- Value the good times with loved ones. Keep drama away from family gatherings. This time only rolls around once a year.
- Maintain open communication. If married, discuss with your mate, any areas of stress in a loving way and allow as much open communication as you possibly can. Keep the peace.
- Teach your children the true meaning of the season. Expose them to those who are less fortunate by volunteering in some capacity.
Remember that if you fail to plan, then you are in essence planning to fail. Make this upcoming year like none other. Jumpstart it right!
Shonda R. Murphy is a Life Coach at Divine Direction Life Coaching and a Financial Planner for Primerica, Inc. As an advocate of financial literacy, she thrives on helping individuals through life transitions as they get back on track, especially in the area of their finances.