I am so excited to commit to have a HAPPY holiday by focusing on key ways to bring joy into your life. You’ll notice these challenges and prompts include everything from service to self-love and self-care to setting goals and priorities.
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1. Don’t let this holiday be out of control. Write down 3 priorities. Don’t sweat the rest.
It is so easy to let this month get out of control. This week alone I was invited to enough cookie parties to require me to bake 8 dozen cookies. There are traditions, gift-giving, school obligations and vacations. But look, making your grandma’s traditional pie my not be as important to you as making a home-made gift for your brother. Or vice versa. It does not matter what your priorities are – just that you set them. Choose three non-negotiables – and put them on your priority list. If you missed it – check out this episode on having an intentional holiday.
2. What are your 2020 goals? Start now to gain momentum by January 1st.
I heard Daymond John say, “When you go into the new year you’re already in a habit.” That means, if we have spent our entire month of December eating, drinking and being merry – we are going to continue throwing back drinks and sweets. If we dedicate December to staying focused on our goals, we will be ready for January. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be started. For a podcast on choosing progress over, perfection – check out this episode.
3. List three things you’re grateful for today
There is SO much research showing how this can change your mood. In fact, you can catch this Happiness in Progress podcast episodes on the subject.
Write down, type in your phone or just think of three things you are grateful for. If you can’t think of anything – start with the amazing miracles that are keeping you alive – 1) heart. 2) lungs. 3) brain.
4. Be intentional about laughter (even if you fake it!)
When I asked my guest, Matt Kozar, about his secret to happiness in the good, bad and in between – he said laughter. I loved this answer.
I’m not a natural laugher. My natural laughter maybe comes out once a month – errrr two months?
When I choose to be intentional with laughter, I am choosing to be more present in the moment I am experiencing with my kids, loved ones or friends.
5. Try meditation (or sit quietly for five minutes)
I believe all we need is five minutes. Start by trying it just once. Increase your practice to a few times a week. If you could meditate (or sit quietly for five minutes) each day for a week – I believe you would see a huge improvement in your daily life.
6. Don’t blow the budget! Show love by being thoughtful instead of spending money you don’t have.
I recently read Dave Ramsey’s book, Total Money Makeover. I was shocked when he said – eh hem – YELLED (okay, okay it was the audio version I was listening to) “STOP BUYING YOUR ADULT CHILDREN CHRISTMAS GIFTS.”
The reality is there are many people on our Christmas lists who do not need expensive gifts. A thoughtful card, letter or even phone call might do the trick.
7. Take a moment to enjoy the beauty outside.
Connecting to nature in a present moment is a powerful way to reset. My guest, Rebecca Cressman, said it best, “Be alive, while you’re alive.”
8. Pump yourself up with your favorite ‘power song.’
I believe ‘power songs’ are the first step to affirmations. Listen to a song that declares your power, strength, tenacity and courage. Speak (eh hem, sing) those songs into your life.
9. Recognize the person who made any sacrifice to help you celebrate (co-worker? mom? uncle?)
I think it is vitally important to recognize the people in our lives who join our tribe by helping us be successful in the different things we attempt to do – including celebrating the holidays.
10. Play Secret Santa. Do an anonymous good deed for someone.
This doesn’t have to be rocket science – just pick someone and do something kind for them. This could be as easy as writing a note that says “You’re doing great” or leaving a coffee on their desk. Check out this full episode of Happiness in Progress about service and ways to find the best ways to volunteer.
11. Buy a gift for a child in need.
In Walmart the other day, my son picked up a tag. The child had requested a ‘warm winter coat’ for Christmas. My heart broke. Take a moment to select a tag in your price range to help make a difference for a child.
12. Know YOU are enough. You are worthy.
Use this as your mantra for the day. Repeat it with me I am enough. I am worthy. Need more inspiration? Listen to this amazing recap episode of Happiness in Progress Live!
13. Feeling Overcommitted? Can you let go of one commitment?
Where are my yes-people at? I know it is hard, especially in a season where we don’t want to disappoint anyone – but it’s important to take care of yourself as well. Look for one ball you can stop juggling – at least for a moment.
14. Journal: Three things you are proud of yourself for
Take out your journal to recognize yourself for the things you do that make you proud.
15. The best gift is your presence. Call someone just to listen.
As a reporter I learned listening is a vital skill. Listening provides a shoulder to cry/laugh/commiserate on while giving you perspective. Be someone your friend can lean on.
16. Write a thoughtful card to someone who has made a difference in your life.
I am so excited to share an episode I’ve already recorded. It is with a many who studies positive psychology. He said the number one thing you can do to increase your happiness is to write a thoughtful letter. Bonus points if you read it to the person. That Happiness in Progress episode is coming soon – make sure to subscribe today.
17. Whole day without saying an unkind word about yourself.
There’s nothing that shocks me more than the things my friend’s say about themselves. Ugh, my face. My eyebrows. My thighs.
For just one day, I want you to SHUT THOSE VOICES UP and not speak an unkind word about yourself. When you think an unkind word about yourself – I want you to shut it down.
18. Perform an act of service
Giving is one of the best ways to see our worth and to understand how we can effect change.
19. Start today with the mantra ‘Today is going to be a great day.’
Say it a few times now and when things start melting down just five days before Christmas – come back to this.
20. Do what you can with what you have
My guest, Phillip Mountrose, said these words in our interview. They stuck with me because I think so many of us believe we need to have the world to make an impact. The reality is we don’t need to have have have to be able to give. If you can’t afford a physical donation – donate your time. If you don’t have time, hold the door open for someone. Do what you can with what you have.
21. Give a compliment.
Speaking of doing what you can with what you have. We all have voices. All we need to do is use them constructively. If you are feeling too anxious to speak words in person – send someone you admire a message on social media to point out something they’re doing great.
22. No social media.
I planned this for a Sunday. Don’t panic. But do go on a digital detox. Try for just 24 measly hours to put your phone down. This is the last weekend before Christmas. Enjoy it with the people around you.
23. Share a sweet treat.
I loved how Happiness in Progress guest, Aly Plaut pointed out – even when she was unable to give much – she gave cookies and cupcakes. Surprise someone with a sweet treat.
24. Put the phone down and be fully present
Okay, you can pick the phone up throughout the day to take pictures. But for the most part, stay off the phone – breathe in the moment and soak it in.
25. Let go of expectations.
One of the worst things we can do to a holiday is load it with expectations. Focus on the present – not the traditions of the past or the impact for the future. Just enjoy what unfolds on your Christmas Day.
If you’re excited about taking part in the HAPPY Holidays Advent Calendar – share it on twitter.