Image by Geralt, CC0,
Source: Image by Geralt, CC0,

Why wait for New Year’s to make resolutions?  You probably could use a few right now to survive and thrive in the busy holiday season. The holidays can be wonderful, but they can also take a huge physical and emotional toll.  Does the house look good enough for visitors? Will he appreciate my gift? Can I get all this stuff done in time?

Everyone wants more sanity, safety, and joy during the holidays.  What changes would you have to make for happier holidays?  The vows below will help you out both during the holidays and all year round as well.  So, for less stress and more rest, plus comfort and joy, consider adopting one or more of the Holiday Resolutions below: 

Holiday Resolutions

1. I will remember what is most important to me and set priorities accordingly.  Consider using this easy two-step method for setting priorities: 1. Make a long list of absolutely everything you can think of that you'd like to get done. 2. Review the list, crossing off anything of low importance and starring 2-3 things of high importance. Mark your calendar for times when you will tackle the "high importance" issues. Update and re-evaluate your list daily.

If you’d like one simple way to set priorities, you might consider this motto by financial expert Suze Orman: “First people, then money, then things.”  Another easy and effective method, based on your own known preferences, is described by PT blogger Andrea Brandt here.

2. I will realize that sometimes I may have to disappoint someone.  By “disappoint,” I do not mean by being irresponsible, for example, by not showing up when you said you would.  Rather, you can learn to say no when demands are overwhelming you.  Why work yourself into a froth to please everyone?  (More specific ways to fortify your assertiveness skills here.)

3. I will accept that sometimes I may have to disappoint myself. Keep in mind that the person you may be trying hardest to please could be the perfectionist within you. If so, notice that critical inner voice and calm it by telling yourself, “No, to do x would add unnecessary stress.” Sometimes expecting less of yourself is the healthiest thing you can do. If it's not that important, lower your standards!

4. I will expect less of others.  As you begin to modify the unreasonably high standards you've set for yourself, you might also make a vow to free yourself from the overly-high standards you have for others.  A friend likes to say, “You may be asking for $1.50 from someone who only has 75 cents.” Or, as the poet Mark Nepo wrote, “One key to knowing joy is being easily pleased.” Remember, no one can read your mind and buy the gifts you secretly want, so either tell them or just be grateful for all gifts you receive.

Image by Andy_Graf, CC0,
Source: Image by Andy_Graf, CC0,

5. I will not be a jerk.  Know what situations might bring out your inner jerk and avoid them or prepare mentally.  It’s common to try to fit too much into a day and then become impatient with others and lash out. (I won't tell you how I know this; let's just say I've had to issue a few apologies lately.)

6. I will drive safely.  You know the drill: Fasten your seat belt; don't speed; don't drink and drive; don't talk or text while you are driving; avoid drowsy driving. Don't let friends drive drunk or get into a car with them when they do. Accident rates rise over the holidays, so "watch out for the other guy."

7. I will find ways to take care of myself.  Whenever possible, stick to your exercise schedule over the holidays. Take breaks.  Make time for coffee with a friend. If you have a calming practice that gives you peace of mind, such as walking or running, religious services, a 12-step group, or yoga class, keep going if you can. 

8. I will find ways to be grateful every day.  Gratitude can become a way of life, not just part of the holidays.  Focusing on what you are thankful for throughout the day can decrease stress hormones and negativity, transforming you into a happier and healthier person, according to this expert.

9. I will…?  Well, what would you like to do? What is the resolution you most need to make for safety, sanity, and joy?  What might you need for your own personal growth?

The Power of Resolving to Change

Circumstances may not allow you to keep your holiday resolutions or meet your goals 100%. That’s OK! Just make progress by taking a few steps forward. Many of the above goals could be the work of a lifetime. 

Still, your decision to change one behavior or attitude will make it much more likely that you will keep your vows.  Amazingly, people who make a decision to change are more than ten (!) times more likely to do so than people who want to change but don’t make a specific decision, according to this research.

What personal resolution would help you the most in this year’s holiday season?

© Meg Selig, 2016

If you enjoyed this blog, you might also like these:

This Holiday Season, Choose What You Are Going to Savor Most, by PT blogger Erin Leyba. Just intending to savor certain key events will help you do it in reality.

Turn Holiday Resentment Into Gratitude: 11 Simple Strategies, by Meg Selig.

Don’t Just Survive the Holidays, Enjoy Them! by PT blogger Andrea Brandt. I love her simple and effective method for choosing what to prioritize in the holiday season!

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