Celebrate YOU this upcoming holiday season. Recognize that you are a desirable, capable individual. You are more important than the gift you bring or the meal you make. Mark this season down on your calendar as the time to update your confidence. Let go of the stress of expectations and treat it the same way you would other days of the year. Here are some tips to help:

1. See your family members in a realistic way. Don't let the glare of the holiday lights cause you to see them in an unrealistically positive way. If they have a tendency not to behave throughout the year, don't wish/hope/expect that the holiday season will change them. Accept their shortcomings rather than letting the demands they be different frustrate you. You can avoid feeling let down by writing down a summary of how you realistically view each family member.

2. Don't stress yourself out over the gift. Try to remember that the thought is more important than the present. There is no such thing as the perfect gift and price doesn't make it matter more. The economy is impacting everyone.

3. Instead of looking for what you have not accomplished, embrace what you have. Fortify your confidence by updating your sense of self based on facts and not your feelings of self-doubt. Look through your 2009 appointment book or calendar and list out what you have been able to accomplish throughout the year. This includes: work, homemaking, school, parenting, parties, activities, volunteer work, hobbies, and sports to name a few.

4. Give yourself credit for the small stuff. Don't wait for the finished project, hoped outcome, or major change to pat yourself on the back. Praise yourself for every step you take on the way to your goals and for every bit of effort it took to do what you did do. No matter how mundane, if it was challenging or required extra effort on your part, give yourself the credit you have earned.

5. Make a list of all the compliments you have recently received or the positive interactions you've had ranging from the clerk at the check-out to the most recent conversation you've had with a friend or a colleague. Positive interpersonal experiences strengthen your belief in your desirability/ likeability and in seeing yourself as a decent person. Make a mental note or record this data in your journal to strengthen your confidence in this area.

6. The holidays are not a competition. Envision one of those movies where neighbors try to do outdo each other decorating and evoke disaster. Laugh at your competitive spirit like you would the movie and instead embrace what is really important to you. Don't get caught up judging yourself and likely no one else will either. Be confident that you rate without having to go over the top.

7. You can avoid a lot of unnecessary stress by accepting you cannot do it all. Don't be afraid to ask for help or delegate to others if you can. When someone offers to help, graciously accept it and know you have allowed them to participate in the spirit of giving. Grow your confidence not by measuring how much you do but rather by seeing who you are.

8. Do something special for yourself to celebrate you. Think about what the greatest gift is that you can give yourself. It could be anything from sleeping in to trying out that class you've been thinking about to taking yourself out to sitting on your sofa and actually watching something you'd like to see.

The key to Confidence is to appreciate you!

About the Authors

Leslie Sokol

Leslie Sokol,Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, is the co-author of Think Confident, Be Confident.

Marci Fox, Ph.D.

Marci Fox, a licensed psychologist and international speaker, is the co-author of Think Confident, Be Confident.

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