What do you want this Christmas?
No, I don’t mean those sparkly shoes with the killer heels you’ve got your eye on, or that expensive handbag you’re coveting (though you may want those things too of course!)
What do you really want?
I mean, what kind of Christmas do you really, really want? What’s the experience you would most like to have?
How you do you want to feel when you look back on this Christmas?
The first step to having the kind of Christmas you want is knowing what it looks like.
Once you’re clear on that you can consider what it’s going to take to make it happen. But first you have to get that clarity.
Here are five questions you can ask yourself to figure it out:
(1) What is most important to you?
The way you answer this question will be unique to you and there are no right or wrong answers. It could be:
- Going for a family walk on Christmas morning or after lunch
- Really taking time to savour the expressions on your children’s faces as they open their presents
- Spending time with the people who matter most to you
- Calling in on your elderly neighbour who lives alone to wish them Merry Christmas and share a glass of sherry and a mince pie
- Settling down on the sofa in the afternoon to watch your favourite movies on TV
Answering this question truthfully and aligning your actions accordingly will mean you are honouring your values and being true to yourself.
Action: Write down 3-5 things that would make your Christmas meaningful and find a way to weave them into your day.
(2) What do you actually want?
Based on your answers to Question 1, think about your ultimate desire. For example:
- I want to feel a sense of connection and intimacy with my husband and family
- I want to hear the sound of laughter ringing through the house
- I want to create happy family memories for my children to look back on
Action: Write down 1-3 statements that summarise your intentions for this Christmas. Set these intentions for the day or the whole holiday period. Display them somewhere prominent to remind you.
(3) What do you need to do to make it happen?
Whilst appreciating that you can’t control other people’s behaviour (see Part 1 of this blog series), what actions do you need to take to deliver your Christmas ‘wants?’ These will include both practical and ‘inner’ actions such as:
- Getting organised in advance so that your Christmas Day doesn’t become one big To Do list
- Delegating tasks to your family members so that the burden is not all on your shoulders.
- Explaining to your family why their help and support is needed and why it’s important to you
- Aligning your thinking with the feelings you most want to have (hint: your thoughts create your feelings.) So if you want to feel joyful, relaxed and peaceful, what do you need to think and believe in order to feel that way?
Action: Make a list of the required practical ‘To Dos’ and ‘inner’ shifts and get cracking!
(4) What’s going to get in the way of you having the Christmas you want (and what are you going to do about it)?
I can already hear your protestations: “That all sounds lovely, but it’s not going to happen in my family!” or “Dream on, there’s no way I’m going to get a minute to myself!”
I hear you.
And I don’t buy it.
The obstacles that are going to prevent you from having the Christmas you want are just thoughts – and you can change them! Perhaps thoughts like:
- Nobody in my family is going to lift a finger to help me
- Everything has to be perfect and only I can make it all perfect
- Everyone wants a piece of me!
- My husband/mother-in-law/brother is just going to get drunk and ruin the day
Action: Identify and write down the top three obstacles that are going to prevent you from having the Christmas you want. Then for each obstacle (thought) consider how you can overcome it and write down a new thought. For example:
- It’s not necessary for me to do everything myself, I can ask for help
- It will be a perfect day if I am feeling calm and relaxed
- I can say NO to people who drain my time and energy and focus on what’s important to me (there will be more about how to say NO in Part 3!)
- No matter how anybody else behaves, I can choose how I want to feel
(5) What are you going to have to give up, let go of or change in order to have the Christmas you want?
To have the Christmas you want it may be necessary to commit to some changes within yourself, such as giving up old habits and behaviour patterns that sabotage you. For example:
- I need to give up being a people pleaser/approval seeker
- I need to give up being a martyr (see Tip 3 in Part 1)
- I need to let go of my need for perfection – good enough is good enough!
- I need to learn how to say NO and mean it (see Part 3)
- I need to learn how to value myself and honour what is most important to me
Action: Identify and write down the top 3-5 habits and behaviours you are going to commit to changing this Christmas.
So, what do you really, really want this Christmas?
I’d love to know in the comments below. And please share any additional tips you have for surviving Christmas!
Note: This blog post is one in a series of five about how to Survive Christmas with your Sanity Intact! You can read Part 1 here and check back for Part 3 next week!
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