3 Steps To A Happier Christmas And A More Authentic New Year

Statue with head in hand

Christmas Needn’t Be A Headache

It’s less than a month away, but the Christmas To Do lists are already getting longer.

Have you ended up – again – with the Christmas Project role of organising the office meal / after work party / big family get together? You got bounced into your extra duties didn’t you?

Not to worry, we’ve all been there.

If you want to, you can change others’ perception of you as the go-to Good Girl / Nice Guy who makes everyone else’s life easier. There is scope to turn the head-in-hands sinking feeling of organising diaries / menus / Secret Santa into a positive task. One you are authentically able to deliver well, in a way that uses the support of the people around you.

What Is The Impact Of Not Asserting Yourself?

Remember, if you are grinning through gritted teeth there may be a consequence in strained nerves in later in December. The UK’s National Health Service even talks about the impact of Christmas on Divorce rates in January  It is better to assert yourself to help ensure you get more of what you want in the coming weeks.

Ready To Try A Little Assertion For Christmas?

This can seem a difficult step to take if you are not used to politely, but consistently, stating what you want from a situation. However it is a necessary step if you want to feel more authentically tuned in to your own agenda next year (i.e. able to choose what you want to do next, rather than feel you have to please others time and again at the cost of moving forward towards your own goals).

Your First Step

A first step to managing your stress levels is establishing your boundaries. Make it clear you are not taking this challenge forward on your own. Identify the development needs which can be met across the team if others’ time is freed up for specific tasks which will add to their skill set and get the Christmas project delivered on time.

Once you have your allies do the best you can with the support that is available to you and document the process for the benefit of whoever does the role next time (there are 3 further steps below)

Here Are Your Next 3 Good Practice Steps

If you do nothing else a bit of informal Christmas project planning helps you manage the various parts of your December life better and help others’ see you as more than the go-to person in their life:

  • Capture everything you need to achieve on your Christmas project plan, including the fun tasks (so that you can see the progress being made towards your outcome, which combats the sense of overwhelm)
  • Delegate as much as you can to your partner / family members / colleagues (so everyone can play their part using their skills and building new ones)
  • Schedule plenty of ‘you’ time (so you can unplug from the craziness for a while)

How Will You Use And Share This Information?

If this post has been helpful please feel free to use the Comment section to add your secrets to thriving at Christmas, so others can benefit from them. You can share your ideas on Twitter too @RogerD_Said so the conversation helps more stressed Christmas planners.

Well-Being: Three Steps To Having A Happier Christmas

Here’s a Tweet that combines a coaching strategy, mindfulness, and a Christmas present you can give yourself.

Remember, in the coming months there will be newsletters, more podcasts, and blog posts to help you achieve more in the coming months.

Use the Contact option now, if you are ready to develop yourself with the support of a coaching programme starting in January 2014.

Wealth: Three Questions For Your Future

Christmas Costs (c) R Dennison December 2013

Christmas Costs (c) R Dennison December 2013

Add up the cost of the presents, the parties, and pushing the boat out and this is an expensive time of the year.

It is not surprising that one person in four is dipping into their savings to pay for the festivities (according to research from the Moneysupermarket website, cited by Rebecca Choules’ in the Daily Telegraph on 7 November).

Hopefully using long-term savings for short-term gain won’t become common place.  If growth in the economy is being led by consumer spending, dipping into the savings pot might disadvantage consumers’ long-term financial security.  It might also make the recovery unsustainable.

Pursuing a wealth goal helps to make the future more certain 

Savings play an important part in prudent financial planning.  Savings have regularly featured in my discussions with coaching clients.  They found that pursuing a wealth goal helped to make their future more certain.

Certainty could also be very important if working life keeps getting longer and the distance until State Pension Age (SPA) keeps getting longer.

The Telegraph’s Andrew Oxlade looked at this issue on 5 December, in a piece entitled “State pension age: The logic that suggests it will rise to 84”.  There’s a link to the piece at the end of this post.

The article quotes a number of experts who speculate about the impact of current demographic changes and the link to possible increases in the SPA by 2050.

3 wealth-related questions this Christmas

All of this speculation suggests we could ask ourselves 3 wealth-related questions this Christmas, to establish some milestones for our own wealth plans:

  • What savings goals will you pursue over the next five years to become more financially secure?
  • What level of financial security do you want to have achieved in the coming decade?
  • How much actions are you prepared to take to achieve further financial security in the next 20 years?

(What answers do you have to those questions?  Why not have that conversation with friends and family over the holiday season, then get some coaching to start making progress in 2014).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10497677/State-pension-age-the-logic-that-suggests-it-will-rise-to-84.html

This Year I Am Going To…

motivation

motivation (Photo credit: I am marlon)

I suspect any day is as good as another to change one’s life.  The start of January is popular since the year ahead is a clean slate.  Change seems more possible with 12 months to play with.

 

I wonder how many people pledging to make a change in their lives in 2013 know exactly what they are going to achieve by taking action ?

 

It seems to me there are complex psychological processes at work behind the scenes as change is mulled over.  It doesn’t matter whether that change entails learning a foreign language; eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day; or doing something about the extra weight gained before Christmas, by the time this year’s summer holiday begins.

 

Thankfully someone has already done the thinking about the motivation for change in one area, health, which may have a wider application.

 

Dr Tony Westbury, a sports psychologist from Edinburgh Napier University, and ultra-distance runner Dr Andrew Murray are advocates for an active lifestyle.  They make the case for abandoning a life spent chiefly sitting down, in favour of one involving regular exercise.  They told BBC Scotland that:

 

‘The most important aspect of this [shift to an active life] is your motivation for changing. Psychologists refer to motivation as the ‘why’ of behaviour – why we do what we do… motivationally the person who changes their behaviour out of sense of guilt or duty is different to the person who changes their behaviour because they love the activity’.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-20811369

 

If it is possible to generalise about change from that specific example, success in a new goal is more likely to come from a positive desire to benefit from a situation, rather than a negative wish to get away from something else.

 

So that focus on motivation could turn the initial example I mentioned that ‘I don’t like the extra weight I am carrying and I should do something about it’ into a more positive, commitment to ‘feel good about being a proportionate weight for my height and age by time the family goes on holiday in August’.

 

A clear motivating force provides one strong element which improves the likelihood of success.  The next steps in the example probably involve a calendar, some new trainers and – let’s be honest – a fair bit of will power.

 

At least with a positive end point in mind the journey from here to there is a bit more manageable.

 

Memories Are Made Of This

English: Complete neuron cell diagram. Neurons...

English: Complete neuron cell diagram. Neurons (also known as neurones and nerve cells) are electrically excitable cells in the nervous system that process and transmit information. In vertebrate animals, neurons are the core components of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My memory for names is patchy sometimes.  I can meet someone at a social function, hear their name, shake their hand and minutes later have forgotten what they are called.  Not a good attribute to display as the Christmas party season approaches.

 

I am going to try coaching myself to do better with remembering people’s names.  According to an item in the Guardian newspaper, about revising for exams, there might be a straightforward way to do this.

 

Pathways between neurons [the brain cells which store information] can be strengthened over time. Simple repetition – practising retrieving a memory over and over again – is the best form of consolidating the pattern.

 

I am going try using the person’s name a few times in conversation straightaway, to see if that locks it into my memory.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/mortarboard/2012/nov/06/how-your-brain-likes-to-revise