It’s December again! As another year speeds to its close, most of us are elbow-deep in the holiday traditions that give us the blueprint for exactly how to spend the final weeks of our year.
These traditions lay out the process of finalizing the year. They make us feel good—that keeps them powerful enough to repeat every year.
Our traditions are handed down through generations unless we consciously update them. Although they can be tough to break, a momentous event like a birth, death, marriage, divorce or a move can be the catalyst for reviewing them and deciding which ones we really want going forward.
Do you have any holiday traditions that you use to maneuver through the challenges inherent to the season? Wouldn’t it be great to have the benefit of the freedom that all traditions give us: the knowledge of exactly what to do, no matter what happens?
Over the years I’ve invented three holiday-maneuvering traditions that have increased the joy of the season for myself, my family and friends, and my clients:
1. I choose my feelings. On Friday after Thanksgiving, I visualize what I want to be true for me through December 31. While Black Friday brings the traditional “shop-til-you-drop” for many people, for me it brings the luxury of counting my blessings and claiming how I want to feel for the next 4 to 6 weeks. Whether the year has been financially abundant for us or not (I’ve had both), I know I always have a choice about how I want to feel. Since I believe that I bring about what I think about, taking the time on this day allows me to get a jump start on managing any of the emotional challenges of the season as well as being sure that I come out on the other side of them ready to rock the New Year.
2. I consider my abundance. In the midst of the retail madness around me, I take a moment each morning to be thankful for the abundance that surrounds me—in the decades of love shared with my beloved, in the generous support and delight of my friends and chosen family, in the beauty of my surroundings and my appreciation for everything I’ve achieved or received in the past year. Keeping my focus on abundance helps me to keep my attention on sharing gifts instead of buying things. This gives me a feeling of peace and calm that grows every year.
3. I confirm my delight. This is a very emotional time of the year for me, so I adopt the idea that everyone I meet is my personal Santa—each one has a gift for me. (Although this seemed moderately insane when I first began it, it gets easier the more I practice it—although I am by no means perfect at it yet!) Remember what it was like to visit Santa when you were a kid, tell him what you really wanted for Christmas, and believe it could really happen? This tradition triggers me to shift into a positive state in case I find myself in a potentially negative situation—knowing how much higher than normal my seasonal emotions can run. It helps me remember that I can always choose a feeling of delight in the face of difficulty.
What are your traditions for this time of year? As the year ends and we enjoy all the gifts of the season, Ellen and Chuck and I are wishing you all the joy your heart can hold, in whatever ways you celebrate.
We’ll be back in January with a blueprint for success in 2015 that we think you’ll really enjoy!