Be true to you. 

If that is the only thing you read and take a way from this article, then I am happy with that.  What does that mean exactly when you put it in the context of December vs. January?  Sometimes we simply run on auto-pilot.  We go through the motions of routine, expectations and tradition and we forget to pay attention to what is going on with us while we run the December and January auto-pilot programs in our minds.

This post isn’t about telling you to do one thing or the other.  This post is simply suggesting that you pay attention. Make sure those auto-pilot reactions associated with the season are true to you.  If you find yourself spread too thin, broke, exhausted and/or frustrated, then you might want to snap out of auto-pilot and take a minute to be aware of what brings you true joy over the holidays.

For example, in December a lot of us are in the headspace of finishing off a year, much like the end of an emotional season; we are programmed, or dare I say it, socially hypnotized to say “Goodbye” to whatever the current year is in December and “Hello” to the New Year that is coming.  We sometimes get caught up in everyday life and overlook that we are still moving from one day to the next, just like always.

That social hypnosis we fall prey to can include a lot of auto-pilot stress for a lot of people.  We hear conversations change from “How are you?”, “How about that weather we are having?” to the seasonal standard, “Hey, do you have your baking done?” or “Do you have your wrapping/shopping/lights/decorating done?”  It’s as if we are all committed to participating in the social norm of financial stress and deadline that December brings. 

Some of us even allow ourselves to fall off any health routine we may be committed to and take a holiday hiatus from our true personal goals and ideals.  Social hypnosis has programmed some of us to find this as totally acceptable, so we sacrifice being true to ourselves just because it is December.  Now, I am a big fan of all the goodies and traditions as it all brings me great joy, but my personal goal is to pay attention to what I am doing and roll through the holidays gracefully without having too much peripheral damage to manage afterwards.  I’ve been there, done that, and personally, the return on investment is not worth it.

In a nutshell, December brings these among many other things:

  • Social obligations
  • Calendar Wizardry to fit “it” and “everyone” all in. If you thought you were busy before, stand back routine because the Holiday Season is in town and it has plans for you… “I’m going to need you to just go ahead and make it all work, m’kay?”
  • Food – big meals/overeating/baking
  • Financial stress. “Hey Debt!  Remember all that progress we made this year shrinking you down? Well how about we fatten you right back up again.  It’s Christmas!  Why should I be the only one gaining weight this month… am I right?”

But wait, that is not all we are socially hypnotized to do.  What about January? It’s a New Year, so that means time for a whole new host of pressure we are wired to add to ourselves; social hypnosis has made it such that we must do at least these 2 things at the stroke of midnight:

  • Reflection (Always a good thing, but not just on January 1st folks!)
  • Resolutions

Take time to plan and reflect what you want to do in the coming year, but don’t make it a snap decision at the stroke of midnight. It is as if at the stroke of midnight we are smacked with the New Year’s stick and BAM! -NEW YOU! … Um no.  Still the same you…. Sorry to break the news, but it’s a conditional responsive reaction to the New Year that you are socially hypnotized to feel. 

How many people get that gym membership for Christmas and decide to start January first? “What do you mean the gym isn’t open? The nerve…”  and find themselves transferring, selling, or cancelling in March. 

Let me circle back now.  Be true to you.  Think about what matters to you now before the frenzy starts.  Set some goals that feel natural and realistic.  Try the age-old “S-M-A-R-T Goals” approach and be successful for the whole year.  Set some personal boundaries and feel good about them.

Let me also add that I am not a Scrooge, but rather one of the biggest fans of the Holiday Season.  I love traditions.  It is a time of year where people come together, feel generous and are overall more kind. People extend themselves and help those in need.  Awareness for those less fortunate is at the forefront now.  All I am suggesting is that we don’t lose sight of it.  Let’s keep the warm fuzzy feelings in our hearts close, and stress at arm’s length. 

Be true to you.  Pay attention.

If you need help staying on track with that, you know where to find me.

Peace on earth and goodwill to ourselves, AND fellow humans.