• #stayfocusedHow To Stay Focused And Enjoy The Holidays… Oh the holidays, what a joyful time of year until you look at your “to do” list. Drag out boxes of decorations, decorate the tree, hang Christmas lights, shop for everyone, oh but what do they want?, email or call everyone for their Christmas list, then go shopping, dig out the wrapping paper from the basement corner, wrap the presents, bake cookies, decorate cookies, clean the kitchen after baking and decorating the cookies, find an outfit for all the Christmas parties or hope to fit into the ones you already have, meet with friends that are in from out of town, communicate with all parties to finalize when, where, what time, and what can I bring?, look up recipes to figure out what to make, go grocery shopping for all ingredients, crap…Christmas cards, ugh…everyday stuff…laundry, making dinners, cleaning the house, oh yeah…the 8-5 job, exercise, sleep… SCREAM! 

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays and the magic of this season. However I also understand the pressure it can bring as well as the desire many woman have to try and do it all. But if we are speeding 90 miles an hour getting ready for the holidays, we may not slow down in time and end up flying right by them. When January arrives we may feel exhausted with empty wallets and clothes that fit a bit too tight.

    In my article Dreading the Holidays? What you need to do now to get what you really want! I shared a list of 4 things you can do to experience what you want this holiday season. Here is the list: 

    1. Write down what you want to experience.
    2. Think about what you can do to move toward it.
    3. Keep your focus on what you want.
    4. Let each decision you make move you closer to what you want, not further from it.

    In the article I also expressed my decision to enjoy the holidays before they arrive. In the follow up article Plan Your Holidays… I shared my action steps to what I want this Holiday season. 

    In this article I want to share with you tips and tools you can use to keep your focus and make decisions that move you closer to what you want. 

    How A Simple Index Card Can Help You Keep Your Focus

    I do believe everyone wants to enjoy this holiday season. So this may be the best “desire” to focus on in this article. So, if this is what we want, how can we keep our focus despite the additional distractions the holidays can bring? And, what decisions can we make that will move us closer? 

    Keeping our focus is similar to reminding ourselves to do something. If we want to remember to call a friend we may write a reminder on a sticky note or put it in our calendar or even set our alarm on our phone. Obviously we want to post our notes where we will see them. You can do the same thing with your desire to enjoy the holidays.

    Personally, I like to write on an index card what I want to focus on and then I tape it on my bathroom mirror where I know where I will see it often. 

    You may think “Yeah, this is great but how can I enjoy the holidays when there is so much to do and so little time to do it?” 

    Make Decisions That Support You And Your Focused Desire

    It is true that some things are beyond our control. Recognizing what is within our control and letting go of what is not can bring each of us so much peace. The only thing we can truly control is ourselves and this starts with the decisions we make.

    Every decision we make will either move us closer to what we want or further from it. For example if I want to pay off my credit card but decide to purchase a new outfit that I don’t need and charge it to my credit card that obviously does not move me closer to a zero balance on my credit card.

    You Do NOT Have To “Do It All” – Give Yourself Permission To Simplify

    When it comes to the holidays, Christmas especially, we women can take on too much in addition to what we already do. We have great expectations of doing all these things and somewhere in the middle we can become frustrated and overwhelmed trying to do it all.

    But what if we don’t have to do it all? Who said we had to bake 20 different variations of Christmas cookies? Just because your Mom, Grandma, and Great Grandma did, does that mean we have to? What if we only made one kind or bought (gasp) cookies? What would be wrong with that?

    This is an example of making decisions that move us closer to enjoying the holidays. Enjoying the holidays may mean simplifying or even saying no to things, events, or even people. 

    This is what I needed to do recently. I put unnecessary pressure on myself and ended up frustrated, overwhelmed, and a little anxious. Thankfully, it only lasted a few days before I realized what I needed to do. 

    I asked myself, “What absolutely HAS to get done today?” Then I gave myself permission to slow down, simplify, and delegate. 

    Keeping Your Focus Will Help You Overcome The Challenges Heading Your Way

    So, what decisions can you make to help you enjoy the holidays? Can you delegate anything on your “to do” list? Can you give your neighbor girl $20 to do your Christmas wrapping? Can you get help cleaning the house or throw out your white glove this month? Perhaps your family can draw names for Christmas instead of purchasing gifts for everyone. Maybe you can pass on the competition with your neighbors in who has the most lights on their house. 

    Why keep your focus…because things and people, not knowingly, will challenge you and try to distract you from what you want. We need to keep our focus by keeping our desire in front of us as a continual reminder.

    It is like driving in a snow storm. It is critical to keep our eyes where we are going. The last thing we want is to take our eyes off the road and end up stuck in a snow bank.

    The simple act of writing what we want on an index card or sticky note is very powerful. It reminds us what is important and provides extra strength to say no to what does not bring us closer to what we want.

    Here’s What To Do:

    Write what you want on an index card, sticky note, or set a reminder or alarm on your smartphone. If you struggle with what is on your “to do” list, ask yourself what is most important. Prioritize your list then ask yourself with each decision “Will this help me achieve what I want or keep me from it?” 

    Next week… I will share tips on how to keep your peace with people. 

    It is my desire to empower you with tools and practical tips you can use. If you find this helpful, please share it!