Navigating the Holidays With Intention

Share this:

So how much pumpkin pie did you eat last year, how many extra pounds did you gain during the holidays, how many relatives ended up staying at your place unannounced, or how many parties did you go to that you did not want to do to?

We always hear about setting goals for the beginning of the New Year, yet I personally find this time of year is a chance to reflect and take stock, regroup and make sure I am on track to accomplishing my goals for the present year and prepare for these last few months so I can hit the New Year excited and ready to go.  By taking stock now, I can look at what still needs to get done and how do I want this last part of the year to look and how I am going to get it all done.

You see, most often people spend this part of the year just surviving from one holiday to another like a piece of paper in the wind.  When the wind finally dies and then they finally breathe as they get to the other side, the New Year, they’re feeling burnt out and like they have just been through a hurricane. It does not have to be that way.

So lets try something different this year and see how it works for you.  There are no excuses because the kids are now back in school, the weather is changing (well sort of, summer seems to be stretching out this year), and so it is time to grab a cup of tea, find a nice spot to sit, get a piece of paper and pen (or your iPad) and get clear what it means to complete this year feeling like it was enjoyable and rewarding.

To do this you need to ask, what do you want the holidays to look like, what still needs to be accomplished, what needs to be different?  You see, we so often just let things happen and then complain that we feel out of control or things did not go as we had wanted.  Well, if we take the time to slow down, reflect and set some goals in place, the holidays can be a fun time that is more intentional.

It is even good to sit down as a family and talk about what is important to all of you as the holiday season comes up.

What is essential is to not let others determine what is important to you or your family.  It is easy to be talked in to something you do not want to do, but if you are clear what your goals are then it is easier to say, “No.”

It actually might mean the opposite: for some people do not have much going on and the holidays can be lonely, so it might mean looking in to ways to get connected to others.

Another important area here is being clear what charities you want to give to and how much so this takes the pressure off last-minute decisions.

The point is having a clear vision of your priority for the holidays, it could be about being social, being close as a family, vacationing, giving back, extended family, work commitments, and the list can go on.  If we are not clear what we want this time to look like, we will be like a ship in a current without a pilot, and we will end up all over the place, feeling frazzled and beaten up.

So sit down, get clear what you want and make it happen.


Dr. Shelly Zavala can be reached via

Share this: