Do you have a love-hate relationship with the holidays?
Like you can’t wait to indulge in the eggnog and fig tarts . . . and buy everyone top of the line gifts, but know you’re going to regret it when it’s finally time to take off the oversized sweaters and pay the credit card bills?
Some people treat the holidays like a hibernation period, and go all out. They’ll worry about bikini season and tax bills when the snow melts. Other people abstain from the festivities and consumerism with the dedication of a Buddhist Monk. Do either of those extremes sound like you?
What if there was a way to indulge and enjoy without missing out altogether? Do you think it’s possible to feel completely satisfied, and still look and feel amazing? (Hint: I do!) Keep reading to learn how you can create the ultimate sweet spot in your holiday festivities.
As you probably know, NeuroGym is dedicated to creating change and opportunity from the inside out since, scientifically speaking, that’s the only true way to make real lasting changes.
Here are some mindset shifts to tackle any of the issues you may be facing this holiday season, so you feel healthy, happy, and refreshed for the new year.
This is the toughest part for many people. Have you ever created the ideal fitness or health plan, followed it for a while, then missed one day and it all fell apart? If this is you, be honest with yourself. It’s actually quite a normal (albeit unhelpful) human behavior.
What if you missed one day, forgave yourself, and picked it back up the next day? Do you think that would be better for you than stopping altogether . . . just because you didn’t make it 100%?
This applies to all the areas of your life. You said you’d go to the gym everyday, but you only went 5 days. You said you would make 20 sales calls a day, but you only got up to 17. You said you were going completely sugar free, but you had a cookie at your holiday work party.
This is a choice point for you.
At the moment, you’re out of integrity with your commitment to yourself. You have a few options for moving forward:
Beat yourself up about it and stop trying. Have thoughts like “I should have known I couldn’t do it. I never stick to anything I say I’m going to do."
Acknowledge the fact that you broke an agreement with yourself, then forgive yourself. Have thoughts like “I committed to working out everyday, but I missed today. What can I do tomorrow to make it easier for me to follow through on my commitment?” Now you’ve cleared the air and you’re creating space to make the next day more successful.
Now think for a minute about a friend or family member. What would you tell them if they missed one workout? Or even two? Would you encourage them to keep going, or would you criticize them for messing up?
It's important to acknowledge that you broke an agreement with yourself. You don’t have to accuse yourself, just state it then release it. If you hold onto it and bury the emotions, the incident can turn into shame, stored deep in your psyche. If you bring it to the surface, and release it, you can move forward with a clean slate.
So what if you missed your workout yesterday? Can you go tomorrow? Are 5 workout still better than no workouts? Seventeen calls better than no calls?
There’s no need to let the past slip-ups seep into your future potential. We’re all human, and no one is perfect. Instead of giving up, you can renegotiate your commitment, or find an accountability buddy.
Seriously, think about what the real goal is here. Are you really trying to workout every single day? Or are you trying to get into better shape so you can enjoy your life and feel good about your body?
The goal is progress, not perfection. Baby steps are better than no steps.
Around the holidays it can be easy to notice what you don’t have. Maybe your neighbors just got a new car, or your children's friends are all getting the latest Apple products—all way beyond your budget. This is an excellent time to practice having an empowered attitude, instead of living in a victim state. If you’re a parent, this is an ideal opportunity to instill the value in your kids, too!
Maybe you want to gift your spouse a week-long trip to Hawaii, but you’re not sure how you could raise the funds. Here are two options for how your thought patterns could go in this scenario.
"I would love to take my partner to Hawaii! . . . But, I probably won’t get that big of a bonus this year. I barely have enough to cover the bills and some small presents for the rest of the family. There’s no way I can get enough shifts at my job to earn an extra $2000 for the trip. Why did he get promoted instead of me? It’s not fair! Maybe I’ll start planning for us to go next year . . . ”
“I am taking my partner to Hawaii for the holidays! I’m not sure exactly how, but I can figure it out! I’m a resourceful, creative person. How can I make an extra $2000? Who could I call to ask for a money making opportunity? What skills could I offer?"
Some people, when faced with their dreams (and the challenges on the way), think “what if?” What if I don’t make enough money? What if the flight prices go up and I can’t afford it?” “What if things beyond my control get in the way and I simply can’t do it?
Other people in the same situation ask “How?” How can I get the money? How can I create an opportunity for myself? Who can I reach out to? How can I use my skills, my network, my resources?
If you have a scarcity mindset, and you’re focusing on what you don’t have, you’re activating a neural circuit that keeps you in “survival mode.” Stay in this state, and you’ll get only enough to get by, if that.
On the other hand, if you start feeling what you do have, and really feeling abundance, you’ll activate your motivation neural circuit. Now, instead of being a victim to your circumstances, your brain will start to take charge and create the changes necessary to achieve your ultimate dreams. You’ll start noticing opportunities that weren’t there before. You’ll be more aware of circumstances that can aid you in reaching your goals.
Everyone in life has challenges and obstacles. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is the way they perceive the obstacles.
Successful people see a challenge and look for an opportunity. They believe there’s always a way around or through anything that may be standing between them and their goal.
Unsuccessful people see a challenge right in front of them, and don’t bother looking over the obstacle, or under, or to the side. They just stop there.
We’re all faced with walls at some point—so do you keep staring at the wall, or do you look for ways to climb over it?
You know what they say: "It’s the thought that counts.”
Maybe you’re rolling your eyes a little because this one is so cliché. Despite how commonplace the idea is, have you ever really felt into it?
Think about a time someone gave you the perfect holiday gift. It was thoughtful, heartfelt, and specific to YOU. Reflect on how you felt about the person who took the time and effort to get it for you, to wrap it, and to present it to you with love. Were all of those positive feelings really about the gift itself, or how much it cost? Or was it more about how much love you felt from the sender?
Now think about a time you gave someone else the perfect gift—you shopped excitedly, wrapped it carefully, and presented it joyfully, excited to see the person’s reaction. Remember how they reacted. Feel how you felt in the moment. Was their excitement really about the present? Or was it about the fact that you took the time to show them you care?
Gift giving during the holidays doesn’t have to be about spending lots of money or getting the newest and best thing. Sometimes, a handwritten love letter means more than a $100 bouquet of flowers.
If we dissect the pleasures of gift giving, you’ll notice that full, open, honest love truly is the greatest gift of all.
Not sure what to get your parents? How about being 100% present with them in a conversation, or at the dinner table? Don’t know what to give your spouse? How about an hour of uninterrupted foot-rubbing, cuddling, and connecting? Your friends and family love you. The best gift you could give them is YOU—your authentic, uninterrupted, fully present attention.
Bonus: Giving is great for your health!
This crazy thing starts happening when you start living from a place of presence and gratitude—you’ll notice how many opportunities just start flowing toward you!
When you stop fixating on what you’re lacking, and start appreciating what you have, people will be drawn to your positivity, and will in turn provide more amazing things for you!
Have you ever experienced a time when you weren’t stressed about getting money, or better health, and things just fell into place easily for you?
We all have moments where we get trapped in a negative thought pattern. It’s totally natural to want the cool things your friends have, and feel bad about yourself for not creating those things in your life. BUT — you don’t need to get attached to those feelings. I think you’ll agree that they don’t make you feel good, and when you don’t feel good, you’re less likely to behave in a way that you can feel good about later.
It has been scientifically proven that the fastest way to a happy, positive state, is through feelings of gratitude. Sound too good to be true? Just give it a try!
If you spend the first five minutes of every morning listing off the things you’re grateful for, you’ll start noticing how much you LOVE your life. No one else gets to experience the love you get from your amazing partner, kids, or parents. No one else gets to wake up in your body, get up, get dressed, and see the world through your unique perspective.
What special talents do you possess? What’s something that comes easily and naturally to you? Who is someone close to you that you deeply cherish, and can’t imagine life without?
Sometimes we get so busy looking outside at things we don’t have, that we miss out on opportunities to cherish what we do have.
Maybe your partner travels for work, and you miss him a lot, so you sometimes nag him about the time spent away. What if instead, you committed to giving him your full attention and make him feel like the most loved and adored human in the world when he's around? Do you think he might try a little harder to schedule more time at home?
Or maybe you do that to your kids? They went off to college and stopped calling, so whenever they’re home you take the opportunity to lecture them on appropriate communication?
How about at work? Your boss dumps extra work on you . . . and maybe you feel annoyed at the extra effort being demanded. What if instead you saw it as an opportunity to show up for your boss and your team? And maybe it leads to a promotion . . .
I think you’re getting the point: Where in your life are you blind to opportunities because you feel wronged or that there's a lack of something?
. . . In that order.
Lots of people think: “Once I have enough ____, then I’ll be able to do _______, and then I’ll finally be ______!”
Wise people think “If I decide to be ______, I’ll be able to do ________. Then, I’ll have all the _______ I need!”
Your state is one of the most (if not THE most) important variables for you to be aware and in control of. More than your salary or your friends . . . or anything else, the way you show up to other people emotionally will impact everything you have and do in life.
Have you noticed that when you’re in a good mood, doors open for you? People approach you more, you seem to just receive things out of thin air? Like attracts like, and furthermore, what you expect from people is generally how they’ll show up to you. When you’re thinking positively, you attract positivity. When you walk around expecting people to lie cheat and steal, you attract liars, cheaters, and thieves.
Try going through your day expecting the best possible outcome from every scenario. Act under the assumption that all people are doing the best they can at any given moment, given their options at the time. Notice how you’re received, and how people around you behave.
When you decide to be someone others love and relate to, or be patient with your in-laws, you’ll start to notice that people want to open up to you. Your in-laws may live up to your new, positive expectations.
Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of dreading their visit, you set the intention of bonding with your in-laws? They may be resistant at first, but it takes two to quibble. If you decide to stop judging and just love them, you’ll find that there are things about them you can relate to.
Vulnerability is the key to connection, so this holiday season, try letting the walls down and being open and loving with the family members that bug you the most.
During this holiday season, set a goal for yourself: How many people can you get to smile today?
Think of a time when you were feeling down and a random passerby smiled at you. Did it brighten up your day? What if you could have that same effect on a few people each day? Imagine the ripple effect that single act could have in the world. If each of us committed to making five people a day smile from ear to ear, it would dramatically impact the holiday stress that many people experience.
It's a small thing that doesn't cost you anything, but it can make a huge impact.
The more you smile, the happier your mood will be, and when you smile at others, they're likely to perceive you in a better light. Not only that, but you're actually more likely to be remembered if someone meets you with a smile on your face!
Heading to a holiday office party and trying to meet and impress someone in a higher position than you? Make sure to wear a smile!
How are you going to apply these mindset shifts this holiday season? Can you think of someone in your life who would benefit from reading this? Share it with them, and let us know which mindset shift was your favorite. Happy mindset shifting!
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NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.