It’s hard to believe that the holidays are already here and it will be December next week! I truly love the holiday season, but I also know that even for the jolliest and merriest amongst us, the overwhelm can be real. The end of the year is supposed to be a time of celebrations, excitement, fun, and wonder; balanced with some time for reflection, resetting, and getting ready to enter a new year bringing our best. But we’ve all probably experienced times that it hasn’t gone that way - despite our best intentions. So, I’m going to share a proven strategy to help you conclude your year feeling fulfilled instead of depleted, and start your new year feeling fresh and inspired! A plan that I’ve used to help myself and our Breakthrough members experience more of the magic life has to offer, not just at the holidays, but year round.
Even loving the holidays as I do, I’ve experienced my share of anxiety, stress, depression and guilt during this time of year, and I know I’m not alone in that. In my own self-reflection over the years, and in working with clients for almost 15 years now, I’ve identified something that I know for a fact contributes to those more unpleasant feelings. We stop taking care of ourselves. We get so busy with things that seem essential that the things we normally do to take care of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health start to fall by the wayside.
This past week in the gym I had conversations with quite a few members that went something like this:
“I went so crazy at our friends-giving party last weekend, and now this week is Thanksgiving. I’m just gonna give up until the new year…”
“My schedule is starting to heat up with holiday events, and I realized I can only make one training session this week so I think I’m just going to skip training altogether...”
If that sounds familiar, don’t worry, it isn’t just you! These are things so many of us can relate to and have expressed in one way or another. One of the things I reminded some of our members of this week is the analogy of getting a flat tire on your car. If you got a flat, you’d call roadside assistance to come fix the tire. You’d be inconvenienced by the delay, and have to spend some money to replace the tire, but fairly quickly you’d be back on the road going the direction you had planned to go. Most likely you wouldn’t pop the other three tires, set your car on fire, and run off screaming. Since we wouldn’t do that to our cars, we certainly can do better with how we care for ourselves.
I know the holiday season doesn’t feel like the right time for restricting ourselves and forcing ourselves to focus on “healthy habits”. Besides, how boring is that anyway?! This article is all about experiencing MORE MAGIC! So, what magic do you want to experience more of right now?
As for me, I want to feel vibrant, energetic and alive. I want to show up fully present to all the holiday events I am committing to. I want to experience deep connections with the family and friends I’ll be spending time with. I want to feel capable of continuing to learn and grow, while enjoying the experiences in front of me.
I give myself the best chance at all of that when I stay consistent in my exercise, eating habits and other things I do for my self care. Does that mean I expect myself not to compromise at all during the holidays? Of course not! I will be indulging in some additional treats at parties and holiday gatherings. I will have weeks that I might miss a scheduled training session. Things don’t have to be “perfect” in order for us to stay healthy in mind, body and spirit.
This time of year, and whenever my life gets busier, I remind myself of another analogy - the concept of the “Big Rocks”. Imagine you have an empty jar, and a pile of big rocks, smaller
rocks, and sand. If you put the sand in first, you won’t have room for all the other rocks to fit in the jar. If you put the big rocks in first, the smaller rocks and sand flow into the jar around the big rocks and there is room for everything. I use the Big Rocks idea to help me make sure that no matter what else is going on, I’m doing the things that help me take care of myself, and allow me to include the things in my life that matter most.
Take nutrition as an example. The Big Rocks of nutrition are making sure we get enough protein, vegetables and water. If we consistently get enough of those things, there is room for “sand” in the jar. Meaning having mashed potatoes and pie at Thanksgiving, and an occasional holiday cookie aren’t a big deal. For exercise, the biggest bang for the buck comes from getting two strength training sessions in each week, so those become the Big Rocks that we prioritize.
The Big Rocks are the things that get more of my attention and focus. They are either things I specifically want more of in my life, or the things I do to take care of myself so that I can connect with those magical things. There is still room for the smaller rocks and sand, they simply require less attention from me, and fall into place naturally when the Big Rocks are in place first.
There is no magic pill - we are the magic. As we get deeper into the holidays and approach the end of the year, I encourage you to focus on the Big Rocks. Set some "non-negotiables” in terms of nutrition, exercise and other self-care practices. I promise you, this simple plan will amaze you with how effective it can be in connecting you with what you want more of. Embrace your own magic through seemingly small actions, allow yourself to experience more of the magic that life has to offer by showing up as your best self.
Strength, Love and Magic,
PS - I have a More Magic Planner that I use to help me stay on track with my Big Rocks when life gets busy. The planner will be available for all Breakthrough members to grab in the gym next week, BUT I want everyone to be able to use it! If you aren’t a Breakthrough member and want the Planner, just email us at email@example.com and we will send it over!