Choose Happiness This Holiday Season

Happy Holiday


Choose Happiness This Holiday Season

This year has been a tumultuous year for our country. There have been upsets in elections, hurricanes and protests. As we head into the holiday season, I hope we can all turn a page on the things we don’t have in common and focus on being happy. So many people DREAD the holidays! There are many reasons such as; extra work, shopping, cooking, entertaining, family obligations and let’s not forget strife. Family strife comes in all shapes and sizes just like the ghosts of Christmas’s past and it can rob you of a happy and joyous holiday season.

This year let’s set aside the strife and focus on harmony, happiness and being kinder to one another. The holiday’s are about family, friendship and spending time together. If you’re travelling this year, bring your patience and try smiling at the people you meet. By keeping a positive attitude you can elevate stress and make someone else’s day.

Positivity outweighs negativity five to one, conversely negativity sucks the life out of relationships. Lucky for us we get to choose our attitude. Here are some other notable stress buster to keep you in your happy place;

  • Keep an exercise routine, don’t overeat, and plan ahead. I love to go for a nice walk on Christmas morning once the turkey’s in and cooking. Remember that just because there is a huge meal on the table there is no need to overindulge.
  • If shopping fills you with anxiety try drawing names or giving everyone gift cards. People really like to buy their own gifts anyway.
  • If baking or extra cooking puts you in a bad mood, try a cookie exchange or catering a meal. Last year, I made two-three dozen cookies and I ended up with 6-7 different types with an exchange group.

Let happiness rule your holiday season, trust me it will be contagious. May Peace and Harmony be with you this season and in the New Year!

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, writer and blogger. She can be reached at jcross@crossnm.com.

 

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The Power of Owning Your Choices

The Power of Owning Your Choices

As we cruise into holiday mode, there will be a plethora of choices to make including which gifts to buy, what parties to attend and which family members to visit. For some, the holidays are a joyous time but for others stress can overwhelm you and ruin the season. There may be underlying family struggles or hurt feelings lingering from your past.  There is good news; you hold the power to move forward within you by owning your choices.

I recently watched a segment about a reunion at Alcatraz. Former prisoners and guards from the notorious prison came back for a visit and to share a meal. Admittedly, it was an odd segment but one of the prisoners said something very cathartic which caught my attention. He was talking about his story and how he ended up in Alcatraz. He robbed a bank and was locked up as a result of his crime. During his time in prison, he came to realize that he had chosen Alcatraz. He explained he had made a choice to rob a bank and the choice led him to being captured and then serving time to pay his debt to society, so in essence his own choice put him in Alcatraz. After his release, he never committed another crime again.  He had an awakening and owned up to his choices. The power of owning up to what he did released him. Conversely, another one of the inmates interviewed was now in his 80’s and had only turned his life around five years ago.  He turned away from his decades of crime and a life of wrecked personal relationships to start again.  

Our choices have short-term and long-term effects in our life. There are methods to head off negative choices which start by weighing your decisions carefully. Here are three simple steps to consider;

  • First, intentionally prepare for a decision and avoid impulse decisions. Think about the benefits, downsides and if the choice fits in with your goals and direction. I use this to stop myself from shopping or eating something I don’t need. Would I rather have one more blouse or money in my 40lK for retirement?
  • Second, evaluate the possible outcomes. For evaluating I use the Suzy Welch method described in her book 10.10.10. Consider the ramifications or benefits of your decision today, tomorrow or down the road. In Suzy’s terms, how will your choice affect you in the next 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years? When I think of this in terms of the prisoner example, he was probably living in the 10 minute, 10 month zone but not truly considering how his choices would haunt him for years if he were caught.
  • Finally, follow through and own your choices, don’t rationalize. Sometimes moving forward on some of life’s harder decisions can be difficult. Things such as whether to accept a new job, move across country or start a new venture can create monumental changes in life. Personally, I find emotional decisions to be the most draining. Should you keep a friendship after someone has betrayed you? Are your kids on solid ground?

To help with the decision process you can use a few tools to guide you.

  • Collaboration and asking feedback are a good way to get a 360° perspective.
  • Considering your past experiences and personal knowledge then applying wisdom to create a solid barometer.
  • Listening to your intuition or what I call your internal voice, this can provide invaluable guidance in decision making.

Is there a choice or something you need to let go of this holiday season? Maybe you’re facing a dysfunctional family situation or you need to forgive someone.  Look at your choices with discernment, clarity and from the perspective of will this matter today, tomorrow or next month. Then, move on with confidence. Owning your choices and decisions can be very liberating. Happy Holidays!

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com .


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