With just about one week left of 2015, most of us are rushing around finishing last minute holiday shopping, making plans to be at this party and that party, or scurrying to make preparations to host family and friends. Some people say it's a wonderful season and while that may be true, I'm often more present to how overwhelming it can be for me and other people.
The prevailing experience that I come to at this time of year is overwhelm. That's a word we often use, but let's define that experience.
The dictionary offers these definitions:
- bury or drown beneath a huge mass
- defeat completely
- give too much of a thing to (someone)
As a coach, I define overwhelm as the experience of being committed to a number of things and feeling that you don't have enough time/resources to be good enough at the things that you are committed to being good enough at. Kind of liking wanting to win multiple games, but feeling like no matter what you do, you will lose.
It feels like losing at all the things you care about and it's especially present during the holidays. There is never enough time to see all the people you "should" see, not enough time to prepare the meal the way you want to, not enough money to buy the gifts you want to give, not enough money you could spend to get the love and connection you yearn for, not enough you can do at work because you are consumed with all of these other things, not a good enough brother, sister, mother, cousin, and on, and on.
Not to mention of course, as we complete our year, we recount all the things that we didn't do this year, all the things we hoped would happen and hasn't, the resolutions we made that we didn't stay with and the goals we'd hoped for that didn't pan out.
That's the perfect formula for a big ole pile of overwhelm.
And, I don't know about you, but when I'm overwhelmed, all I want to do is check out: drink more, eat more, sleep more, anything to avoid being with the feeling of not being good enough at everything I care about.
So, here are three steps you can take to kick holiday overwhelm in the face and create a launching pad for 2016.
1. Make a list of all the things you think you could have done better in 2015.
Make it an exhaustive list. As many things as you can think of, both tangible and intangible.
Then, I want you read the list out loud and declare to yourself and whatever you believe in that you are willing to forgive yourself for all the things that you could have done better in 2015. Next, I want you to rip that paper to shreds and throw it away, light it on fire or dissolve with an industrial chemical.
LET. IT. GO.
2. Make a list of all the things you accomplished in 2015.
I'm talking obvious things (promotions, marriage, babies, raises, quitting your job, etc.) and I'm talking the more obscure things (learned to love yourself more, improved your leadership, made a difference for a friend, gave money to someone who inspired you, forgave someone, etc.)
Your job is to see who you really were this year. To take a real accounting of the great things that you did this year, the great person you were, the growth you had and the ground you took in 2015. It's sort of like your own personal highlight reel for the year. You might be resisting here, but you tell me, are you more likely to have a great end of 2015 and a powerful 2016 if you are relating to your greatness and seeing your accomplishments, or if you are beating yourself up and criticizing yourself?
3. CELEBRATE 2015!
The best piece of advice I could give you to have the best 2016 of your life, is to do step 1 and 2 so diligently that all you are left with is being present to your own greatness. So present in fact, that you are bursting with celebration for the rest of the year. Even if it feels weird, celebrate yourself. Toast yourself and your friends. Enroll them in taking this on with you so all of you are present to the special year that 2015 was for you.
As you celebrate, you will notice that some subtle urgings begin to arise for where you want to be at the end of 2016. Write those little nudges of inspiration down, let your dreams arise and take form as you ring in the new year.
Take on these 3 steps to kick holiday overwhelm out of your space and create a launching pad for an amazing 2016.
This is your year, your time and place. You laid the groundwork in 2015, now is the time to bring all of you to 2016.
Go Get It. Happy New Year! Congratulations on 2015!