What’s your surprising lesson?

It’s interesting. We’ve been talking about things as though “2020” is relegated to this calendar year.

But as best we can tell, next year likely holds more of the same.

I’m not trying to be a downer. But I don’t do fake optimism. I’m all for feeling everything that comes up and then deciding what to do with it. Because the alternative is to resist our reality (you know…head, meet wall). Circumstances are what they are – our lessons, our responses, are in our control.

My client said to me during our coaching session last month, “The lesson of COVID is increased flexibility. I haven’t been as hard on myself when I fall short.”

Do you know how big that is for her? How big it is for most women? Mind. Blowing. Big.

Don’t skip over that. We’re masters at telling ourselves we could/should be better.

That we really messed that one up.

That we’ll never get our act together and, you name it…

Stop overeating.

Actually lose weight.

Finally stop talking down to ourselves.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

That one lesson is incredibly valuable. But it can’t be just head knowledge. How many books have you read that you’ve long since forgotten the title of, let alone the premise? It’s got to be ingrained. Practiced. It must become part of your being.

What’s your lesson?

It need not be humungous. And maybe it’s several small ones.

Acknowledge them. Write them down. Take time to appreciate them, to notice the positive impact on your life (relationships, health, work) …there’s not one area of your life unaffected by the lessons.

If you find yourself resisting a lesson, even thinking there are none, pay attention. The lessons are there when you’re ready for them. If you’re resisting them, they affect you anyway. But not in the way you want.

My hope for you, for me, for all my clients, is that we keep learning the next lesson. That we let it make us better. Stronger. Whether 2021 brings catastrophes or victories, be ready for it. Don’t let the circumstances of the world determine the year you’re going to have. Decide how you will come to it. Decide what’s important to you. To live up to your values. To remain in integrity with yourself.

I said at the beginning that I don’t do fake optimism. That said, I’m incredibly optimistic. I see people making incredible strides to better themselves in spite of the circumstances. And that tells me, it will last.

The 10 Best Holiday Hacks

Can you to savor the holidays? And get to the other side with healthy habits intact? Without regrets?

Absolutely.

Even during COVID?

Abso-freaking-lutely.

I’ve done it for years and I’m sharing my 10 Best Holiday Hacks so you can, too.

  1. Let go of New Year’s resolutions. Why? They’re a surefire road to over-indulging and letting your healthy habits take a dive. Who wants to wake up January 1 feeling like you’re behind? Not you.
  2. Instead, “resolve” how you want to feel on January 1st. And let that drive your choices this month. Say you want to feel strong or energized, what would you do throughout December to make that come true as you’re singing Auld Lang Syne?
  3. Practice gratitude. For all of it. Even COVID. What?! Yes. Go crazy with gratitude, large and small. Make it a daily awareness.
  4. Be picky. Treats abound during the holidays, but not all are “worth it.” Eat only the best and savor it without guilt. Let all the others go. And think about making treats special, like drinking hot chocolate while driving around town looking at holiday lights, rather than having it become an everyday habit.
  5. Avoid drama. Prepare a graceful response to remove yourself from unhelpful situations. You don’t need to get hooked into other people’s crazy. And, you don’t need to make any of your own. 😊

    Can you to savor the holidays without regrets? I’ve done it for years and I’m sharing my 10 Best Holiday Hacks so you can, too.
    Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
  6. Beyond food. In what innovative ways can you enjoy the holidays beyond peppermint mochas and Christmas cookies? Think cheesy movies, ice skating, blasting Christmas music…let food be ancillary to your overall enjoyment of the season.
  7. Be kind to yourself. This is true at all times, but especially when stress is high. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can (and so is everyone else).
  8. Identify what’s most important. And don’t let it get overshadowed by shiny objects this time of year. In fact, this may be one of the biggest gifts of the pandemic. With less distraction, focus is easier.
  9. Define healthy. What does it look like for you during the holidays? Identify the habits you want to maintain and those that may need to shift. Plan ahead.
  10. Re-think traditions. Another COVID reality…what new traditions will you create for yourself? For your family? Take this opportunity to notice what previous ones you stuck with out of obligation.

There you have it, my 10 Holiday Hacks to savor the holidays with your healthy habits intact.

Feel harder than it sounds? Schedule a strategy session and I’ll help you enjoy the holidays and wake up January 1 with pants that fit (and are maybe even a little loose!).

Look at 2020 like a dumbbell

We talk about 2020 being a bad year. Or a…

Dumpster fire.

Mess.

Nightmare.

But in comparison to what?

I’m not making light. It’s that I think perspective is helpful. History is chock full of $h!i storms. But even so, beyond gaining perspective, I’m not big on comparisons.

I’d rather we decide what to do with what we have. To decide how to look at it. Interpret it. And most of all, how to respond. When we choose how to think and what to believe about our circumstances, we are in control.

No, we don’t control the things (pandemic, elections, fires). We control our response.

I’ve just come through a very challenging few months (on top of the pandemic and all the other “stuff”). Going into it, I told myself I would use the experience as my leadership development training.

And I had to remind myself of it daily. Sometimes hourly. And you know what? It worked.

It’s not even about the outcome (although I’m happy with it).

It was about who I was becoming in the process. It made me stronger for the next round. Because there will always be a next round.

When I was in my 20s and 30s, I sincerely thought I could get to a place where most things were handled. Wasn’t that cute?

My biggest lesson is continuing to live with the $h!t storms and letting them grow me into who I want to be.

Several coaching clients have lost 20, 30, even more than 40 lbs. during COVID. Because they decided there was no better time to care for their health and well-being. They used the challenge of a pandemic to do what they’d always wanted to do, but didn’t know how.

In a day-to-day context, look at challenges like a dumbbell. When you pick one up and use it, you’re growing your muscles. You may get sore, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Until you pick up a heavier one. Which is the only way to get stronger.

In a day-to-day context, look at challenges like a dumbbell. When you pick one up and use it, you’re growing your muscles.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

We’re confronted with these “growth opportunities” constantly. For you it might be working from home along with everyone else in the household. Or dealing with a family member who drives you crazy. Or struggling to say no to another glass of wine at an event.

What is your dumbbell? Use each one to become the person you are meant to be. Want to be. Deserve to be.

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