Before you can even think of having the holiday that you desire you have to decide what is important.
More than that, you have to decide what’s important to YOU. Yes, you may have kids, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and partners that are part of the holiday season. We will take them into account in a later post, but right now, we’re talking about what is important to you and only you.
** If you are in a relationship, and can include your partner without being too influenced by them (there will be time for compromise later) this would be a great exercise to do together.
This sounds overly simple, but it is a step that most people overlook. So much of what we do through the holiday is more out of obligation and habit rather than genuine desire. I don’t know about you, but obligation is the quickest way to take the joy out of anything.
Anytime that little voice in your head says that you “should” do something, that is your cue to take a minute to examine what it is that WANT to do. If your want and should line up, great! Go for it. If not, it’s time to make some changes. The good news is that you can apply this process of shoulds, needs and wants to any situation.
Let’s examine the difference between shoulds, needs and wants. From a joy perspective shoulds are the biggest enemy. There is no quicker way to squelch your joy, your freedom, your serenity, your magic than to believe you should do something.
Needs are next on the joy killing list. Not as bad as shoulds, but not a want. Think of how you feel if you “should” do laundry or if you “need” to do laundry. It’s still laundry, but can you feel the difference in the two statements? And if you are someone that wants to do laundry, please contact me, I have some laundry for you!
Wants are what we are shooting for. Realistically, our holidays are going to be a combination of wants and needs. The goal is to remove or reframe all of your shoulds.
Download the worksheet here and take 10 or 15 minutes to make a list of your shoulds, your needs and your wants. Just write for the entire time. Don’t judge, erase, or reframe anything just yet. Just write.
When you’ve written down all of the shoulds, needs and wants you can think of take a minute to examine where you are spending most of your time. The more shoulds you have is typically in direct relation to how unpleasant holiday season is. Or if you’re like I was a few years ago, living my whole life from shoulds, your whole life can get pretty unpleasant living from shoulds.
Now look to see if any of your shoulds ended up in your need or want list. If so, cross them off, they aren’t really a should. Congratulations! Our goal is to get rid of all of your shoulds.
Now looking at the shoulds that you have left, take a minute and think about how it would feel to NOT do any of them. Scary, maybe, but go beyond that…. Are these shoulds really necessary? Do any of your shoulds really make the holiday season better? Are there wants and needs that could replace some of the shoulds?
For example, My husband and I always felt like we needed to cook a big dinner for Christmas, because that’s just what you do. That is what both of our families did, so when we got married that’s what we did.
Once we examined this we recognized that we wanted to celebrate the holiday, but the hub bub around a big meal was not pleasant for us. We agreed that would enjoy cooking breakfast instead. A big breakfast is way easier and way less expensive to cook and we have the rest of the day to connect, relax and visit with family. Our should turned into a want. What shoulds can you let go of, or change into something that you want?
Do you have any wants? Having wants is even more important than having shoulds. Be brave, maybe your wants aren’t anything that you or your family have done for the holidays. That’s great!! Create a new tradition, if its something you want, I guarantee will be better than what you “should” be doing. Spending the holiday doing things that you want is exactly what will make for a nourishing holiday season.
Hang onto your worksheet. We’ll reference it in future posts. Keep adding to it as things come up that fall under the should, need and want list. The more you can add, the more detailed you can be, the more you’ll get out of this series of blog posts.
Haven’t gotten all of your shoulds off your list yet? Don’t worry. Over the next 3 days we will explore more ways to redefine why and how the holidays feel good to you so that you can nourish, play, give, receive and connect through the holiday season.
Follow our blog or click here to sign up for our newsletter. Oh, and the tools we’re going to give you aren’t just for the holiday season. These tools are essential to living a life you desire all year long.