3 Questions to Ask Yourself
How often we plunge into the holidays, assuming things will be different from the stress we experienced last year. It reminds me of Einstein’s definition of insanity, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” While tradition grounds us in meaning and memories, it can also rob us of the freedom to experience something better.
Here’s a simple but powerful way to reveal what should guide your holiday planning. Having used this exercise in numerous coaching and personal conversations, I can attest to its value; it is time well spent. Here we apply it with the holidays in mind, but it can be used in any situation.
Well before the holidays, ask these 3 questions of yourself:
- What matters most to you?
- What matters most in your relationships?
- What matters most for the whole (such as family, or your organization)?
Then ask family members the same questions at an unhurried time. Weave it into a conversation one on one, or hold a family discussion. When you ask others, it’s important to simply listen; don’t interrupt to give your opinion or influence them in any way. Feel free to delve for more details by saying in a neutral tone, “Tell me more about that”, or “Why is that”? Their answers may surprise you and challenge your assumptions and expectations.
With these responses, it becomes interesting to decide on holiday activities to align with the ideals that have been revealed.
- Which holiday traditions still make sense? Which don’t?
- How can you adjust your social interactions so you can enjoy them the most?
- What care can you give yourself to allow for your own priorities? For family priorities?
- How does your spending reflect what means the most to you?
Perhaps one or two tweaks in typical plans can create a huge difference. Maybe changes on a grander scale sound exciting. One doctor I know understood she would be unable to provide her children with their traditional fixings and routines, due to emerging time constraints. She opted for takeout Chinese on Christmas instead of spending her limited time solo in the kitchen with preparations. It became one of the family’s more fun holidays- a powerful reminder of the holiday that was spent on what mattered most.
It takes reflection to stay out of auto mode. It takes some courage to change the tide of holidays past. Change always brings a measure of uncertainty. There may always be someone who isn’t pleased. However, it’s never too late to create more meaning and enjoyment by aligning as closely as possible to what’s in your heart. Who knows? You may be creating some of the most memorable holiday seasons yet.