Fall into…FOCUS? That doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? What sounds like fun is running through Starbucks, grabbing a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte and going to buy a new pair of red sequined Uggs. Yeah. That sounds like fun.
Do you know what’s no fun? Waking up on December 26th with the holiday hangover…you know what that looks like. You’re 7 pounds heavier, you’re flat broke and dreading the credit card statement that’s coming your way the first of January, and your family is in a huge fight or, worse, not speaking at all because you spent no quality time together throughout the holidays.
If we want to beat the holiday hangover, then we have to focus now.
Here’s the three areas that need our focus today:
1. Tell Your Money Where To Go
Make a budget. Sit down with your family and realistically write down what you have to spend on Christmas. It has to cover gifts for family, friends, and even gift exchanges. Everyone needs to agree to the budget. Sign it if it makes it more feel more real. Make a real commitment and then do a weekly check of how everyone’s doing. Decide on a drawer in your kitchen that you’ll each throw your spending receipts into. Appoint someone (Mom, Dad) the family accountant who adds up the receipts and tells the family how they’re doing each week.
Give yourselves a goal. If you underspend or don’t overspend, you’ll do _________. You fill in the blank. Maybe your family will go out for a steak dinner. Or maybe it’ll be burgers and bowling.
2. Tell Your Time Where To Go
Make a schedule. Your time is an investment, don’t spend it on lesser things. What do I mean by “lesser things”? Lesser things are the things that aren’t necessarily a waste of your time, but they’re not the best use of your time. When we say “Yes” to something, we are automatically saying “No” to something else. And we easily over-extend ourselves in the holiday season – especially because our “Yes” usually is a “No” to our spouse or our kids.
Decide how many holiday parties you’re going to commit to. And be sure to hold that up to your budget – if you can’t afford another gift exchange, bow out politely. You’ll get another invite! Choose to make time for the people who matter most to you.
Create a special date night for you and your spouse. Have a couple of family nights at home where you make homemade caramel corn and you watch a movie with your family snuggled up on the couch. Make those special moments happen.
And enjoy holiday parties with your adult friends also! We need adult time to connect, share, laugh and relax.
Decide where you’ll spend the holidays. If you wait until the week before the holiday, you’re probably going to end up in an argument with your spouse, your mom, your in-laws. Do everyone a favor and get it lined out now – people like a plan, even flighty people, like me. I want to know where we’re going, when we’re expected to be there and what I’m supposed to bring. So make a plan and tell your time where to go.
3. Tell Your Health Where To Go
Make a plan to eat right and work out. This is the difficult one for me…I want to eat all the goodies like I did when I was 22, you know, back when I could eat it all and my hips not pay the price. But now when I do that, I do pay the price. And I don’t want to have to buy a new sweat pant wardrobe to ring in the new year!
I need to focus on continuing to do the healthy things I’m doing right now…right on through the holidays. We need to keep exercising. We need to care about our daily food intake. Let’s eat healthy. And let’s also enjoy some pumpkin pie or cobbler or a yummy dinner roll.
In all three of these areas you’ll do better if you have someone to hold you accountable.
Ask a friend to be your health adviser, or your time adviser or your budget coach during the November & December months. And make yourself show them a calendar of the days you worked out and when you ate great and when you ate bad. Tell your time adviser how your weeks are shaping up and let that person remind you that you can’t add anything else unless you choose to not sleep. Being accountable for your choices to another person makes you want to do better.
In all these things, propel yourself forward! January 1, 2014 is coming and it's going to be the time where we have to face all our bad money, time and health choices in the months we are enjoying now; OR it can be the time when we celebrate that we were disciplined. Be focused. Keep going!