It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It certainly is in the sense of celebrating the holidays with family and friends, sharing moments of gratitude, and hopefully using some of your vacation time. If you’re more of a summer person, you might argue May or June is the most wonderful time of the year… it’s all subjective, right? Either way, the holiday season is upon us and a new year is just around the corner.
During your downtime between gift shopping and holiday parties, take an objective look back at 2019 and give some thought on what you’d like to do in 2020. Here are a few ways to enjoy the season and get ready for the year to come.
Make a List and Check it Twice
If you’re like me, you probably don’t even remember what your resolution was coming into 2019, if you chose to make one at all. But you don’t necessarily need to make a New Year’s Resolution at the start of every year to grow and improve.
Take a few minutes to sit down and write a list of your accomplishments in 2019. What are you proud of achieving? Who are the people in your life that helped you get there? Also, make a list of things that you wish had gone differently. Reflect on both of them… how you were able to achieve the things you did and who supported you, as well as what you would’ve done differently in the situations that didn’t turn out as planned. Reach out to the people who came to mind and thank them for being there for you.
Spread Some Holiday Cheer
A joy that’s shared is a joy made double. Expressing gratitude to the people in your life will not only mean a lot to them, but it’s also good for you. In fact, a study from UC Berkeley looked at how the act of expressing gratitude can affect your mental health. The findings of the study, “…suggest that gratitude letter writing produces better mental health by shifting one’s attention away from toxic emotions, such as resentment and envy. When you write about how grateful you are to others and how much other people have blessed your life, it might become considerably harder for you to ruminate on your negative experiences.” Take some time to reach out to your loved ones and friends, even if schedules or distance won’t allow you to get together in person.
Take Inventory of Your Habits
Habits are one of those things that sometimes develop without you even knowing it. Other times, habits are developed very intentionally. Take a look at the habits you have developed or want to develop in 2020. Did you spend a little too much money this year at Starbucks? Were you taking time to try meditation, as you intended earlier this year? If you want to create habits that will promote positivity in your life, start small. Maybe save the Starbucks as a reward for something, versus making it part of your daily routine. If you want to learn some simple ways to improve your habits, check out the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. I read it this year and will likely read it again – it’s an excellent book.
I hope your 2019 was better than you hoped it would be and I wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season. Remember what the season is all about and get ready for an even better 2020!
Jeff Adkins is a public relations specialist with Henry Ford Health System, and a member of both PRSA National and PRSA Detroit.
Feature picture from pexels