All right, I want to start off this episode with a brief warning that this is gonna be a rant, and I probably am going to say swear words. So if you’re listening to this in the car and there happen to be little ones around, just know that I am most definitely gonna say the F word at least once. So, I’ll give you a second to pause before we jump in.
All right, on today’s episode of The Work Of Becoming podcast, I want to talk about the fact that the holidays were not designed to fuck you over, and I want to talk about this because I see a lot of people enter the holidays with a mentality that completely gives away their responsibility over their own behavior. I see a lot of people enter the holidays and give away all of their power and say:
“I can’t do my habits. I can’t stick to my routine. I can’t do my schedule because my family member wants this, because we always do this for the holidays, because so-and-so’s gonna pressure me, because this and that and the other thing.”
What I want to remind you today (hopefully in a very empowering way) is that getting behaviors done and taking care of our self is a direct result of having a scientific concept that’s called autonomy. Autonomy is when we feel like we have control over our own behavior, and our autonomy is a perception, meaning that the more you focus on what you can control, the more you’re gonna feel autonomous over your own behavior, and then the more motivated you are going to be to enact those behaviors which is what is gonna make those behaviors happen and allow you to actually thrive during the holidays.
I’ve worked with a lot of clients before who get really stressed about the holidays. They get into this mode of anticipation and they want to use the past against themselves. They want to say: “Well, at Christmas every year I always fall off the wagon. At Christmas every year I always get super stressed. At Christmas every year I always go crazy with emotional eating, and I end up eating in a way that makes me really uncomfortably full and I never have a good time,” and they use the past to give away their control. They’re like, because I always do this, I know it’s gonna happen again, and so, I’m not even gonna try to fight it.
But what I want to remind you is, let’s say you want to take more time to yourself during this holiday season. You want to hold your boundaries better with your family, even if you show up and you attempt to hold those boundaries and maybe you fail, you have still learned. You have still taken a step in the right direction, and you have still told yourself, “Hey, even though it’s hard, I can do hard things. Even though my family really wants me to be at every single event, I can hold my boundaries because I am responsible. I have control over my behavior, and I have control over my results.”
So, this is something that I’ve personally gotten into before a lot of times in the past. This was a while back, but in the past, I have told myself, “Oh, I’m just gonna give up. I’m just gonna release my habits. I’m just going to release expectations for the holidays.” Let me say that if you truly believe that that is going to help you, if you truly believe that’s the most self-compassionate thing for you to do, great, fine.
For me, though, telling myself I don’t have to do my core four habits, telling myself it doesn’t matter what time I get up in the morning, it doesn’t matter if I keep my space tidy, it doesn’t matter if I do a workout, that is lying to myself. That is actually the least self-compassionate thing I can do because all of those tiny behaviors actually make me my best version of myself. When I get up early, when I have a tidy space, when I take 30 minutes to move throughout the day, I’m happier, I’m less moody, I’m more present, and guess what? Me at Christmas is a way better experience for me and for literally everyone around me if I choose to prioritize doing those things, and the moment I give my power away and I tell myself, “Oh, I can’t do this because of so-and-so, I can’t do this because of X circumstance, I can’t do this because, for example, this holiday I’m gonna be in Sweden, and I probably won’t have access to the gym.” If I use that as a reason to not do the things that make me feel my best, that is giving all of my power away.
But if I take all those circumstances, and I say, “You know what? Even with all of these circumstances being the way they are, even with jetlag, even with limited access to a gym, even with chaotic travel, even with the stress of family being around, even in all of those circumstances, I’m choosing to believe I can control my behavior. I’m choosing to believe I can still support myself. I’m choosing to believe I’m going to make an effort to prioritize myself,” that builds an incredible relationship with myself. It builds my self-belief, it builds my self-accountability, and it benefits every single person around me because I am a happier person to be around.
So that’s what I’ve got for you today. The holidays are not designed to fuck you over. Do not give away the responsibility for your behavior to the holidays. Figure out a plan, a compassionate plan, something that works for you, something that supports you, and don’t let what everybody else is saying, don’t let the holiday drama suck away your amazing relationship that you could be cultivating with your current self and your future self.
That’s what I’ve got. I’ll see you in the next episode!