Survive & Thrive During the Holidays: Intentions are Everything

When it comes to making the most of the holidays intentions are everything. Intentions are like a compass; they point you in a direction and give you something to refer back to along your journey so you can make sure you know where you are and where you would like to go.  If the two are not aligned you can make adjustments on the spot rather than waiting to find yourself completely lost and unhinged.

As you approach this holiday season, are you clear on your intentions for it? Meaning do you have a sense of what your inner desire is in terms of:

  • Activities you want to partake
  • People you wish to connect with
  • How you want to feel as you participate in holiday activities
  • What you choose to spend your money on (and why)
  • How much you can spend while staying in financial integrity

While the holidays can be a very busy time, the bottom line is you get to choose what you do (or not do) and how you show up.  Meaning, you are in charge of how you will feel this holiday season: stressed or unstressed, a slave to your money or in control of it, enjoying the season or just putting up with it.  Does that mean you will love every last thing you do this year? Hell no.  If you are in a relationship, work or part of an extended family, you may do things out of love that aren’t first choice on your list, but the people you are doing it for are at the tops of your list.  For example, your idea of fun may not be traveling to some distant state to spend a few days with your partner’s eclectic family.  Yet you love your partner deeply and your relationship is at the top of the list of things that matter most to you.  So, you go.  Even so, you get to choose whether you approach the trip with curiosity and treat it as an adventure (consider it your own live reality show!) or sulk through it and make everyone including yourself feel like you’re taking a trip through purgatory.

I want to take a moment to talk about the distinction between intentions and expectations.  Intentions are key to having a meaningful experience, expectations are the short path to disappointment and suffering.  Intentions arise out of our inner desire.  You couple intentions with actions to create experiences you most desire in your life.  It is an integral part of the law of attraction in action.  Intentions are made with an open heart and spirit.  You leave the door open for what you want to occur or something better.  You are not attached to exact outcome or things looking a certain way. On the other hand, expectations are born out of our mind.  You get an exact picture of what you want and it comes tinged with a bit of neediness and entitlement.  You do not leave the door open for something different or better to occur because you want THIS and only THIS and you want it when you want it.  You are fully attached to the outcome and of course if it doesn’t happen exactly as you wish, you are frustrated, disappointed, and you suffer.

As you might imagine, having a lot of expectations for the holiday are a recipe for disaster. They are part of the reason so many people get so stressed over the holiday.  People expect others to show up at every last function. People expect certain types or amounts of gifts. People expect that the house will be decorated a certain way.  People expect that so and so will visit at a particular time and while visiting will do x, y, and z. People expect that you must spend a certain amount of money or buy the latest  gadget.  People expect that you must spend time with distant family members you have no connection with (or worse yet that disapprove of your relationship or lifestyle).  All these expectations leave a trail of guilt, stress, “not-enoughness”, and obligation.  No wonder the holidays are so emotionally charged!

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way.  The secret to creating a different, more satisfying experience lies in getting clear on your intentions.  What do you most want to experience from the holidays?  Do you want them to be full of love? Relaxation? Connection? Fun? Joy? Ease?  Perhaps you simply want to feel good or happy throughout the season.  The good news is if you get clear on your intentions, put in motion the actions you need to bring this experience about, and then adopt a mindset of openness and curiosity you can’t help but have a great season.  Short of some personal or family tragedy (and I mean real tragedy like illness or death not some man made crisis) this approach is a foolproof approach to thriving and actually enjoying the magic of the holidays.

Photo Credit: The Author

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