It’s that time of year again! When we gear up for the holidays, wrap up the year and document the season with stories and photos. And with that often comes creating a “reason why”, seasonal intentions or a letter to ourselves. However, sometimes it’s not easy to come up with a “reason why” that really resonates with us, that is meaningful and helpful through the harder parts of the season. And we often have minimal guidance on this. So I thought it might be helpful to create a little question based guide for you in case you are feeling stuck with your reason why.
Questions are the hidden foundation of the stories we tell ourselves.
Good to Know
We are in control of the questions we ask ourselves each day. We tend to automatically ask ourselves the same questions in our mind on a loop over and over again. Choosing alternative purposeful questions to ask ourselves can change how we feel about our entire lives.
Below are some alternative questions and prompts you can try on yourself this season. These purposeful questions might be helpful if you are trying to find a powerful “reason why” to celebrate or document this December. They can also help provide clarity, insight, contentment, and renewed energy. Download the free PDF version below.
These questions can be written as journal questions, simply pondered over, or talked over with a friend. Some may really resonate with you and some may not. That’s ok, take whatever works, or change a few words to fit your personality.
Also, sometimes you want an answer to a question, but it’s just not there. That’s totally OK too! Let it sit in the back of your mind for a few days, and come back to it. Or just move on and try a different question. This just means you need a different inroad to the answer.
OK, ready for a more meaningful season of documenting? Here are your questions.
What is your favorite parts of the holiday season? Why?
How could that inform what your purpose for celebrating and/or documenting this season?
What are you most excited about in general right now? How could that be part of documenting or celebrating this season. If you don’t feel particularly excited about anything, then try changing the question to what could you be excited about?
Make a quick list of things that make you happy or calm and content during the holidays (or anytime). After quickly brainstorming a list without analyzing much, highlight the items on your list that really jump out at you.
What truly fills you up, makes you happy just to think about, or gives you goosebumps?
What are some of your favorite holiday books? What are the themes from these books and what makes you love them? (books/movies/songs)
What are some of your must-do holiday traditions? What makes those so special to you?
Can you remember a time when you really felt in flow during the season, or “in the spirit of the season?” If not, can you imagine what this would look like?
Is there any part of that — even a small part that you can (re)create this year? Or is something different required?
What would give you a sense of being in the state of flow this season? “Day dream” about this.
If you had a “bonus day” this holiday season where you were free of all responsibilities, appointments, and commitments, and you were fully rested and feeling clear headed and well, and could do anything you wanted all day, what would you do?
Describe your dream Christmas. Make a list, or write a journal entry. Sky’s the limit.
Presence and Self Care
What kind of self care do you want to practice this season?
How will you take care of yourself, so you can be at your best in body and mind through this busy season?
What kind of mindfulness practice will you do this season?
How could you help yourself and others stay present this season?
What will bring you back to calm (or at least calm-ish) when it is much needed? A mantra? A deep breath? One word? A song?
Write a letter to yourself. This is a practice as old as the hills, and it’s a good one. Write a letter to yourself with compassion about your hopes, dreams, feelings, and plans this season.
Who is most important to you this holiday season? What do you want for him/her/them?
What do you have to give others? Homemade gifts? Baking? Kindness? Cheer?
What is the focus of your giving this season? If you are not sure that’s OK! Just let the questions sit for a few days and come back to it.
Back to the Future
When you look back on this December 10, 20, 30, years from now, or even just next year, what do you want to remember about this season in this particular chapter of your life.
Think back to Christmases of yore in your life. What do you wish you could remember or have stories or photos of now from years ago?
What would you like your children, future children, nieces and nephews, friends kids, or just the future generation in general to know about or remember about you and this time when they look back at the memories you document? What is most important to show/tell them?
Many people deal with sadness or depression* during the holidays.
How can you recognize and even honor your feelings, but not let the sadness take over? What conscious choice can you make about your thoughts?
What unhelpful thoughts will you not allow to play on repeat, like a broken record, this season?
What choices can you make to allow yourself some peace and joy this season?
(*If your sadness is profound and unending, or just disrupting your life in some way, seek professional counseling, as it is a wonderful gift to give yourself.)
Time is often an especially big deal during the holidays. Not enough, running out, takes too long, hurry up and wait…
What kind of story about time do you WANT to have this season?
What could you let go of that would give your more time (screens, tasks, self imposed rules)?
How do you want to spend any precious downtime for next 25-35 days?
What do you want to think about or do while waiting in line? How much you have to do, spacing out on your phone… or thinking about what is good right now, saying a kind word to a neighbor in line, reading a book, being grateful, texting an encouraging word to a friend… ?
If you have a task that must get done, write it somewhere — in a calendar (digital, or paper), or on a list, preferably with a specific time, so that you know you have made time for this. You are in control of your time, and you can relax because it’s scheduled*. What do you need to do to feel at peace with time this season? (*scheduling tasks does not work for all personality types… experiment and see what type of tracking of tasks works best for you.)
What are your core values*? How do you see your values showing up in this season? How will they be represented? How can you avoid a values conflict?
*If you are not sure what your top core values are, I’d love to offer you a values based coaching session to explore how you can optimize this simple tool in your life. My core values sessions are highly individualized coaching sessions that open up so many “stuck” areas of life for my clients. Contact me for a free discovery session to learn more about how coaching works and see if it would be a good fit for you.
This week is all about transitions. The more obvious interpretation could be about back to school, end of traveling, changing seasons (although is it actually cooling off anywhere yet?), maybe just preparing for the coming change of season…
Or it could also be about more subtle or personal transitions. From change of hairstyle, to major changes in your family. The positive change is not always captured, so here is an opportunity to find the joy in your transitions. In the change itself, the preparations for change, the middle place of moving through before the change is complete, in the lessons learned, or upgrades enjoyed. I invite you to take a moment and document your story of transition in whatever way makes sense for you this week. To simply journal it down and let it go, or to document and hold on to movement in your life and what it means to you now; there is no wrong way to work on the prompt!
And the 2016 class message from Julie is for you below.