For many of us we live by our calendar. We calendar doctor appointments, the kids' sports activities, dates with our spouse, birthday parties. If it's in the calendar, we don't forget it.
In the last blog post we talked about analyzing what worked this past holiday, and what changes you want to make for next holiday season. This was really important work. It was a step in listening to your life and assessing what is working. The next step is just as crucial.
Calendar what worked for next holiday
Take your list of what worked and put that in the calendar for next year. You may not have all the details for next holiday, but you can at least put in your calendar something. If you found a new family tradition you really want to continue for next year, put in your calendar when you will buy the tickets or make the plans. If you found making simple meals worked really well, put on the calendar the date you are going to plan the simple meals for December.
Calendar the changes you want to make for next holiday
If you were really stressed getting the holiday card out this year and you want to make a change for next year, calendar an earlier start date. If you wish you had more time to do the gift shopping, put in the calendar the number of days you want to do Christmas shopping. Even if you don't know when you will do it, you have written down how many days you want and when you get to November or December you can figure out the specific dates. If you were stressed financially, take the amount of money you will need for next Christmas and divide it by 12. You can put aside smaller amounts each month, or determine now what extra work you will make this year to save up for Christmas next year.
Take what you learned this holiday, and put those changes in your calendar
As I talked about in the blog post about time, calendar margin. If you want the holiday card to get out in early December and you think it might take 1 week to get it out, factor 2 weeks. Give yourself some margin, so that when things inevitably come up or plans don't always go as they should, you have some margin to work with.
You may be wondering, but what if the dates I am putting in my calendar don't work when I get to December? That is completely fine. You can always adjust the date for what is happening later in the year. But if you never put it in the calendar, the likelihood of you forgetting or it getting missed is high. You want what you learned this past holiday to not just be good answers to reflection questions. You want to make changes that will last. And in order for that to happen, it has to make it to our calendar. You want what worked this holiday to not get forgotten as you move on to other goals for the new year. It is so important to put those changes into the calendar.
If this concept still seems really difficult, file your notes of what worked somewhere you won't forget about them. Then, calendar a date in October to look over your holiday notes and add specifics to your calendar at that time. The point is to put into your calendar a day and time you plan to make the changes you learned from this past holiday. This step is all about going from evaluation to action. From reflection questions to the calendar.
As we close out this series on de stressing the holidays, I want to tell you great job! The holiday season is incredibly busy and stressful. You have looked at what is causing you stress and taken steps to reduce that. This is no small task. I am proud of you!