Handling the Holidays

Between the end of November and the beginning of January, it is harder than normal to keep blog posts and other such goals and tasks going.

This time of year involves more scheduled disruption then all of the rest of the year combined. For me having a fairly predictable schedule is important. Don’t take this to mean I need to do exactly the same thing every day, but knowing that I will have X number of hours at work and that I need to fit in Y number of hours to keep my blog updated is very helpful. The holidays disrupt this schedule and make it harder to fit in things like blogging, sticking to diets and exercise.

Don’t get me wrong this time of year is great! There is nothing like seeing my 5-year-old being excited for his birthday and Christmas. It is also a time when I get to see family more than normal which is great.

The following are some ideas I am kicking around to address some of the lack of progress I have during this time of year.

 Identify weak spots

A key to staying on track during the holidays is to identify weak spots ahead of time.  For example during this time of year I tend to spend way more time that I should be playing video games. It never fails that I somehow manage to open up Steam during the black Friday time frame and come across a game I have been wanting to play at a great price. The Witcher 3 is the game that got me this year.

I am using productivity as an example here, but keep in mind the same idea can apply to other areas of your life such as nutrition, exercise, etc.

Plan a counter

Once you have your main trouble spots identified come up with a plan to counteract them. This could happen a few ways. If you are struggling with something getting out of control set boundaries around that item that are measurable. For my video game example, I could use something like Rescue Time to monitor the amount of time I spend playing and use that data to keep myself in check.

Involve another person

Another great way to stay on track is to involve another person. Having to communicate progress (or lack thereof) to another person tends to cause people to better stick with our goals. We are social creatures (despite what “social” media is doing to us) that tend to not like to disappoint others.

Don’t compound failures

This one is huge. We are all going to fall short of our goals at some point and if you aren’t careful one failure can lead to a spiral of failures. An example of this from my life tends to happen with food. One day I will back off my diet and have something I shouldn’t. Next thing I know everything I have had to eat that day has gotten progressively worse. Now guess what happens the next day? You got it the day before was so bad why do better today. In fact, I end up feeling bad about myself which spirals into another bad day. This can continue to the point that two months of eating well is ruined in a handful of days.

The sooner you can stop the downward spiral the better. Don’t let one failure kick off a train of actions that you will regret. Accept that at times you are going to fail and that is OK as long as you don’t let it kick off a train of failures.

Make allowances and adjustments

Knowing that you are entering a time when disruptions are going to occur it is important to make plans for what allowances you are going to allow for yourself. Planning for a day off of a diet will hopefully allow a departure from the norm without the feeling of failure that comes with unplanned departures.

Another strategy for handling disruptive times with it comes to things like blogging is to adjust your schedule. Knowing that in two months a disruption is coming I can adjust my current writing schedule to get an extra post written every other week or so.

Final thoughts

This post is coming from a time of failure in my own life. I have failed in my goals for my diet, exercise, blogging and who knows what else. This post of a set of ideas I plan to use to improve my own life and minimize my future failures. I hope it provides value for others as well.

Comment with your thoughts and how you prevent and handle failure in your own life.

2 thoughts on “Handling the Holidays”

  1. Great post, Eric. Something that really helps me, is trying to remember not to focus on individual shortcomings. If you are dieting and you lose 10 pounds and you slip up and have an unplanned cheat day, you may gain back 3 pounds but in reality, you have a net loss of 7 pounds. When you succeed, celebrate your accomplishment and when you fail, celebrate the knowledge you have gained from it. These things are way easier said than done, but goals are way easier to abandon than accomplish.

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