Every month I write a pep talk to (hopefully) inspire, motivate, or pick you up if you’re feeling down. Think of it as both nurturing encouragement and your ‘kick up the butt’ to get going on your goals or dreams (or just help you feel good).
It’s December! The final month of the year!
And I get it. This month is full of joy and love and excitement. But it can also be full of disappointment and stress and loneliness.
Well, I say no to all that. And here’s why you should, and how to do it.
Take the gloves off
By this, I mean stop beating yourself up!
It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t manage this year, it doesn’t matter what plans you do or don’t have for December, it doesn’t matter how organised or deserving or whatever other kind of expectation you’re putting on yourself to be right now.
Forget all of that. You’re doing the best you can (yes, you are – don’t argue), and that’s enough.
So be kind to yourself.
Forget the goals
As the end of the year approaches, you might be looking back at the goals you made last year and noticing everything you didn’t accomplish.
Stop doing that.
Instead, look back at everything you did accomplish. They might not have been things you wrote down as goals back in January, but I guarantee you did at least one great thing this year. I can guarantee it, because you got to the end of the year. And that is a success in its own right. Everything else is icing on the cake.
And about the goals? Plenty of people didn’t even make goals. It takes courage to actively state something you want to pursue and achieve. So if you even made a goal, you did something extraordinary. You can never achieve a goal if you don’t first write it down: that’s step one – and it’s brave as hell.
Don’t see December as The End
Time is really weird. It’s not even a real thing. We don’t freak out when any other month ticks over into the next one, so don’t panic or feel bad just because now December’s leading into January.
It’s going to be a new year, and that can be a great time to start fresh. But that doesn’t mean you need to get everything done before then. Some goals take way longer than a year to complete. They might need many many many years!
So you can keep working on goals in the new year, even if you made them the year before. Or the year before that.
A year is a made-up construct, to help us keep track of stuff. So don’t put imaginary pressure on yourself – especially when you can still keep working on everything just as well in January.
There’s a lot of stress around the holidays – to be perfect, to make everything perfect, to live up to all the other perfect people around you.
Screw perfect. December is not a time for perfect.
December is a time for enjoying time with loved ones – nothing else matters. Whatever you’re able to do, and however well you do it, is perfect in its own way. It’s enough.
You are already enough, exactly as you are. So whatever you bring to the holidays, and whatever way you bring it, is exactly how it should be. Don’t try to live up to some other, probably commercial and single-handedly impossible, idea of perfection.
Enjoy your time. Enjoy your loved ones. End of.
Gratitude gets a bad rap these days. It’s somehow both overused and yet severely underrated.
If you’re getting stressed or annoyed about anything (or anyone…), step back and take a real moment to reflect.
Think of everything you have right now. If you’re reading this online, you probably have somewhere warm to stay. Good food to eat. Information at your fingertips. Healthcare on demand. Fresh, clean water at the flick of a tap. Democracy.
Those are basic necessities and yet sincere desires for some people. Think of what you have on top of that. Places to go. Activities to enjoy. Loved ones who are safe and cared for.
Yes, you’ll still have challenges this season. Money might be tight, in laws might drive you insane, maybe you have no one to spend the holidays with. But there will still be things you have that plenty of others don’t.
Focusing on the negative stuff won’t make it go away. But being grateful for what you do have might make it feel a little better.
Life is short
When it comes down to it, life is short. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Look back at previous years and think about what you remember. The good memories probably involve people – and none of that can be planned or organised. The bad memories are probably from being too stressed – so take all that pressure off.
Make THIS your final goal of the year
If you want one final goal to be able to tick off this year, I’m going to give you this:
Make it your mission to enjoy this December as much as possible.
It’s easy. If something’s stressing you out, remove it from your life. If that means you order take out on Christmas Day, so be it. If that means you don’t go to the awkward parties, or your house isn’t perfectly decorated – there’s to be no guilt here.
Enjoy yourself. Because you’ve already earned it.
And because whatever you do when you’re enjoying yourself will be perfect. So everyone else will likely be happier too.
A big thank you from me
Thank you to everyone who’s been a part of this blog and my writing this year (even if it’s literally just reading this post right now). I really appreciate your support. Happy holidays, however you choose to celebrate the new year.
This pep talk is part of a series I write each month, to help motivate, inspire, and give you a boost, either in work or personally – if you like this and want more, find previous pep talks here.