Use these six questions to reflect, renew, rebalance and rejoice.

Happy holidays to you! I love this time of year, and yet I know as we begin to bring 2017 to a close, we can be filled with mixed emotions. From trying to create the perfect holidays, to running ourselves to the ground as we do the holiday shopping, to watching all the advertisements cross our computer screen that are telling us how we can be fitter, smarter, thinner and richer in 2018—the end of the year can be a roller coaster.

I want you to take a breath and pause. Remind yourself what this time of year is really about and bring yourself back into the present. This is the only way to be able to enjoy and savor this season.

Here are six questions that you can use this holiday season to help you reflect, rebalance, renew and rejoice.

  1. What is it that I am looking forward to? This question helps you focus on the positive. This is a stressful time of year, and your brain will want to dwell on everything that is not going as planned. When you pause and think about all that you are looking forward to, it primes your brain to seek more of what is good and going well in your life. As my mentor Tal Ben-Shahar says, “Appreciate the good and the good will appreciate.”
  2. What is something I am grateful for? This is a powerful way to bring you back into an attitude of gratitude. There can be a lot of “bah humbug” around the holiday season. When you pause and reflect on what you are grateful for, it reminds you of all that you have in your life, without the need for anything more.
  3. What is something I am proud of doing this past year? The New Year is right around the corner, and what often accompanies January 1 is a long list of what you are going to do differently in 2018. Instead of using December as an endpoint for the year, think of it as a place to pause and reflect. Look back and think of all the things you did well and remember all the progress you have made. This then sets you up for a wonderful 2018, without discounting all the great things you have already done.
  4. What is one thing I would like to do differently next year? This allows you to look forward without being overwhelmed. Different does not always mean harder or longer. It may mean allowing more time to relax, to be less hard on yourself or to change how you use your free time. This question does not mean that the past was bad and the future will be better; it simply opens the door for you to consider making small changes that could benefit your future.
  5. If 2018 was your last year, ask yourself: What would I be doing? Who would I be with? How would I want to feel? OK, so I know these are three questions, but it is a powerful way to make sure that your goals for next year are in alignment with your values.
  6. Where am I? This time of year pulls us in a million directions, yet the greatest gift you can give your friends and family is the gift of your presence and undivided attention. Between the parties, the texts and the selfies, you can miss the moments twice. Each time you walk into a room or you find yourself drifting, simply ask yourself, “Where am I?” If you don’t like the answer, listen to your breathing and to yourself say, “Be, here, now.” This will bring you back into the moment, so you can fully enjoy and embrace this special time of year.

Photo credit: Genessa Panainte, Unstock