Christmas is right around the corner, and then a week later it will be time for the New Year celebrations! For most, the Holiday season begins on Thanksgiving and it kicks off a month of gatherings, parties and celebrations with family, friends and business associates.  For many it is truly the most wonderful time of the year, as they experience the joy that is associated with the season of giving.  While it may not be the most productive time for many businesses, it is typically the busiest for most people.

The traditional month long holiday season is filled with activities that include visiting family and friends, eating bigger meals, drinking more, exercising less, and the additional stress that comes along with added commitments.  For a lot of people the end result of the Holiday season is weight gain, and feeling drained. Unfortunately, studies have shown that most people will not lose the weight they gain over the Holidays and in fact they will repeat the process of gaining additional weight each year during this season. Without resetting your mind and body, you can easily settle into a comfort zone that unknowingly keeps you from heading in the direction you seek.

I love Christmas time and celebrating the Holidays, while also taking the time to recognize the true meaning of Christmas.  There is something about seeing the Christmas lights on homes, trees decorated, hearing Christmas songs, and gathering with friends that leads people to be kinder, more generous and polite to each other during this time of year. It’s a time we gather together and embrace our family traditions, celebrate the present and look forward to the future. It’s also a great time to be reminded we all have choices to make on what we will do, who we will be, and what future we will create.  As we mature, and certainly when we become parents, we realize that the true joy of Christmas is in giving, not receiving.

In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol, which continues to be a popular book today. The novel has never been out of print circulation, seen in countless plays, in addition to movies and shows reproducing the work in some manner. A Christmas Carol was an immediate success as Dickens’ writing vividly captured the real human emotions of suffering, separation, despair, unbreakable hope and the difficulty people have in actually changing for the better. The story accurately conveyed what has to be in place for true joy to exist in a person’s life. The positive ending of finding inner peace through a dramatic change in one’s belief system resonated immediately with its audience, as it still does today. The novel ended with the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, memorializing the secret to long lasting change. “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the past, the present, and the future. The spirits of all three shall live within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

Through his experiences that Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge was able to reset his life and take it in a dramatically different direction. Fortunately, most of us do not need as dramatic of a life changing reset as Ebenezer Scrooge went through to make positive changes. However, it is not uncommon for all of us to dwell on negative events in our life, stop some of the good habits we have been developing during the year, and set future goals without taking any action to achieve them. After all, goals remain only dreams if we don’t take action. The past is for learning from, not dwelling upon. It is the present we live in, and what we commit to do now that will decide our future. The actions we take do make a difference. As Charles Dickens’ novel pointed out, living abundantly is not about how many possessions you have or how much money you have in the bank, it is recognizing that you need to continue to grow and contribute to live life to its fullest. The most successful, happy people manage to keep the joys of giving and carry a grateful spirit with them year-round.

We all need a time for rest and reflection. You most likely don’t need a Scrooge intervention to reset your path to fulfillment, but I’m certain you will benefit from taking time to reset after the Holidays. Enjoy the celebrations, reflect on the past year and reset your mind and body on the goals and possibilities of a new year. After all to achieve success and reach true fulfillment, you have to answer a big question.  What kind of difference will you make in 2017?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday’s!

Peter