In 21 days it will be Christmas. Did it suddenly sneak up on you? How is it December 4th already? Was this the year that you were going to start your shopping at Halloween and now it’s December?
Well, time to learn how to get things done. Think of this as a sort of dress rehearsal for January when you set your New Year's Resolutions. We’ll practice this month by setting a goal to have Christmas ready the way you want it by December 25.
You’ve got a goal - get ready for Christmas. You’ve got a deadline - December 25th. But, How will you know you are done? What does “being ready for Christmas” look like to you? Is there a fancy dinner on Christmas day? Christmas Eve? Are presents under the tree in advance? Do they all show up on Christmas Eve? Do you adopt a family and create s Christmas for someone else? Do you go Christmas shopping with your children individually? What has to happen for you to know that Christmas is “done”? It has to be measurable so you can tell when you have accomplished it.
Why do you want to achieve this goal?
Why will you do it no matter what?
Who will you be accountable to?
With the goal of Christmas, those questions are relatively easy to answer. Come January you may have to dig deeper to figure out what you want to accomplish and commit to - NO MATTER WHAT.
Having Christmas “done” is your goal. It is the result you wish to create. Your results will be completed by taking actions and your actions are motivated by your feelings. What will you need to feel in order to accomplish this goal? You aren’t feeling it yet or else you would have already accomplished the goal. What regarding your feelings needs to change? Have you been feeling overwhelmed, stressed, confused about what to get people? Feelings like overwhelm, stress, and confusion don’t inspire positive action. In order to take action, you are going to need to feel something like motivated, excited, or confident. Those feelings will lead to actions like choosing presents, going out and buying them, creating a menu, inviting your family over, etc.
Those feelings aren’t going to just suddenly appear, though. Your feelings are created by your thoughts. What thought will you need to think in order to feel the feeling you want to inspire your action? Maybe something as simple as, “I can do this,” or “I’m excited to watch my children open presents,” or “I get to blast my favorite music while I wrap presents.” Consciously choose a thought that will create the feeling you need.
Now, list EVERY single thing you need to do in order to accomplish your goal of being ready for Christmas.
choose what to get Susan
choose what to get Matt
purchase present for Susan
wrap present for Susan
purchase present for Matt
Wrap present for Matt
Plan Christmas day menu
Shop for Christmas day food
Prepare pie in advance
Find Christmas lights in storage
Put Christmas lights on house
List EVERY single thing. Don’t assume anything. List it all.
We’re not quite done yet. Stay with me. Remember this is practice for ANY goal you want to achieve.
With each “to-do” item there will be obstacles. List all the obstacles that may come up to prevent you from reaching your goal. For example:
I think Susan already has too much, so I can’t think of what to get her.
I don’t have enough time to go shopping.
My family has too many dietary restrictions to plan a menu.
I hate going into the dirty basement to find the Christmas lights.
After you have listed each obstacle you have to opportunity to create the strategy that will get you to your goal.
For each obstacle write down how you are going to overcome it. For example:
I will talk to Susan and see if she has anything she really wants.
I will offer to help Susan clean out her room, so I can help her get rid of things and see if there is something she could actually use.
I will do my Christmas shopping online and have it delivered.
I will write down who is coming. I will text each of them and ask them to give me their dietary restrictions within 24 hours of the text. I will accommodate those who text me back to the best of my ability.
If I cannot accommodate their needs, I will tell them so they can bring food that works for them.
I will order my groceries online and have them delivered.
I will offer my teenage son $10 to go down in the basement, dust off all the Christmas decor, and bring it upstairs.
Now you have a plan. As you overcome each obstacle you reach your goal.
Now for your final step. Take everything you said you would do in the process above and put it on your calendar. Yes, right now. Put it on the calendar. Plan out a time dedicated to exactly what you need to do. I will order the groceries online Tuesday night and schedule them for delivery on Wednesday night at 6 pm. I will do my Christmas shopping online from 9:30-10:30 pm Thursday and Friday nights after the kids are in bed. etc.
There you go! You did all the steps. Your brain might be back to “that’s overwhelming,” but look back at the thought you chose to think on purpose to create the feeling of motivation and excitement that you want. Practice thinking that thought. Follow your calendar - especially when you don’t want to. If you do that you are guaranteed success. You will have your goal accomplished on time and you’ll know you’ve accomplished it because you will be able to see the results you specified in the beginning.
Come December 25th you will be proud, relaxed, and happy.