holidays are a distraction

2011-12-26

Holidays are important to everyone. Why is that? I've been thinking about this for most of December, and I think I've figured it out. As another year winds down, I naturally reflect on the previous year, specifically on my goals and which I've achieved and not achieved. But I've had a hard time doing this because I've been busy with "holiday stuff".

I'm guessing a lot of you guys have felt the same way. Maybe you're travelling, or just spending time with family, and there's a lot going on. It seems that everyone gets a little more stressed in December, with mall parking and last minute shopping and the like. Because I've been stressed and busier than usual, I've had to put my year-end introspection on hold until after the 25th.

What if that's the real purpose of "the holidays"?

I know it seems strange, but let's reason through this. The biggest holiday of the year, Christmas, happends right at the end of the year. Right at the time when everyone's thinking about last year and looking forward to next year, everyone gets super busy and has distracted by all this stuff they have do. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my family, but that's not usually the focus of Christmas, or most holidays. The problem I have is how all our normal business gets put aside in the name of "the holidays".

It just becomes an excuse, you say "I'll get to that after the holidays" or "after things quiet down I'll paint the shed/lose weight/do my taxes". A holiday is like a little mini crisis that preempts everything in our lives, because it only comes once a year, right? I hear this often from people regarding eating healthy and/or exercising. When your schedule is interrupted for something temporary, you have to transition into the temporary schedule, and then back out after the event is over. If what you're transitioning back to is difficult, it can be hard to get back into it. Then of course, we have new year's resolutions to get us back on track. I think it would be easier to not have gotten off track in the first place.

My point is not that holidays are bad, far from it. I just want everyone to be aware of this and recognize it if this happens. Holidays are a distraction, but of the best kind. Don't let your motivation be squashed by anything. In fact, use the holidays to re-enforce your good habits. When you're tempted to get off track, let those around you know how determined you are in getting done what you need to get done. They'll admire your persistence and respect your decision.