Sometimes I keep a notebook of observations, thoughts and ideas. It might be about a holiday or a project or some other experience. It has some random entries and its only filled in now and again!


On 27 December 2018 extract from said notebook reads:

Lacking energy
Disappointed with December diet
Too many Santa experiences (x 3)
Feeling rushed/pressure
No free Saturdays


In a bid to shape and control Christmas 2019, I have been pro-actively planning my wellbeing for the festive period since August. I’m not referring to present buying and practical things – it’s about state of mind to consciously shape Christmas and prioritise what really matters.

Last year I watched and subsequently posted on Goodwin HR Facebook about Martin Lewis who did a programme about debt at Christmas.  I really took on board the ‘gift giving treadmill’ where you exchange presents with family and friends for the exact same value. When you think it through and sound it out aloud – its actually slightly crazy.

My Christmas present buying is for approximately 10 people now, because back in the day when the list was 40+, of course the whole of December was spent gift buying and the weekend before Christmas was all about parcel delivery! I can recall standing on doorsteps in December reflecting on the fact that I actually hadn’t spent any valuable time with that person/family and I just appear in a mad dash on the doorstep for present drop off and exchange. Wouldn’t going out for a coffee or chat have been far more enjoyable and valuable than any gift on a shelf? The gift of time.

When all is said and done a gift is a short lived luxury high’ when you end up feeling like the ‘notebook’. I’d far prefer my family and friends to be adopting the same approach and prioritising what is important to them and their immediate family.

Then there is the jar of piccalilli that’s still in the cupboard in March. Sound familiar? No more Christmas food shopping for me and no more scrabbling for the delivery slot online. For the last three years my shopping is no different to a normal week. Our approach to Christmas dinners changed when my husband spent 4 hours in the kitchen cooking a splendid roast and subsequently timed how long it took the guests to eat the dinner (12 minutes). When it comes to traditions – we are rule breakers. I can look back positively on the last few Christmas Days knowing that we spent the majority of the day playing with the children versus cooking. We cheat now and for the moment we go out but the menu has simply been hot turkey sandwiches or a variation of!

More significantly this year I’ve actually taken November and December by the scruff of the neck and carefully chosen what events I want to go to. There are not many. In short I have been living a commitment amnesty by day and night which I activated in September. The net result is that the diary for November and December is virtually empty and it gives me a complete sense of freedom, wellbeing and relaxation. Blank Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays!  I have created ‘spontaneity’ but I have had to work hard to shape it that way.

I have no regrets or negative feelings about ‘saying no’. If I am asked to do something that doesn’t fit my interests, I don’t make up excuses for being somewhere else –  I’m direct in saying ‘thanks for asking but it’s not my thing’.

Luckily throughout my entire life I have never suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out). In fact, I did not know what that abbreviation was until someone explained it to me relatively recently. It’s entirely liberating to not suffer with FOMO. It’s a confident place to be. So many people are grappled by FOMO that they end up feeling like the list above – spending time in places and with people that aren’t their real priority, diverting from their true beliefs, interests and primary focus.

You might be reading this and thinking how boring life must be. It’s the opposite. It’s a clear focus and tuning of the mind and heightened awareness of how I really enjoy spending my time.

Being able to continual develop your own self is to a certain extent a skill in itself. To be able to identify and implement change in order to be the best version of what you want to be. I am embracing my reprograming and prioritisations for this year.


I’m sharing my short blog about Christmas now so if you feel like the words in my notebook – there’s still time to change and shape your festive season!


I hope that my notebook on 27 December 2019 has the following words:

Invested in family time
1 x Santa experience (that’s already definite)
Stress free
Pleased with December diet!
No piccalilli in the cupboard post-Christmas!
Better version of myself!


I always enjoy feedback – positive, negative or controversial!



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