I talk a lot about thinking in advance in order to get what you want.
If you have goals you’re trying to reach, you have to think in advance about how to get them, how to minimize interruptions, and how to push forward in the face of failure or mistakes.
If you want to have good relationships at work or at home, you have to think in advance about how you’re going to respond to disagreements, people pushing your buttons, and temper tantrums.
If you want to retire well, you have to think in advance about how much money you’ll want to have and how much you’ll need to save now in order to reach that amount.
You get the idea. It’s tough to get what you want if you’re not planning for it.
This is particularly relevant at this time of year. Every year, it seems that I complain after the fact that I ate too much at the holidays.
It’s on my mind now because I glanced at my calendar today and realized that I’m thinking in advance about Thanksgiving and what I want. Thanksgiving will be on November 27. In my calendar on Sunday, November 22, you can find a notation that simply reads:
“No pig out during the holidays.”
Last year, I really indulged over the holidays. Way too much. Sure, I enjoyed the process, but then I suffered for it. I promised myself I wouldn’t repeat it this year.
But you know how that goes: 1) You promise yourself. 2) You forget or neglect your promise. 3) You overindulge. 4) You feel terrible. 5) You remember your promise. 6) You feel more terrible.
I’ve done that plenty of times. This time is different.
It’s on the calendar. The reminder is there staring me in the face. Just to be sure I don’t forget it, I put the reminder on the calendar on Thanksgiving Day as well.
No excuses left.
This may all sound silly and no fun. You may be thinking that overindulging is part of the holiday tradition. That’s great. Go for it.
But if you don’t want to stuff yourself, put reminders in place to make sure you maximize the possibility of your own success. You don’t have to worry about what anybody else wants for you. Just go get what you want.
So, as you approach the holidays—as you approach anything—ask yourself, “How do I want to feel afterward?”
How do you want to feel on Thanksgiving night or the day after?
How do you want to feel after you have a disagreement with people at home or work?
How do you want to feel when you retire?
And the ultimate question: How do you want to feel when you look back on your life?