Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Day 6 – Plan F

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It’s Day 6 of  the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge. Today’s tension tackling tips focus on the letter “F” and feature five fabulous fingers frolicking and fa-la-la-ing just for the fun of it.
Today is all about freedom, so pick the concept you find most fulfilling, flattering, or fashionable that enables you to forfeit any full-on freak-out during festive gatherings.
If all else fails and frustration sets in, fetch a friend and free yourself from feeling flustered, frazzled, or flummoxed by facilitating a field trip to your family farm.  There you may face fascinating adventures from feeding feathered fowl to following finicky felines as they feign indifference toward their favorite food.
To foster more good cheer you may flirt with flower arranging, or if none are to be found, try arranging the furniture instead for an instant feng shui fix.
If all of this seems foolish, I fear you may have forgotten that time is fleeting and we frequently forgo fresh experiences that allow us to flourish because we are afraid to fumble, fall, or fail.
From Here to the New Year, follow your fascination.  Even if it seems far-fetched, fearlessly forge ahead and let it frame your future. Flamboyantly fake it until you make it, if you must. Just don’t forsake the inner fire that edges you forward.
I love fan mail so please share your favorite “f” experiences with this fantastic flock of followers in the comments below.
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Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Day 5 – Plan E

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It’s Day 5 of the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge.  “E” hopes to electrify and energize you so you are engaged, entertained, and ultimately enriched by reading.
“E” words encapsulate the experiences I enthusiastically endeavor to share with everyone I encounter. From embody to evolve, I envision programs to help expand, explore, and exude the excitement of enriching lives by fully engaging in them.
What word epitomizes today’s tip? As much as I enjoy verbs like empower, embolden, express, evoke, enliven, and emphasize, for this challenge I’m electing to endorse the idea of emerging. 

Derek Rydall  has an entire education system based on the Law of Emergence.  Derek encourages us to achieve our potential by activating the genius already in us, not looking for it elsewhere.
What’s outside may very well enthrall and entice us.  But when we embrace the existing excellence inside, it enables us to engineer our own brand of brilliance.

So how might this advice come in handy, especially during the holidays?  Well, rather than eating, drinking, or shopping excessively at the first sign of stress, try to ease into the ensuing mental exercise.

Extricate, evacuate, or evict yourself from the situation, if possible. If you can’t escape, breathe slowly and deeply and empty your mind of emotionally charged exchanges. Remind yourself you are equal to the task at hand and able to enjoy what is going on around you as well as within you.  Perhaps an epiphany will enlighten you. (And peace will guide the planet. And love will steer the stars.)

What effect do “e” words have on you?  Please express them in the comments below. I’m not trying to extort you, but there could be a prize in it for you.
Tomorrow we have the letter “F” to look forward to. See you then.
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Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Day 4 – Plan D

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It’s Day 4 of the Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge and today the letter “D” will be directing the show.
Words beginning with “d” are drenched with determination as if daring us to do something difficult, daunting, or demanding. 
Let’s face it, Darling, dealing with the holidays can be discombobulating.
So what do you do?
Well, my answer to everything these days (okay, maybe every day since the 80s) is disco. 
Before you dis this idea, don your earbuds or headphones, dive into the video, and discover for yourself how this dazzling display of dorkiness dispels any doubt that dancing develops the necessary dossier to deal with drama. 
A few of my distinguished friends and followers have agreed to be featured in this divine dance with me. Tom, Terry, Bob, and Barbi have demonstrated that disco never dies. I’m sure you will agree they are dynamite.
For more fun than Dominick the Donkey, drop in on the folks at JibJab  and let them help you make a decidedly different holiday card that will delight family and friends and delineate your card from dozens of others this year.
If that doesn’t drown you in good cheer, come back tomorrow when I dole out more advice with the letter “E” as our guide.
Dare to share your dancing dreams in the comments below. Be sure to click here to register for door prizes and other goodies dispersed throughout the challenge. A link will be provided so you can download your Holiday Survival Guide once you register.
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Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Day 3 – Plan C

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It’s Day 3 of our Here to the New Year in Good Cheer Challenge.
I love the letter “C” because there are so many compelling action verbs beginning with “c” competing for today’s tip. We have create, collaborate, communicate, connect, catalyze, curate, caress, consider, commit, coach, consult, conspire, cook, coax, comfort, cuddle, climb, compose, craft, complete, continue, conquer, concede, compliment, contribute, calibrate, cushion, chill, celebrate, chuckle, change, challenge, chant, choose, captivate….
Since it’s complicated to pick just one action, I decided to go with an idea that will inspire continuous action. That idea is curiosity.
Just as this picture captures this sweet little pup’s curiosity, you, too, can benefit from cocking your head to the side and considering something you’ve never thought of before. Or at least not in this context.
The trouble with getting all cranky and crabby at this time of year is that need your sense of curiosity, wonder, and humor now more than ever. It’s the connective tissue that keeps you compassionate and civil when your instinct may be more combative.
So try this.
Every day from Here to the New Year, write down at least one thing you are curious about. Just thinking about it won’t do. Please write it down somewhere every day.
By the end of the year,  you’ll have 35 conversation starters should you happen to be stuck at the DMV or cousin Carol’s Christmas concert. Instead of complaining, connect with a complete stranger and see if you can curtail any criticism or cynicism by starting a captivating conversation about any of the things you are curious about.
I’d love to hear where your conversations lead in the comments below. And if you haven’t officially registered for the challenge, please do so here so I can send you your free Holiday Survival Guide and enter your name for the goodies I’ll be giving away.
“What could those clever concoctions be?” you ask.
Stay curious and continue to check in daily.  I’ll leave clues that will allow you to connect the Christmas cookie crumbs to some sweet surprises coming soon.
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Here to the New Year in Good Cheer – Day 2 – Plan B

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It’s Day 2 of our Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge. Leading the charge for today is the letter B.
Today’s tip comes from Dan Pink’s book To Sell Is Human.  It was also inspired by my trip to the pool for a swim on Wednesday.
Become buoyant.

Buoyancy is the quality that allows you to stay afloat amidst a sea of negativity, rejection, discouragement, heavy traffic, crowds, or whatever brings you down.
Reciting the work of a leading researcher on positivity, Pink describes buoyancy as the “calibration between two competing pulls: levity and gravity.”

Levity is that unseen force that lifts you skyward, whereas gravity is the opposing force that pulls you earthward.  Unchecked levity leaves you flighty, ungrounded, and unreal.  Unchecked gravity leaves you collapsed in a heap of misery. Yet when properly combined, these two opposing forces leave you buoyant,” says Barbara Frederickson of the University of North Carolina.

I don’t know about you, but I span the emotional spectrum from levity to gravity every day. Sometimes every hour. Calibrating these pulls can take some practice. Pink suggests three things to help cultivate buoyancy.
The first is to practice interrogating self-talk such as “Can I figure this out?” as opposed to emphatically affirming self-talk like “I’ve got this!” Questioning if something is possible or doable opens you up to more creative options as to how to get it done.
The second is to allow yourself a proper ratio of positive to negative thoughts or comments (3 positive to 1 negative is where people seem to flourish) as you attempt to figure it out. Reality checks keep your dreams grounded. Humor does wonders as well.
And finally, an optimistic explanation of your results – no matter what they are – prevents you from playing the victim or taking rejection personally. That will help you get up and do it again. Amen.
Today as your emotions bubble up, remember Casey Kasem’s tagline, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” 
Be sure you don’t miss a day of  our Here to the New Year In Good Cheer challenge by signing up here. This allows you to pick up your Holiday Survival Guide and other goodies as we go.
I’d love to hear your comments below.
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Here to the New Year In Good Cheer – Day 1-Plan A

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Welcome to the Here to the New Year Challenge in Good Cheer Challenge. From now until December 31st I’ll be sharing some short tips to keep you humming through the holidays.
Because I can easily get distracted by shiny and/or stressful objects, I’m sticking with the full alphabet plan as our guide.
Today we start with Plan A.
I did a search on verbs that started with the letter”A” and assembled a few of them here. I used WordClouds to help me create a visual that allows various verbs to capture your attention, depending on where you look. Notice how the words are shaped to form the letter A?
Today’s tip is all about attitude.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to select a handful of these verbs and act on them today. Let them amplify your awareness and align your actions.
For example, some of my favorites are articulate, amuse, awaken, astound, and anchor.
By writing this blog post I’m articulating my thoughts as well as anchoring my intentions for our time together, awakening my curiosity as to how best to convey these concepts, and possibly amusing you and astounding all of us when you share your responses in the comments below as to how this small change in awareness impacts your day.

Make sure to sign up for the challenge here in order to get your free Holiday Survival Guide.  You’ll also earn points and get in on other free stuff only available by registering.

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Put the Fun Back in Dysfunctional

Thanksgiving decorations.
There’s one in every family.
In my family, I’m pretty sure I’m it.
The eccentric aunt whose major contribution to any family gathering is Scotcheroos and a wildly active imagination that sets kids and canines alike off on something akin to an out of control sugar high.  Admittedly, it could come from the consumption of said Scotcheroos and scandalously unconventional ideas.
Bringing Bob into the fold has tempered this reputation a bit. Besides giving my nieces and nephew license to say “Bob’s Your Uncle” and run with it, he’s also brought his card sharkiness to the table, rivaling my maternal grandmother and striking fear in my father, my mother, and even my brother.
My devotion to the dogs has doubled as our pack has grown from just one or two to a whole slew. Our new puppy Ruby is beside herself when she gets to meet all of her canine cousins. Well, that, and the smell of so much food.
No doubt about it. Holidays can be harried. With family gatherings there are so many competing expectations and roles we unconsciously slip into. No matter how functional the front we show the outside world may appear, we all know our families are a wee bit dysfunctional.
So, in keeping with my Here to the New Year in Good Cheer challenge, let’s put the fun back in dysfunctional.
Instead of getting yourself all worked up about things that are out of your control, shake it off. That’s right. Let it go. Ignore it and repeat, “This, too, shall pass.”
Because here’s the thing. It’s Thanksgiving!
You can watch a parade on TV or there might be one in your hometown. If you’re not working in a service business or a retail store that opens its doors at 3pm or 6pm or midnight, you might just have the day off. Bonus!
It happens to be my favorite holiday and by far my favorite Thursday because it’s not about getting. It’s about Giving. Thanks.
And about eating some amazing food prepared by some of our favorite people.
As an eating psychology coach I beg you… Please do not obsess over the calories you are about to consume or how much you will need to exercise to work off the 3 pieces of pie you might mindlessly eat to avoid answering intimate questions about your life from meddling members of your extended family or their friends.

Instead, feast!
Savor the flavor of your favorite foods. Lean into conversations that allow you to learn something you don’t know about someone you think you do.
Take your time with the food that took hours to prepare. Allow this gathering of family and friends to nourish you.
When you do, you’ll find yourself filled up more with less food. You won’t overeat because you will have stuffed your turkey, not yourself.

If you don’t have big plans or can’t be with those you love, then love the ones you’re with. Even if it’s just your parakeet.
Some of my favorite Thanksgivings have been with only a friend or two.  When I lived in Santa Fe my friend Kaylock and I would put together a meal of whatever was available, walk up to the Cross of the Martyrs, and head out to a movie.
Another year I was so stressed I stayed in my pajamas all day until a friend showed up at 5pm with turkey slices from Walmart. He knew the best gift he could offer me at the time was breathing space. It was one of the most memorable Thanksgivings because it was so nourishing to do nothing.
How do you make the most of this holiday? If you are feeling frazzled or freaked out, how might you put the fun back in dysfunctional?
If you are a master of making the most of the holidays, I’d love to hear how you do it in the comments below.  Plus, I’d like to include your suggestions in our Here to the New Year Challenge that begins tomorrow.
Please sign up here to receive your daily tips along with a Holiday Survival Guide created just for you.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.  I’m especially grateful for you.
 
 
 
 

From Here to the New Year

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This might just be the most outrageous challenge I’ve put together to date.
I am not a holiday person. I do not go gleefully into the “holi-daze”. The most wonderful time of the year is when all the hullabaloo is behind me. Not when I’m facing six weeks of seasonal stress disorder starting with Black Friday.
A year of surprises on several fronts have left me with the belief that anything is possible. With that in mind, I will attempt to abandon my inner Grinch and walk fearlessly toward the New Year in Good Cheer.
But it will take a village.
So if you are up to the challenge, I invite you to join me for some adventures in living well.
Instead of postponing all resolutions until the New Year at the first sign of subtle or not-so-subtle sabotage, I say we start stringing together several small successes from here to the end of the year. This way we have the habits in place that we’ll need to reach the reasonably radical resolutions that will redefine our reality in the New Year.
Here’s the plan.
Starting on Friday, November 25th, I’ll email you a quick tip, subtle suggestion, perspective changing practice, or mindful moment that you can easily implement into your day to keep you humming through the holidays.
Since Plan A and even Plan B are seldom fail proof, I’m implementing a whole alphabet plan.
Literally.
Starting with A and working our way through Z, each letter will get its day and have the opportunity to be the inspiration for the action of the day.
So, my surly Scrooges and grumpy Grinches, shall we give this thing a try?
If you are in, please click here to join the fun. Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a free Holiday Survival Guide you can download and refer to throughout the holiday season.

Thanksgiving is my favorite Thursday of the year because it’s all about grace, gratitude, delicious food, and compelling conversations.
I am so grateful to you for allowing me into your reading space and letting me share the ideas that refuse to let go of me until they find their way to you.
This Thanksgiving, keep calm and gobble on, my friends.
And by all means, join me in the Here to The New Year in Good Cheer challenge. Signing up gives you access to bonuses and other surprises not available by just reading the blog.
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Stuff Your Turkey, Not Yourself

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It’s that time of year when the holidays have a way of hijacking our attempts at remaining calm and practicing healthy habits. Today I’ll be sharing some tips to avoid overeating and over-stressing over the holidays on Paula Sands Live.
Here are a few strategies to get you from here to the New Year in good cheer.
HALT and Plan Ahead
Making decisions when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired usually leads to poor choices. Planning ahead when you have time to calmly think through your options and prepare healthy snacks will save your sanity by eliminating the emotional frenzy that comes with feeling famished.
Nourish Yourself Regularly
Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals or eating them on the run does not help you lose weight. In fact, it can lead to weight gain. Fueling yourself with whole, nutritious foods at regular intervals will help regulate your appetite, clear your mind, and keep you energized throughout the day.
Pace Yourself

Treat the holidays like an endurance event and train accordingly. Eating, drinking, or otherwise consuming your way through the holidays will only compound your stress. Take it one day at a time. If you blow it one day, don’t resign yourself to giving up until the New Year. Just begin again. Six weeks of bad habits is hard to overcome. Especially  when you can simply start over whenever you slip up. A new perspective is always one thought away.
Move Through Your Stress
Working out does wonders to help alleviate the stress that can accumulate at the mere thought of attending a party or preparing a family feast. Find a way to move that’s fun for you. It doesn’t need to look like exercise. Fire up your Wii Fit. Get out your bowling ball. Break out the ice skates. Rake up the leaves and then jump around in them. Recruit your family or a few friends to make it more likely you’ll stick to it.
Unplug and Get Enough Sleep
So much to do. So little time. Skimping on sleep will not only add to your stress but add to your waistline. Your body needs downtime to rest and repair. Unplug from your electronic devices in plenty of time to wind down so you have the energy to get up and face another day refreshed and rejuvenated. Never unplugging leaves you in an endless cycle of feeling wired and tired.
Be Grateful
Although the focus of Thanksgiving tends to be all about the food, it also includes the many people, things, and opportunities you have to be grateful for. If this is the one day of the year you look forward to feasting, by all means savor the flavor of your favorite foods. Do not obsess over calories. Feeling guilt or shame around food robs it of its pleasure. Take the time to be present and aware of what you are eating.  Get curious about where it came from, who prepared it, and the love that went into sharing it. Ironically, when you give a meal the time and attention it deserves, you end up feeling more nourished by less food.
When you reflect on how much you already have, you can resist the urge to fill yourself up with food, shopping, and other distractions. In other words, stuff your turkey, not yourself.
Join my Here to the New Year in Good Cheer Challenge starting on Black Friday and running right up to December 31st. Details to follow later in the week. Or email me at penny@wellpower.com for updates.
For now, keep calm and gobble on!
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