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“Making a List & Checking It Twice”

December '10

Do you have a list in your pocket, or on your Blackberry, or in your head of all the things you need to do this time of year – an ever-expanding list that monopolizes your mind? Are you so preoccupied with getting ready to celebrate the season that truth be known you can’t find time to enjoy its true beauty? And have your friends been saying, “I’m so exhausted, I just want to get through to January so I can finally relax?” You don’t need me to tell you this is a state of affairs begging for some refurbishing.

Now I’m not going to suggest that you start your holiday shopping in August next year, although, I used to give that advice to incoming adult learners at Wellesley College when I was their dean. I knew that first semester would be a serious challenge and come late November, they would be completely consumed with finishing up the term and have little energy or time to think about shopping.

This was a good tip for them, but I’m going to recommend a slightly more manageable approach for you and suggest, “Do what you want every moment.” Yes, take an hour, a day, or even a few days and spend them doing exactly what you want at that precise moment – not what you planned to do, or what you believe you should do, but what you want to do in that split second.  Literally check in with yourself and ask, “What do I feel like doing right now?” Take a nap?  Read a book? Clean out a drawer? Just plain sit? Whatever it is, do it and then move onto your next moment, see what interests you then, and do that.  Keep going in this manner and you may be surprised to find you feel a bit more celebratory.

You could experiment with this idea. Even an hour can restore you. Until recently, I had forgotten about this lesson I learned decades ago when I was working full time, going to school full time and raising two kids as a single parent.  At this time of year, I found myself totally stressed trying to meet my daily obligations and provide a great holiday for my family. With no time for anything extra, I still yarned to create something with my hands.

For some reason I honored this desire rather than run all the errands on my to-do list. Inspired by some magazine’s homemade ornaments, I went to a fabric store, purchased swatches of red, lime green and dark green Marimekko fabric sprinkled with white hearts and turned these into stuffed ornaments in the shapes of hearts and trees.

The joy that project yielded for me was indescribable. Decades later, my 95-year old mother decorates her Assisted Living apartment with these same ornaments. They make me smile and remind me that doing what you want in the moment is a great joy bringer and a wonderful gift to yourself and to others.

If you decide to adopt this approach for celebrating the holiday season, I’d love to learn about your story – as might other readers. Do let us hear from you.

Here’s wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

P. S. If you’d like a free consultation to learn more about how the coaching structure will help you create a more meaningful life in the new year, click here.


  1. Ellen Jacke said on December 19, 2010:

    Merry Christmas Bonnie. Hope you are well. I contine to be busy, busy but do stop and do “my own thing” sometime every day. Great advice! I will send you my long family Christmas letter to update you on my doings when it gets finished sometime later today (After I have “taken five’). Ellen

  2. Lucy Kluckhohn Jones said on December 19, 2010:

    Hi Bonnie,
    This just worked wonders. Overwhelmed? Yes, with too much to do. I read up to the “what do you feel like doing right now?” and stopped. Got up and walked the dogs–in the rain. They needed the walk, and I needed the calm. Came back and read on. Thanks for your suggestions.

    Best wishes for a happy holiday,

  3. Bonnie said on December 19, 2010:

    Merry Christmas to you too, Ellen! Thanks for your comment.

  4. Bonnie said on December 19, 2010:

    Hi Lucy!

    Great to hear from you! Love your story of walking the dogs in the rain.


  5. Elaine said on December 20, 2010:

    Bonnie, Merry, Merry Christmas and Holidays. For some reason this is the first year in many that I have everything done, except the card………they always get on the backburner. So if my card is late just know it is coming. Warmly With Love, Elaine

  6. Bonnie said on December 20, 2010:

    Hi Elaine!

    Thanks for your holiday wishes – seems like a card to me: )


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