The Gift of Your Best Self: Unwrapping Your Full Potential This Holiday Season

Posted in Insights, Motivational, News

You can give your best and find joy over the holidays if you focus on what you can control instead of what you can’t. Do this, retain a positive mindset, and get the most out of the holiday season.

Mindful Holidays: How To Give The BEST of YOU This Season

The Holiday Season Is Upon Us

Marshall Connects blog, The Gift of Your Best Self: Unwrapping Your Full Potential This Holiday Season

Can you believe the holiday season is upon us? Then again, I suppose we probably say this every year because no matter what happens in our lives, time keeps ticking. This last week I held several webinars on "How Maintaining Joy Can Change Your Life." It is so easy to focus on stress and lose sight of what makes us happy, grateful, and content when we aren't feeling optimistic. It is easy to focus on stress and lose sight of what makes us happy, grateful, and content when we aren't optimistic. When we fail to do this, it affects our attitude and how we project ourselves to others.

Focus On Freedoms, Not Limitations.

Our mindset affects all we do, including our behaviour and interactions with others. When our mindset is negative, it steals our joy. If I can offer one suggestion to help you manage your emotions during the holidays, it's this: keep your attitude positive and focus on your freedoms rather than your limitations. Yes, reduce your stress by concentrating on what you have and can do. This mindset will make it easier to hold on to your joy and create happiness during the holidays when emotions can get the better of us.

Focusing on our limitations restricts and affects our attitudes and behaviour, creating stress and reducing our positive feelings and joy. Spend your time focusing on the positive and practicing gratitude. When your thoughts become negative, redirect them to something positive about the situation. Remember, there is always something to be grateful for.

Being Proactive Will Make Your Holidays Easier.

In Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he states, "The more you focus on what you can influence, the more you will find you are able to influence." Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which we have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control. The problems, challenges, and opportunities we face fall into two areas – Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence.

Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about – an excellent example of this over the holidays would be: getting enough rest and exercise, organizing your children, setting a schedule that works for your family, spending time on the things you choose.

Reactive people focus their efforts on the Circle of Concern. Such as things over which they have little or no control: The weather, your mother-in-law's opinions, the conflict between Aunt Jean and cousin Bill, the desire to give to everyone, but simply not having the means. Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energies is a giant step in becoming proactive and reducing our stress levels. 

Our attitude changes everything – it’s all about our mindset! We have the power to focus on things that are not fair continuously, or we can focus on the things that are going well, accept that life isn't perfect, and admit we will encounter daily challenges that most often pass quickly.

Develop An Attitude Of Gratitude

Remember, even if you can't control the situation, you always have a say in what's happening, positively influencing your feelings. Take a closer look at how you are reacting to the problem. If you are focusing on restrictions, you will feel demoralized. That type of negativity makes you feel helpless and reduces joy in your life.

Control plays a significant role in our lives. The key to managing our busy world is to release things that we can't control, spend time focusing on, and become skilled at the things we can control and practise gratitude. To move forward positively, we must accept there aren't too many things we can control.

What You Can Control In Life

While you may not have absolute control over every aspect of life, focusing on the things you can control can lead to a greater sense of empowerment and well-being. It is pretty amazing the power we have with the right mindset. You can manage your:
  • Attitude: You have control over your mindset and how you choose to react to situations.
  • Actions: You can decide what steps you take and your choices.
  • Emotions: While you may not control initial emotional reactions, you can control how you manage and respond to them.
  • Beliefs and Values: You can shape your beliefs and values.
  • Goals and Ambitions: You can set and work towards your goals and aspirations.
  • Health and Wellness: You can make choices that impact your physical and mental well-being.
  • Time Management: You can decide how you allocate your time and prioritize tasks.
  • Finances: You control your spending, saving, and financial decisions.
  • Relationships: You can choose who you associate with and how you nurture your relationships.
  • Learning and Growth: You can pursue knowledge and personal development.
  • Environment: You have some control over your living and working spaces.
  • Habits: You can create and change your daily routines and habits.
  • Communication: You control how you express yourself and interact with others.
  • Boundaries: You can set and enforce personal limitations.
  • Reactions to Challenges: You can control how you respond to adversity and setbacks.

This year, consider focusing on the positive things you can control to increase joy, reduce stress, and celebrate everything you can do with your family and friends during the holidays.  Embrace the possibilities and create positive, joyful memories that bring out the best in you. Take time to reflect and find joy this holiday season. Be sure to check out many more motivational blogs here.

This article was originally published on December 17, 2016, and updated (November 2023).

More Motivational Reads Here »

How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?

Sign up for monthly tips to build your Emotional Intelligence and reduce Emotional Hijacking!

How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?

Sign up now for monthly tips to build your Emotional Intelligence and reduce Emotional Hijacking!

We’re proud to say we’ve done some wonderful work with some wonderful community-minded organizations.

  • Pearson Dunn Insurance Inc.

  • Budds' BMW Hamilton

  • Hamilton Arts Council

  • Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Mohawk College

  • OBIA

  • Physique Fitness


  • McMaster University - Student Success Centre

  • Hamilton Family Health Team

  • AllerGen
  • Marshall Truck & Trailer Repair Ltd.
  • Nielsen
  • PCL Construction
  • Royal Bank
  • Wesley Urban Ministries
  • North Hamilton Community Health Centre