How those annoying holiday catalogs can help define your goals!

There are a few common issues I am starting to hear about from my clients: their goals for 2015, their stress and anxiety about the upcoming Holiday season and their frustration about being inundated with holiday catalogs since just before Halloween!

My mailbox is full of catalogs and magazines. When I was a little kid I remember being so excited to get the big toy catalog. I think it was from Sears. My brother and I would sit for hours flipping through the pages and folding the corner of each page that had a picture of a toy we wanted. By the time we were done, every page had a corner folded. When I was in college my friends and I would flip through the Victoria Secret catalog and pick one thing on each page that we just had to have. Of course we were in college so we did not have the money for any of those things but it was a fun game to play. Even online dating is like a catalog of potential future dates.

During this upcoming Holiday Season we are all flooded with catalogs full of things we should buy and must haves. Every magazine has the latest trends in fashion for the Holiday parties and celebrations, the top 7 to 10 “how to” things to keep weight off, get a date, throw a party, decorate, look your best, survive the stress and so on. In approximately 5 weeks our catalogs will be filled with sales and deep discounts telling us, “Now is the time to buy.” Our magazines will be filled with “how to” tips about losing the Holiday pounds, avoiding the post Holiday blues, getting out of debt, and all sorts of ideas for the best New Year’s Resolutions. Making a New Year’s Resolution the week, day, or hour before the New Year, in my experience, has never really worked well.

I decided to create some fun with all of this holiday marketing overload. I started to have some of my clients work on cataloging their life. They are instructed to take each part of their life as if it were a section in a catalog, title each section and list the things in that section. For example, home life, work life, health & fitness, social, hobbies, etc. They are then asked to flip through their “life catalog” pages and consider what they love, want to change, want to add, want to get rid of, or want to put on sale.

Yes, I said it, put on sale! Sometimes big changes or removing something completely can be a bit overwhelming. You do not necessarily have to do it all at once. I would love to give up sugar, but that is highly unlikely because I love sugar. Instead I am just going to put it on sale, 20% off. I would like to decrease my sugar intake by 20% for each week of 2015. Some things need big discounts some just small ones.

The next step is to list all the things they would like to add, change, remove or put on sale in any or all areas of their life. We then rank those things in order of the person’s desire for the change and the achievability the change. (I may have a strong desire to win the lottery but I do not think it is very achievable so that item would be ranked lower on my list). We then pick the top one or two big full-priced items and one or two smaller sale items and those become their goal(s) for 2015. What does your life catalog look like?

Sarah Stewart, MSW, CPC, Life Coach

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