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4 Mindset Tips to Regret-Proof Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is awesome, but it usually comes with stress.

I can feel the excitement leading up to it now, as I type this blog!  There’s so much anticipation with the lead up to Thanksgiving. But…the stress and overwhelm can dampen your holiday spirit sometimes too.

It’s funny, I’m grew up in the States but live have lived in Canada for years and I’m quite aware of it this time of year. This will be the 38th Thanksgiving that I haven’t lived in the States and I have to say, I miss a good ol’ American Thanksgiving.

But I don’t miss the stress.

The travel stress.

The anticipatory stress.

The actual stress.

Like I said, I do miss a lot about this family, football and food-focused holiday.

I miss playing saxophone in the marching band at the high school football game.

I miss all my the family coming home.

I miss the fire going in the fireplace at my mom’s house.

I miss getting caught up looking through the pile of catalogues my my saved up for me to check out.

I totally miss the food…ESPECIALLY THE MASHED POTATOES.

And of course, I miss the shopping after all of the food, folks and fun is over.

One of the problems for me has been that it’s not that easy to get home for this holiday (even before the Pandemic).

First, I live in Ontario and up here in Canada, no one is “off” for the American Thanksgiving. With three kids in different universities and professional jobs in different cities, it’s just not happening. Second, the driving was always difficult because the weather made the trip unpredictable.

So we got out of the habit and tradition of going back home for this holiday.

We started planning summer visits back home instead. Easier for everyone.

But it left a GAPING HOLE that’s for sure.

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that is full of mixed emotions for many. It’s not usually just like a Hallmark movie. There are so many things you miss, you enjoy and you look forward too.

But there are also a lot of things that are stressful, difficult and challenging.

So many emotions.

And boy, can they bubble up when everyone gets together!

Regret-proofing can really help you in times like this.

Here’s how I define regret-proofing: “making sure you don’t have regrets about what you DID or DIDN’T DO, SAY or DIDN’T SAY, TRY or DIDN’T TRY, or CHANGE OR DIDN’T CHANGE.”

I love this term because it easily applies to so many important experiences, phases, transitions and milestones in your life.

• You can regret-proof your career.
• You can regret-proof your relationships.
• You can regret-proof yourself.
• You can regret-proof your life.
• AND you can regret-proof your holidays!

When it comes to regret-proofing THANKSGIVING, there’s a lot to consider.

Yes, of course there’s reflection, family, travel, and festive meals. For Thanksgiving in particular, there’s also football in lots of families too. It’s no surprise that there’s also a ton to do, cook and plan.

This list is especially long for for the matriarchs.

For sure, there’s a lot that goes in to making a warm and wonderful holiday experience for your family. Of course you want everything to be smooth, food to be delicious and kids to be charming.

There’s a high chance that there will be some glitches of course.

The key is to be more aware of your thinking and how you want to “show up.”

Don’t expect perfection. Don’t be surprised when things and people aren’t exactly the way you wanted them to be.

• You will most likely spend more money than you anticipated.
• The grocery store could run out of a key ingredient for something you’re making.
• The turkey could be dry.
• Your college kids could get stuck out of town because of bad weather.

So how do you go about regret-proofing when there’s so much going on?

ANSWER: One thought at a time.

Here are some tips to help you regret-proof your Thanksgiving experience.

MINDSET TIP 1: Bring the Comfort of “Back Home” to Your Home; You Can Do This On Purpose.

If you can’t be with your family experiencing traditions you know and love, make sure to plan your own traditions that make you smile and bring back those memories. You don’t have to wait…or pine…or just go without completely.  This can really bring you down. There’s something you can do when you embrace the idea that you can.

Of course it won’t be the exact same.  But what you were open to the idea that you could bring a bit of the spirit, the feelings, the memories back to your home and enjoy them now?  For example, if you loved marching band, pull out an old recording or search for band performances online. Better yet, look up your high school band online and see what’s happening. Make sure to watch the Macy’s Day Parade on TV and catch the awesome bands there too.

If you love your mom’s mashed potatoes, call her up and talk to her about exactly what she does to make them so yummy so you can make them yourself. You get my point. Bring a little of home to your home. Practicing thinking thoughts that help you feel the comfort of home. Perhaps something like “I can figure out new ways to enjoy Thanksgiving that remind me of home.” This is more useful than focusing on what you’re missing.

MINDSET TIP 2: Remember that thoughts create feelings.

You can actually decide how you want to feel during Thanksgiving and create that feeling with your thoughts. This is possible because thoughts are optional.

Thoughts are just sentences in your mind.

They aren’t facts. They are personal interpretations about facts, or things going on, or what people say . What you end up DOING is always based on how you feel. The outcome, or results that you create with your actions will tie back to and support your thoughts…every time.

YOU get to decide how you want to feel, in advance, on purpose. It can be an intentional thing when you work on it.

How do you do this?

First, ask yourself, “how do I want to feel during the holiday?”

You might think that you can’t do much about this, but you can; how you’re going to feel isn’t up to chance.

If you don’t decide ahead of time, there’s a possibility old habits will kick in and you will disconnect and react to something on autopilot.

MINDSET Tip 3: Do what you can to really create that feeling that you want to feel, on purpose.

Close your eyes and imagine that feeling. Ask yourself, “what would I have to think to create this feeling?”

The idea is that if you’re clear about how you want to feel, then you can also be clear about what you have to think to create that feeling. Feelings come from thoughts.

For example, let’s say you wanted to feel relaxed. You love feeling that way when you’re surrounded by family and friends. You know that worrying about the food doesn’t make you feel relaxed. Thinking that you can’t relax doesn’t help either. But when you think, “I love having time to spend with my family,” you feel relaxed. So that’s your go-to thought.

MINDSET TIP 4: Remind yourself to practice your intentional thought.

When you catch yourself feeling riled up about the kids goofing off, remember to think this thought.

When your mother-in-law says something about your meal that rubs you the wrong way, remember this thought.

When your kids run from the table to watch football without taking their plates to the dishwasher, remember this thought.

Ask yourself this: What helps you remember to do what you want to do? Maybe a sticky note or a phone reminder? Maybe thinking about what you want to think, feel or do in advance? Then do it! Going out of your way to remind yourself to do what you want to do is a very good things. This is a great way to help yourself and ultimately, regret- proof your Thanksgiving!

It’s a simple strategy, but it works.

Want more help? Download your free guide!

As a master life coach, I love helping my clients learn more about mindfulness.

Download your free Guide to Regret-Proof Your Holidays and get the help you need!

 

UPDATED: 11/16/2021

 

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