4 Mindset Tips to Regret-Proof Thanksgiving

Here are 4 free mindset tips to regret-proof your Thanksgiving!

Mindset tips Thanksgiving blog midlife women

Who doesn’t want a little help managing their mindset during Thanksgiving? Here are some simple strategies to help you enjoy your time together, whoever you’re with and however you’re celebrating.

Thanksgiving is awesome but without attention to the way you’re thinking about the holiday, there could be some unnecessary 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 and probably, most big family holidays and gatherings. 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 40th Thanksgiving that I haven’t lived in the States and I have to say, I miss a good ol’ fashioned American Thanksgiving.

I don’t miss the stress though. Living in Canada, we celebrated Thanksgiving back in October. I’m off the hook for this one!

There really is a lot of different kinds of stress too…

The travel stress.

The anticipatory stress.

The actual stress.

I definitely miss more than stress during this family, football and food-focused holiday.

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

I miss all of 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 that my mom used to have saved up for me to check out.


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.

First, I live in Ontario and up here in Canada and no one is “off” for the American Thanksgiving.

Also, with three kids in universities and and professional jobs, it’s just not happening with out the stat holidays being all synced up.

Driving the 500 mile roadtrip can be difficult as well, with unpredictable weather. We’ve had issues over the years!

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

We started planning summer visits. Easier for everyone.

But it left a GAPING HOLE in “tradition,”, that’s for sure.

Thanksgiving can be emotional.

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that is full of mixed emotions for many. Some might experience it much like a Hallmark movie. There are so many things you miss, enjoy and look forward too.

AND 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!

Using mindset tips to regret-proof the holidays can really help.

Do you know what “regret-proofing” means?

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.

Let’s think about it.

First, 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 the matriarchs.

Between tradition, traditional roles and expectations for things to go a certain way, the stress and exhaustion can pile up.

As you know, 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 easy-going and helpful.

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

The bottom line is that you can’t control everything…even though you want to, lol.

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

Be aware of your expectations.

It’s common to have hopes, dreams and expectations of the holidays, especially Thanksgiving.  It’s a holiday about gratitude, after all.

You can set yourself up for disappointment though too.

Notice your thoughts about perfection.

What would it be like for you to switch things up and try NOT to expect perfection?

What would it be like if you WERE NOT surprised when things, situations and people aren’t exactly the way you wanted them to be?


• You will most probably 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.

Someone could get sick.

Someone may have to cancel.

• Your oven may break (true story!)

• Someone might get drunk.

• Someone might pick a fight.

• You may not get the help you want.

• You may have to remind people about putting their phones away while at the table.

• Your college kids could get stuck out of town because of bad weather.


QUESTION: How do you go about regret-proofing when there’s so much going on that you can’t control?

ANSWER: One thought at a time.

Here are 4 mindset tips to help you regret-proof your Thanksgiving experience.

MINDSET TIP 1: 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. That increases the likelihood that you will disconnect and react to something on autopilot.

MINDSET TIP 2: Bring the comfort of “BACK HOME TRADITION” to your home with intention.

You can do this regardless of being at a big family Thanksgiving or not.

If you can’t be with your family experiencing the 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.

If you will be together with your family on Thanksgiving, think about what that “back home tradition” means to you. Get really clear about the feeling you are hoping to experience during your holiday time with your feeling. Raise your awareness of what you want related to this idea. Then, practice thinking thoughts on purpose that will help you create that for yourself. The key here is to do this in advance.

MINDSET TIP 3: Take ownership for creating the feeling that you want to feel, on purpose.

Close your eyes and imagine that feeling that you want to be a big part of your Thanksgiving experience.

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 can be your intentional, go-to thought.

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

When you catch yourself feeling agitated, stressed, distracted or angry about something happening during the holiday, remember to think the thought you have decided is a useful way to think on purpose.

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

When your kids get up and leave 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!

You can be super intentional and remind yourself to think something that you know will help you feel better. It’s something that you can do at any time.

Using these simple 4 mindset tips are the key to helping you ultimately regret-proof your Thanksgiving!

Remember to have fun and feel grateful for this wonderful holiday!

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!


midlife transition coachSuzy Rosenstein, MA is a master certified life coach and host of the popular podcast for midlife women, Women in the Middle, with over 1 million downloads. Having wasted five years being stuck herself, she knows how frustrating and painful it can be.  She uses her upbeat approach with the serious topic of aging to help you get clear about what you want, get unstuck and live your best life. Girlfriend, there’s more fun to be had! Start now with her free midlife video training about how to get unstuck: www.midlifevideo.com


UPDATED: 11/16/2021 / 11/12/2022 / 18/11/23




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