A Life Coach’s Secret Guide to Healthy Living

It involves managing what matters — anyone can do it

As I watch a tiny compact car lumbering through the snow with a giant Christmas tree tied to the roof, I’m aware the holiday season is here. But even without such a visual reminder, the energy around me tells me what time of year it is.

Time appears to move more quickly after Thanksgiving. Social calendars fill quickly, then become double-booked. Traffic intensifies with shopping and holiday-related errands.

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Amid all this activity — a new year beckons.

When I became a professional life coach, I learned to manage the end of the year with ease rather than feeling depleted — the latter doesn’t make for good memories. I also learned to prepare for my next steps so I could optimize results. Why would any of us do less with our own fresh, shiny new year? Embrace these three powerful ideas yourself.

1.) Positive Reflection
It’s important to reflect back on the past year, assessing what worked and what didn’t, but also taking note of what brought the most satisfaction and joy. Listing wins weekly in a calendar throughout the year makes that easier.

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Looking at the “win” list makes it easy to own one’s accomplishments, the completions, and the great lessons learned. If there is no reflection, it’s easy to forget some of the wins — and impossible to truly own them. Any of our wins come at great cost in terms of time, energy, financial investment, and effort.

2.) Time Alone
Here’s my ritual: I book a day at a nearby day spa about 50 minutes from my home. It’s always a set day, December 23. I make sure all my shopping, decorating, wrapping, and most of the cooking is done by then.

Most important: I take the full day off.

When friends first heard I took a day off during the holiday season, they freaked. But it’s a great motivator to get things done. And — this is very important — if something doesn’t get done by then, it doesn’t get done. We’ve had years with no Christmas cookies, half the decorations still boxed up in the basement, and even no lights on the tree. Guess what? The world did not end.

3.) Great Expectations
I use the drive to the spa for reflection. Once I’ve checked in, I open a fresh diary and write a “thank you” to the past year. I swim in the spa’s outdoor pool. Sometimes the snow is falling lightly. It’s easy to notice which projects “stick” to me while I swim — and I know I want to put renewed effort into them.

Next, during the massage, I imagine the masseuse pounding any disappointments out of my body. The trick is to feel the release of the “stuff” you don’t need — really feel it.

I also feel what I want — what I choose for my life. Desire is strong. If something is a worthy dream — I find simply breathing brings it into my heart.

Pat Barone, MCC, is a professional credentialed coach and author of the Own Every Bite! bodycentric re-education program for mindful and intuitive eating, who helps clients heal food addictions.

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