Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) December 1, 2004
In a year where the holiday spirit has been heard through the radio far before Thanksgiving, a survey conducted by the Gail Kasper consulting group, a leading speaking and coaching organization, found that 40% of Americans are just going through the holiday motions rather than enjoying fun family holiday traditions. Have the holidays lost their meaning?
Supporting these results, the survey, which was completed by a random group of 104 adults over 18, also asked participants whether they would be happier doing everyday activities rather than participate in holiday traditions.
Of these scenarios:
Â32% would be happier taking a vacation rather than visiting their family
Â36% would be happier doing laundry rather than sending out holiday cards
Â19% would be happier watching Rudolph rather than attending a family holiday dinner.
Money a Major Issue
Another aspect of the survey asked respondents to rate their level of depression with respect to specific life situations on a scale of 1-10. The situations varied from the Âwar in IraqÂ to Âbeing alone for the holidaysÂ to Âbirthdays.Â Interestingly enough, Âbeing alone for the holidaysÂ or even Âdealing with a routine stunted lifeÂ didnÂt create the compelling emotional effect that Âlack of money to purchase giftsÂ had on the American public.
The survey found that Âlack of money to purchase giftsÂ affects Americans much more than the Âwar in Iraq,Â Âbeing alone for the holidays,Â or Ânot taking action on personal goals,Â respectively, while Âvisiting family for the holidaysÂ and ÂbirthdaysÂ were lowest on the list reflecting very little emotional investment or concern.
HereÂs the stats:
Lack of money to purchase gifts 5.5
War in Iraq 5.0
Being alone 4.4
Not taking action on personal goals 4.0
Visiting family 1.6
ÂWhatever our reasons, with the holidays upon us, it is so important that we keep our spirits up and remember the true meaning of the holidays,Â says Gail Kasper, time management and motivational strategist. ÂJust going through the Âmotions,Â whether with the holidays or in life, is a destructive negative pattern and needs a conscious effort to break that pattern.Â Gail Kasper, author of the recently released life strategy audio program, Make a Decision to Win, suggests these 7 simple steps.
1. Think positive. Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to Âjust go through the motions?Â When you sit and think about it, going through the motions just isnÂt good enough. You deserve moreÂ .so tell yourself, ÂI deserve more and itÂs not going to be ÂjustÂ another holiday season. I am going to make it a ÂgreatÂ holiday season.Â
2. Create a vision. Think back to one of your favorite holiday celebrations. What happened? What made it special? If you canÂt think of a special holiday, design your own. Just as you need a vision for your life, you need a vision for the holidays. Imagine your perfect holiday. What would be happening? How would the decorations look? What would be served for the holiday dinner? Who would you spend time with during the holiday season? What things would you like to do? When itÂs all said and done, how do ÂyouÂ want to feel?
3. Set a holiday budget and stick to it. A beautiful vision needs to be based in reality Â whatÂs affordable. Decide the budget. Use decorations from past years. Have everyone contribute and bring a dish to the holiday dinner. Eliminate the idea of purchasing presents for everyone, have a Pollyanna. This will not only save money, but time and stress. Give a budget to children so that they can prioritize gifts they really Âwant.Â Set financial ground rules. The first year my husband and I were married, money was very tight so instead of picking a Pollyanna, we shared one. Homemade gifts, home baked cookies, etc. or a sentimental gift will create warmth and doesnÂt have a price tag. Financially, do only what makes sense for you, donÂt succumb to retail and self-imposed pressures.
4. Write a plan. Now that you have a budget, write down the plan. This is where your holiday vision becomes a reality. When you go through the motions, or live life on automatic pilot, it causes a ÂreactiveÂ response. You say to yourself: ÂOoops the holiday is next week, I better get to the mall.Â This is how the days slip away - and in life, this is how the years slip away. ItÂs time to change the pattern and become Âproactive.Â
Write down what decorations really need to be purchased and when you will buy them. For a family dinner, write down what you will serve and when you will purchase the groceries. Is there someplace you would like to visit for the holidays Â downtown to see the holiday lights, a favorite restaurant or holiday party? Use your daily planning system and identify Âwhat you need to doÂ and Âwhen you will do these tasks.Â Be specific. When you write down a plan, you not only change the course of your life, but you change how you view your lifeÂ and you become more content.
5. Include friends and family. ItÂs easy to focus on Âmaking everything perfect,Â rather than focus on Âincluding loved ones.Â ÂMaking everything perfectÂ creates a terrific Âprocess,Â but negates an extraordinary Âexperience.Â The holidays are about an ÂexperienceÂ not a Âprocess,Â so when putting a plan together, include loved ones Â whether its decorating, baking, shopping, dinners, or party planning. Create an ÂexperienceÂ with family and friends. When you do this, the crooked tree, a few burnt cookies, or that one light that canÂt seem to be found in the strand just doesnÂt matter. The holidays become fun.
6. Have a stress outlet. What can you do to feel better about yourself? Survey results indicated that people almost always felt more positive being around family. These results were followed by ÂexerciseÂ and Âachieving excellence in an area of life.Â Have a game plan when the holidays become overwhelming. Ask yourself, Âwhat makes you feel positive about you?Â and then schedule the time to do that activity, whether itÂs visiting your family, going to the gym, or working on your personal goals. Feel good about yourself.
7. Be confident in you. The greatest thing about the holidays is Âyou.Â You have created an incredible impact in the lives of those who surround you regardless of whether you have money, youÂve made the best holiday dish, or have thrown the best party. Worrying about what isnÂt ÂrightÂ or ÂperfectÂ will prevent you from being able to give and be present for others. Be confident in Âyou.Â The more confident you are in you, the more strength you will bring to others, particularly those who may be having a difficult holiday. What you will find is that youÂre no longer going through the motions, youÂre enjoying each minute.
Gail Kasper is an internationally renowned motivational strategist. Multi-billion dollar companies, top CEOs, associations, Ivy league universities and professional sports teams have adopted GailÂs ideas, leadership techniques and sales programs to increase performance and achievement. She is the author of the life strategy audio CD program, Make a Decision to Win.
Gail is the former Mrs. New Jersey America 2002 and has co-hosted the Emmy award-winning AmericaÂs TV JobNetwork (airing on CBS and Fox). She currently hosts The VisitorÂs Channel. Coupling a business degree with psychology studies Gail is a nationally recognized certified trainer. For more information please visit http://www.gailkasper.com.
For survey results and holiday tips, please visit: http://www.gailkasper.com/2005survey
To arrange an interview or appearance with Gail Kasper, please contact:
Laine Latimer 503-859-2299 [email protected]