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4 tips for staying present on new year's eve

"New Year's eve is like every other night;
there is no pause in the march of the universe,
no breathless moment of silence among created things
that the passage of another twelve months may be noted;
and yet no man has quite the same thoughts
this evening that come with the
coming of darkness on other nights."  

Hamilton Wright Mabie


As the quote above says, New Year's eve is a night quite unlike the other 364 nights of the year. It's a night that, no matter where you find yourself, you're much more likely to find yourself reflecting on the twelve months that came before you -- and to wonder about the next twelve months to come. If I had to guess, I'd have to say that New Year's eve is probably one of the hardest days to stay present. With the dawn of a New Year comes the desire to look both forward and backward, making it very hard for anyone to stay in the moment. 

But just because something's hard doesn't mean you shouldn't try! This New Year's eve I challenge you (and myself!) to stay in the moment, to stop reminiscing about the past and pondering the future and to just live 100% in the present. I doubt I've ever had a New Year's eve where I focused on the moment and I'm hoping this year will be the first. Here are some words of wisdom I'm going to give myself as the 31st of December approaches... 


4 Ways You Can Stay Present on New Year's Eve


1. Notice the tiniest details around you. When your mind starts to wander and you cannot possibly believe that you're going to be able to spend an entire night living in the present moment, take a deep breath and look around you. Don't look at the big picture of what's happening but, instead, focus on the tiniest details. What does the floor beneath your feet look like? Who are the people closest to you? What are they wearing? What are you wearing? What does the cloth feel like on your skin? Use your five senses to really take in all of the things happening around you and you'll be instantly be brought back to the present moment. 


2. Acknowledge thoughts of the past and future. Okay, so your mind has made it's way back down the winding paths of the past and the future and you can't seem to bring it back to the now. Everyone around you is talking about what happened over the past year or sharing their New Year's resolutions with you and staying in the present seems next to impossible. Here's what you need to do: acknowledge the past and future thoughts in your head. Give them a moment to shine in your mind. Then imagine them floating away from you, like fast-moving clouds in a summer sky. Having given your mind a chance to process these thoughts briefly and imagine them leaving, you'll be much more able to focus on living in the now. 


3. Find a staying present partner-in-crime. If you're surrounded by tons of people talking about what they hope for next year or what they went through this year, it's going to be really hard to get through an evening where you keep your own mind in the present. So, what you need to do is find a staying present partner-in-crime, someone who, like you, wants to stay focused on the now. Having this person by your side will help you both make the most of the moment. When you find your mind wandering, you can ask for reinforcement from your partner and, likewise, you can offer support to him or her. No matter what the goal, doing anything difficult is often best done with a partner. Knowing you have someone else who wants to stay present too will help you both make it through the evening. 


4. Partake in enjoyable activities with loved ones. Staying present is hard enough, but imagine trying to stay present while you're doing something you don't want to be doing! For that reason, it's imperative that you plan a New Year's eve activity that will bring you joy and make you happy to be in the moment. Give some thought to what you'd really, really like to be doing when the clock strikes midnight -- and make plans to do it! Also, do what you can to surround yourself with people you love. Nothing pushes your mind to the past or the future more than being around people you don't like. Do what you love with who you love and your goal to stay present on NYE will be a success! 


Before reading the quote above, I never gave much thought to how hard it is to be present on New Year's eve. While I believe, to some extent, it's healthy to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year to come, I also believe that, in order to live a truly positive life, you need to do what you can to live in the moment. The customs and culture surrounding New Year's eve makes the goal of being present increasingly difficult to achieve -- but it's not impossible. This New Year's eve I'm going to strive to live in the present and make the most of the last day of the year, and I hope you'll do the same. Remember: the now is all we ever have so we might as well make the most of it! 

Thank you for reading Positively Present this year. 
Your support means the world to me, 
and I hope each and every one of you have
a very positive, very present New Year! 

10 tips for keeping the happy in your holidays


If you celebrate Christmas -- happy Christmas Eve eve! Right now you probably have a lot to get done before the big day, and, if you're anything like most people, you're probably stressing out about presents and family and things left on your To Do list. It can be joyous -- and overwhelming -- couple of days, so here are a few things to keep in mind as the holiday draws near...

10 Tips for Keeping the Happy in Your Holidays

1. Make the best of whatever situation you're in.
I know this can be particularly hard if you're not at all interested in doing some of the required holiday activities, but, believe me, making the best of a situation is only going to help you. When it comes to the holidays, there are things you have to do sometimes -- and making the best of them is only going to make them easier to get through.

2. See the good in the people around you. Oddly enough, spending time with the people you love the most can be pretty hard sometimes. It's tempting to see their faults, to recall the things they may have done that have hurt you in the past. But this holiday, don't do those things. Instead, shun all negative thought and focus on the good things these people bring to your life. Be positive.

3. Know that everything (and everyone) doesn't have to be perfect. We typically have high expectations for holidays. We build them up almost all year long and suddenly they arrive and don't always live up to our ultra-high expectations. This year, lower your expectations to a reasonable level and remind yourself that this is just Christmas. It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to be perfect. And, yeah, other people don't have to be perfect either.

4. Stay in the moment to avoid unnecessary stress. When you start thinking about the past or the future, that's when you can really get caught up in stress. Christmas should be, at the very least, a day you can focus on the now and stop worrying about the past year or the year to come. Hard as it might be, make a commitment to spend Christmas day in the present moment. Focus on the now.

5. Help others out -- and ask for help when you need it. Help is one of those tricky things. We all need it at times, but too often we don't remember to offer it or ask for it. Even though it might be hard to keep your mind, try your best to ask others if they need help and ask yourself if you might need help from others. It can be tough to ask for it sometimes, but it will make your holiday a lot happier if you do!

6. Take it one day, hour, minute at a time. Remember that Christmas is only a single day of the year and, even when it's tough, you can certainly get through it. If you're faced with any troublesome situations, remind yourself that you can get through the next minute, the next hour, the next day. Stress levels may be high, but try to keep everything in perspective and stay calm.

7. Remember that you are more than one day of the year. People that put a lot of emphasis on the holidays often have a hard time remembering that your worth is much more than a single day or event. The day doesn't have to perfect and neither do you. You are so many things and it's essential to remind yourself that the outcome of one day does not represent your entire worth as a person. Remember: it's just one day.

8. Put yourself in positive situations (and avoid negative ones). Though you may not be able to choose exactly how you spend Christmas, you often have a choice when it comes to what specific situations you put yourself in. If you know a certain person drives you nuts, do what you can to stay away from him or her. And, whenever you can, find the people that inspire you and make you feel great and spend time with those individuals.

9. Don't be afraid to say, "No!" With the holidays often comes pressure. Pressure to be there or do that. Pressure to act a certain way or be willing to go with the flow. Though I'd certainly advise doing what you can to make the most of any situation you find yourself in, know that it's okay to say "no" when you need to. If something makes you unhappy or uncomfortable, don't do it. Some might call you a Scrooge, but if you want to be happy this holiday, you have to remain true to yourself.

10. Celebrate the little things (because, really, those are the big things). I'm a big fan of looking at the big picture and seeing the holiday celebrated as a whole, but one of the best pieces of advice I can offer you this holiday season is this: celebrate the little things. These are the things that might not seem like a big deal, but they are the things you will end up remembering when the day is over. Pay attention and all of those little things will add up to one big celebration.


Even though Christmastime is supposed to be one the greatest and most festive days of the year, it's often very difficult for a lot of people to get through. Hopefully these happiness tips will help you to stay positive and present all day long. My advice? If you think you're going to be battling a particularly troubling holiday, print these tips out and keep them with you for extra inspiration. Or, better yet, print them out and share them with everyone at your holiday event.

As always thank you for reading Positively Present. I hope these words inspire you to live a more positive, more present life. For those of you who celebrate the holiday, have a very merry Christmas! And for those of you who don't -- have a very merry weekend!


how to get on the nice list this christmas

"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

Charles Dickens


The other day I was in the mall and I found myself pretty much pushing past people in a hurry to get to the next over-crowded store. I was lugging bags and feeling stressed. The cheery Christmas music was grating on my nerves and I felt as if every drop of Christmas spirit had been sweat from my body. On my mind were gifts to purchase, a nagging irritation with all of the people suddenly in my mall, and a pressing desire to have everyone move out of my way. 

My mindset, I realized, could be defined as the opposite of the Christmas spirit. I was Scrooge. I was the Grinch. My name deserved to be on Santa's naughty list. 

The last things on my mind were being positive or present. And rather than seeing the people around me as fellow humans, all on the same quest for great Christmas gifts, all eager to get home to their families and friends, I saw all of the people around me as the enemies -- the creatures standing in the way of me getting where and what I wanted. The last thing I was thinking about was connecting with them in any way. And why would I? I was viewing them as roadblocks, barriers, problems -- not the just-like-me people they were. 

I needed a change of heart, a change of pace. ASAP. So, as I recalled all of the positive holiday posts I'd written this year, my heart filled with a something vaguely resembling shame and I slowed my pace. I let other people actually pass me. I offered a frazzled sales girl a shy smile, which she returned with a look of gratitude. It was then, with the soundtrack of a screaming child and a frustrated parent in the background, that I realized she probably hadn't received too many smiles that day. Much as it saddened me to realize, I wasn't the only one in go-go-go Christmas mode, focused only on my own hurried mission. There were a lot of people -- maybe even most people -- who weren't being very positive or very present. 

I thought back to my days as a sales assistant at stores like Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Anthropologie. I recalled the holiday seasons at those stores and remembered that, in my mind, I had divided the customers into two clear categories: Naughty and Nice. Now, as I was striving to fall into the latter category, I realized how many people around me were falling into the former. The holidays are stressful. I get it. It can be overwhelming and more than one person is panic-stricken at the idea of not finding the perfect holiday gift.

But today I want to ask you to do just one thing: take a deep breath and act like someone whose name is printed on the Nice list. Don't know how to do that? Follow these suggestions below...

Ways to Get Off the Naughty (and on the Nice) List

  • Let someone else go first. I know, it's hard -- but it will be worth it.
  • Acknowledge that others are feeling just as stressed as you are.
  • Walk, drive, talk slowly to calm yourself (and those around you).
  • Share a funny picture or video with a friend. Everyone loves to laugh.
  • Donate time, money -- anything. You will be instant Nice List material.
  • Give someone a random compliment. No explanation needed.
  • Do a small favor for someone you love without being asked.
  • Pay attention to those around you instead of focusing on what you need to do.
  • Buy a surprise gift for someone you wouldn't normally buy for.
  • Ask someone how s/he is doing -- and actually listen to the response.
  • Share a positive article with a friend or coworker.
  • Call someone you haven't talked to in a long, long while.
  • Tell a friend or loved one how much you truly value them in your life.
  • Smile. Even when you don't feel like it. Especially when you don't feel like it.

The holiday season can be tough and, much as it pains to me to admit this, it's actually one of the hardest times of the year to stay positive and present (especially when I find myself in a mall stuffed with people!). Nevertheless, I'm not giving up on positivity this year and neither should you. When you find yourself stressed or fretting about what you have to get done, take a deep breath and remind yourself that, if you want to, you can get your name on the Nice List this year, but it's up to you to choose Nice!