Making The Holiday Spirit A Habit

Who among us hasn’t wondered “Why can’t we perpetuate our feelings of joy and goodwill throughout the year?”  We can, we just need to form the habit.

Not universal

Before we discuss how to form the habit, we must realize that not everyone experiences the feelings of joy and goodwill.  During the holiday season some people experience loneliness, despondency and resentment.

For those of you who find yourself in this situation, I’d like to share with you the wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said:

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

As you help others, you feel a close bond develop between the two of you…a bond that will quickly and dramatically diminish the loneliness you feel.  As that feeling wanes help another, then another and you’ll find that despondency and resentment are washed away as well.


Whether you’ve overcome negative emotions using the tips above or always experienced joy during the holidays, the key to perpetuating these feelings throughout the year is to form a daily habit of leaving everyone you meet better off than before you met.

That’s been my personal mission for decades.  Here’s what it’s done for me.  I awaken each day excited about the prospect of great day because I’ve discovered that all I need to do is to help the people I meet enjoy their day more.  That can be as simple as a kind word or a reason to laugh.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I no longer have to ask for favors.  Others offer to help me because I’ve helped them.  Within a week of announcing my desire to bring my messages to kids as young as 8 to 10 years old, I had more than a dozen introductions to leaders in education.  Imagine how much easier life gets when you have so many others willing to help you.

In addition, I experience what Emerson said.  I feel better about myself and enjoy the psychic rewards we all experience when we help others.  I quickly develop deeper, more meaningful friendships as a result of this practice.

With this mindset, joy and opportunity abound.  In other words, if I wanted to feel down, I’d have to work at it.  The same will be true for you.


Each morning as you rise, remind yourself that your mission that day is to leave everyone you meet better off than before you met.  Then do it.

Don’t beat up on yourself or get discouraged if you forget.  We are, after all, human which means we make mistakes.  Also, don’t let others’ rejection of your attempts dissuade you.  Instead, feel sorry for them for their inability to accept help and find joy in the fact that you tried.  Realize that the student is not always ready for the message.

Finally, become consciously aware that, for most of us, happiness is a choice.  That choice often occurs subconsciously.  It’s a choice between focusing on what we want or focusing on helping others get what they want.

The more we focus on ourselves, the more likely we are to experience loneliness, despondency and resentment.  Conversely, when we focus on helping others we feel valued, appreciated and a closeness to those we help.  It’s a simple choice, choose wisely.

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