Don’t Tap Out Over The Holidays! (How To Keep Up Motivation And Get Ready For 2015)

This is article #47 to be published on the Get The Guy blog from my brother Stephen. Steve helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

(Photo: Len)

Enter Stephen

It’s very near that moment you want to call time on 2014.

Whether you achieved your goals or not for this year has probably already been decided.

I imagine, like most of us, you now feel like a wrestler caught in a painful scissor hold. You’re just about ready to tap out and wait for the comeback fight next year.

But whether your plan is for simply more of the same next year, or you need a complete U-turn to change your entire life, don’t leave it until January 1st to do it.

Many people by this point just let everything come crashing down: their diet, their goals, their reading, their working, their dating…they let it all crumble around them, as if to purposely set themselves the Herculean challenge of rebuilding EVERYTHING again in the new year.

But it’s painful to have to start from zero and incorporate a huge stack of new good habits in the New Year.

I’ve already thought about next year’s goals. I’ve already started gradually building some of the routines in December so that I can get 2015 off to a running start.

This is why I won’t be writing anything about New Year’s Resolutions come January. I don’t see any reason for us to spend the first month of next year deciding what we are going to focus on.

I’m not suggesting you’re going to keep up your usual level of willpower over the holidays. You’re going to eat more chocolate in front of the TV, you’re not going to put as much pressure on yourself with exercise, and you’re probably going to be less productive.

But there are a few principles that will help you enter the New Year without having to start from the bottom of the hill.

[A] Don’t stop good habits you enjoy

People make strange rules. They think because it’s Christmas that they have no need at all to exercise a single muscle until January.

I used to think this way. Until I realised I actually enjoy exercising. Why would I suddenly stop doing physical activity that I enjoy? Just so I can feel like taking a break? That’s stupid.

The same goes for writing. I used to just leave all my projects untouched over the holidays because I thought I ought to be endlessly watching movies and eating turkey sandwiches. I certainly will do the latter, but writing isn’t some chore I have to do. It’s my choice.

Sure, I’ll dial back and write less, but the fact that I’m on vacation doesn’t mean I can’t write 2-300 words in the morning just to keep my brain functioning. It’s more pleasurable for me to do something, even if it’s only a little, rather than ignore work completely out of a misplaced sense of trying to relax.

Relaxation just means having more time for leisure activities. It doesn’t mean giving up everything that requires energy (especially if you enjoy them).

[B] Incorporate a new routine now

I like to enter January 1st already moving forward, as though I’m crossing the starting gate having already built up a decent running pace.

Think about your new goals and habits right now, and make some effort towards them. Start the 20-minute meditation you keep promising yourself you’ll do in the mornings. Buy a few books you’re itching to own and read that extra half hour before bed.

Start scheduling a map of next year’s calendar and look at how you could already get ahead of your plans for 2015 to make January a comfortable race instead of a mad sprint to get back on track.

[C] Stretch yourself socially

You have more time than ever now to be a conversationalist. If you’re going to a big Christmas party, try not to stick with the same comfortable three people you always would.

Make it a mission to have 10-15 separate five-minute conversations with everyone, rather than one hour-long conversation with your best friend.

You’ll stretch yourself more by doing this and get into that ‘social flow’ mode, where you feel like you can talk to anyone.

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The calendar is an arbitrary set of dates. It only has the meaning you give it.

I’ve always found I make the best of January when I don’t go into it with a head full of questions. Use this period now to assess where you are and where you’re going. Then get the ball rolling so that by January 1st, while everyone else is asking which way to go, you’ll already be moving forward.

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14 Replies to “Don’t Tap Out Over The Holidays! (How To Keep Up Motivation And Get Ready For 2015)”

  • Oh man!! I so wish I could meet u n give u a big hug and a kiss for writing this article :)

    Just want to thank u for all d wonderful articles that you have written this year!! It has opened up my mind and given me a lot of pleasure :)

    Merry Christmas and wish you a smooth sailing into the new year :)


    1. Thank you so much Lorine. You made my day. Merry Christmas to you too, thanks for following me all the way through 47 articles! It’s been a ride! :)

      Sending you a hug from here.

      Happy holidays,

      Steve x

  • I really love this article I agree it better to keep with your habits and continue your goals regardless of it being the end of the year. I enjoy this time of year because I get to see friends I don’t always see during the year and I also get to spend more time with family which I enjoy. I also try to get myself out there and go to as many social gatherings as possible so I get a chance to socialize and enjoy meeting new people. I do cut back on worrying about my diet as much but I still do stick to it to a certain degree. I don’t do the New Years resolutions it too much pressure and I am setting myself up for failure. I just continue on the track that I have been on for the year as its going well for me and I am happy!!

    1. Great to hear Beth. It’s a great time of year to attend to your social needs, and especially be close with the important people in your life. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

      Steve xx

  • I totally agree with your blog this week and I had thought the very same thing myself. If you’ve kept up the motivation all year why would you want to let it all cave in now?! And look like you’ve eaten all the mince pies, lol.
    It has been quite a year and we’ve all enjoyed every article, avidly waiting for our Wedneday fix. I feel as though I can use the collective ‘we’ as you have quite a following now Stephen. I haven’t yet coined a phrase, but I think we are like the self styled #cumberbitches. I note this is article #47 and I’m hoping they won’t stop at #50 (is this how many Matt asked you to write initially?). We’ll be tweeting how it’s not worth getting out of bed and if you get engaged, judging the suitability and worthiness of said fiancé.
    Many thanks again and I hope you and your family have a lovely festive season.
    Kathryn xx

    1. Haha I don’t know when I’ll stop Kathryn. It depends on whether Matt asks me to, or if I run out of things to say. Mark my words though, I will reach 50 articles if it kills me. Which it kind of already has. Regardless, I’ve come too far to not make that milestone now. Maybe I should gather my following for a party to celebrate? Keep the date free… :P

      I’ve really appreciated your lovely comments and support for my articles this year though. You’ve really made it a pleasure to read your comments (and debate you on a few issues here and there lol). Hopefully I can keep writing so you have reasons to get out of bed.

      Have the best holiday season :)

      Steve xx

  • Thank you for the great article, Stephen! I was just talking to my colleague ( and new mentor!! :) ) about this, earlier today! Discussed a proposal for a new clinic, and we should do some initial research and prep work for this over the next few weeks even though we will have a preliminary discussion about the proposal in January. We were also talking about how she has slipped out of her healthy habits, and that she plans to work on them over the next two weeks!

    I realized this week, that I didn’t have the usual laundry list of things to start in the new year, but were continuing on goals made during and after the October Retreat! A very new feeling, and I quite like it! I feel more prepared to face the new year and am actually excited!

    Thanks once again! Wishing you Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year!
    Warmest regards,
    Shev xx

    1. I love that Shev. I feel the same. Because I took my goals very seriously this year and stuck to a handful of good routines, I feel like come January I just want to keep refining how I work and improve things by another 10%, but don’t feel like I need some enormous life-change.

      Happy Holidays to you too! All the best,

      Steve xx

  • Hi Steve,

    I just want to use this opportunity to thank you again (I already did it once :) ) for your wonderful thoughtful articles. They have a huge impact on women’s lives. I can say that since you’ve started to contribute to the blog, my life changes to the better in a much faster way than before. Your articles have already clarified so much about relationships, guys and myself. They explain in what exactly way we should work on ourselves, what is acceptable and unacceptable in relationships, to what extend we should require something from a guy and where we should rather require from ourselves. These are not easy questions and I look forward to your every article each week with impatience because they are pieces of priceless wisdom.
    Speaking about new year resolutions, it’s funny, but I never did them :) I think it’s better to keep up with our goals all year round. Somehow I don’t associate new endeavors with January 1st. I think any day of the year is good for new projects, as well as for finishing old ones. I even think that when we tend to wait for the new year to start some good things in our lives, it can suggest that we have an unbalanced attitude to life: we jump from “perfect” lifestyle to “imperfect” and back. Wouldn’t it be better to undertake small but consistent changes to our lives all the time rather jump into big projects every January?

    I wish you Steve and everyone reading this a good day and amazing year 2015,


    1. I’m really touched and thrilled to hear that Elena. That’s so kind of you to say. Thank you. Hearing that someone implemented even 1% of an article I wrote and felt inspired to take action, or felt their love lives improved is the ultimate success for me. It really makes it worthwhile, and I always hope that at least some of the articles I invade Matt’s website with prove as more than just lunchtime entertainment.

      “Wouldn’t it be better to undertake small but consistent changes to our lives all the time rather jump into big projects every January?”

      Could not agree more! I think if you’re the kind of person who always has goals and projects, you don’t feel the need to start from scratch every New Year. You just push forward and keep improving on the year before. If Jan 1st gets people to at least about their goals and plans though, that’s something I guess.

      All the best, and wish you an incredible 2015!

      Steve xx

  • “The calendar is an arbitrary set of dates. It only has the meaning you give it. “

    I love that. So true. Reality is only a perspective. We are conditioned for many things we do in life, like Pavlov’s dog. When we start hearing the jingle bells, we let everything go down until the new year.

    I am going through a very challenging time. I had to give up my dog that I had for 7 years because of some new plans and schedule (he is living with a friend of mine now who lost her dog only a month ago). On top of that, I had to deal with some ignorant people (work-vice) recently, so I am not feeling the holiday spirit too much this year. Even though I want to indulge myself in a huge mug of hot chocolate every night with a pile of marshmallows in it, I feel I should go to the gym instead, as to me exercise is the best anti-depressant, so I am leaving the hot chocolate nights to another time when I can enjoy it with someone special maybe. In the past, when I had problems I used to go out and drink. Now I go to the gym instead. It feels like re-gaining what life and stupid people have tried to steal from me- my good mood and my smile. They have to try harder. ;)

    This was such a refreshing read. I knew you wouldn’t write a cliche new year resolution article. We need to hear what we don’t want to hear to be more productive.

    Since I’ve been reading your articles, I have become more self-aware about my positive qualities. It feels good to be self-aware, but probably not a good thing for many guys, and it is okay since I have nothing to do with guys who want average women.

    Looking forward to more great articles in 2015! Maybe we should vote for your top five articles and Matt’s top five videos for 2015! :)

    Best xx

    1. Thanks so much Kiraz! I’d love to put a top five together – would be interested to see what they are.

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve found the articles have helped make positive changes in your life. I couldn’t ask for more. Glad that you’re keeping things up and breaking through the pain barrier everyday. Tiny, consistent actions. It’s as easy (and difficult) as that. :)

      Although a resolutions article won’t be coming, I’d like to do a repeat of my first ever article from January, summarizing the best lessons I learnt through the whole year, so expect that one soon (providing I learnt anything, that is!).

      Have the best Christmas and New Year. Thanks for your insightful comments, encouragement, or just making me laugh now and then ;)

      Love and best wishes,

      Steve xx

      1. Thank you for the response and thank you for the best wishes, Steve. I like to add on the discussions I join rather than just agreeing with everything. Insecure writers/people don’t like it, but I knew right from the start this is where I would be appreciated for it. When I hear/read honest, no sugar coated opinions like I do here, I am like “YES!”, which I also call *ahem*…mind-f*ck. The same feeling I was getting when I was watching True Detective obsessively.

        I am glad I made you laugh.:) It is wonder how I make jokes even when I don’t feel good. I guess I don’t take myself seriously like most people.

        I am definitely looking forward that article you will share about the best lessons you learned in 2014. I am going to think about mine too and will write them down for self-evaluation. I spent so much time for self-improvement this year, I don’t know what I am gonna do with this much awesomeness. hahaha! :-P :-P

        I wish you a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.
        Thank you for sharing your wonderful mind with your original, ever inspiring style.

        Kiraz xx

  • Hi Steve, I want to thank you for having written the whole 47 articles for us and truly hope there are many more coming!

    I’ve been a rather quiet reader, left some feedback only once or twice, but I want you to know that your words are of big impact. I’ll give you a couple of examples:

    – thanks to you I finally realized that I don’t have to please everyone and invest much emotion in them if they aren’t worth it…
    …as a consequence of which, I started to look after myself more and feel a little less stressed out in everyday life

    – what is more, I learned how important it is to communicate our standards with one another and to do it ‘the right way’

    – furthermore, I enjoyed reading your interactions some other readers – it made me feel more connected to you and the community.

    Those are just a few examples, but the list of the things that kept me coming back here every week is much longer :)

    I really like this place. It gives me some inner peace, it makes me laugh at times, makes me think things over, sometimes I disagree, sometimes I change my mind, sometimes I get really curious… It’s never boring, that’s what I’m trying to say :) Loved today’s article, by the way!

    Have the best Christmas, Steve. Sending you a virtual glass of Glühwein and a hug from here. Prost! ;)


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