Tag Archives: new years

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members Around the Holidays

The original version of this article was published here.

Even though we often associate Christmas with a time of gathering with family and friends in a state of harmony and giving, we all know that’s not always the case.

Sure, we experience joy and love in the process of giving gifts and spending time with our loved ones, but it’s not always peaches and cream. There are challenges, conflicts, and arguments. These conflicts can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and make the holiday less enjoyable than we want it to be.

But there are things that we can do. There are 4 simple mindset shifts can help turn a potential challenging holiday into an enjoyable one. Here are four tips to remember during this holiday season to make yours a better one.

#1 – Accept others as they are.

People are going to do what they want to do when they want to do it. It’s not our responsibility to do it for them. Everyone is their own unique individual with their own personal power and responsibility for their own lives. If we try to push or control others in some way, then we are only going to cause more conflict not only for them, but also for ourselves.

So if you don’t necessarily like something that another family member is doing, then it’s okay to say so casually and calmly but then leave it at that. Let them take care of it and make their own choices for themselves.

You are also not going to change someone else’s personality or way of doing things – they have to do that for themselves when and if they want to. You can voice your preferences, but let go of the need to control or force anything because if you do you are crossing over into the other person’s personal boundaries. Everything will happen in the way it is meant to happen. Trust that.


Click to Tweet: Let go and trust that others will learn and grow in their own way on their own time. via @jenilyn8705

#2 – Set your own personal boundaries.

If someone is asking you to do something that you don’t want to do, then tell them. If there is something that you would like to do, then be clear about telling them. Be clear about what you want and try to avoid falling into the whole “Oh just do whatever you want to do” response. Be assertive and clear about your own personal preferences.

That being said, also be aware of what you want to deal with and what you don’t want to deal with. For instance, if a family member brings up some topic to discuss that you don’t feel comfortable with then say so. Focus inward and take note of how you feel. Be true to that and voice that so others know.

#3 – Try to avoid the political or religious debate.

More often than not, when a political or religious discussion arises around the holiday table it ends up causing an argument or, at least, get fairly heated.  I’d recommend to try to steer clear of these types of discussions. If they come up, we can try to defuse them by changing the subject.  If other people bring up the religious or political debate, it may just be easier to go into the other room and find something else to do.

Most of the time, these discussions aren’t very proactive – meaning, it doesn’t really change or impact anything. It just ruffles people’s feathers. So try to focus discussions more on “catching up” and discussing experiences.

#4 – Take time for yourself.

Even though Christmas and New Years are very “extraverted” kind of holidays where there is a lot of giving gifts and dinner parties, this is actually a very good time to reflect over the past year and reconnect to spirit.

So get out a journal and reflect over your experiences.  Write out a list of new year’s resolutions. Sit down and read some of your favorite Christmas stories.  Watch some of your favorite Christmas movies.  Find ways to reflect and to really tap into that Christmas spirit in whatever way works for you.

Allowing yourself the time and space to look within and connect can really help turn a stressful and challenging Christmas into a truly magical one.

What are some of your biggest challenges this holiday season? What are some concepts that you feel that you really need to remember during this time? What helps you really connect and get into the Christmas spirit?

How to Create More Effective New Years Resolutions

With the new year just around the corner, many of us are setting our New Years Resolutions.  At the same time, there are many of us that may be reflecting on our past year’s resolutions.  I, for one, am one of those.

At the beginning of 2014, I wrote a list of 28 Things I Want to Do Before 28 (since my birthday is a few days after New Years).  This past year I did eat more greens, get shabu shabu in the US, go wine tasting in the Napa Valley, get a new macbook, get my life more organized, visit LA, create more guided meditations, and get published on the Huffington Post.

Although I did achieve these things, many of the things on this list didn’t happen.  As a result, I when looking through this list I found my inner critic creeping in and saying things like “Oh you’re such a failure”, which then caused me to shut down a bit.

But then I found myself roaming around my old room and I came across a New Years Resolutions list for 2004.  Back this list was a bit different. Yes, I still wrote down lists with goals I wanted to achieve like “Be on the Quill and Scroll Honor Society before graduation”, but these things were never a part of my New Years Resolutions.  Rather they were on my list of general “goals” with this attitude of “If I get there, great.  If not, then it was only just an idea after all.”

And so, for my official New Years Resolutions for 2004 I wrote down simpler things like “Be more optimistic” and “Take a lot more pictures”.

And you know the funny thing about this list of my 2004 New Years Resolutions?  I remember that when I looked at them by the end of the year I realized that I had achieved every single one!  My method of writing simple New Years Resolutions totally worked for me — and this has now lead me to writing my New Years Resolutions this year the same way as I did back then.

So here are some 3 tips to follow in creating more effective New Years Resolutions:

Ask yourself: “How would I like to grow and become better?”

So overall, how would you like to become better this coming year compared to this last year?  Would you like to be more optimistic?  Would you like to become better at forgiving and releasing bitter resentments?  Would you like to express yourself more in front of certain people?  Would you like to become better at processing your emotions rather than repressing them?  Would you like to become more emotionally aware?

Ask yourself: “What is something that I’d like to do that I haven’t been doing (or do more of)?”

So have you always wanted to learn how to paint but you have never done it?  Have you been thinking about starting to write a book but you’ve been putting it off for a long time?  Have you been exercising but you feel like it’d be a good idea to start doing it more?  Would you like to start running or doing yoga?  Would you like to start traveling more — or, at least, start making plans to travel more?

Keep the list short!

The problem with New Years Resolutions is that we may make list of 10, 20 or maybe even 30 things that we’d like to do.  This is so much more overwhelming and it makes it so much less likely that you’ll actually get around to achieving all of them.  Plus, when the list is short, it is so much easier to remember all of them throughout the year.  It’s easier to keep a running list in your mind of things you want to do throughout the year.

So keep your lists limited to about 8 resolutions max.  The less the better!


Click to Tweet: When it comes to writing New Years Resolutions, the shorter and simpler the list, the better it is! via @jenilyn8705

Based on my own guidelines, here’s my own New Years Resolutions for this upcoming year:

1.  Have a regular yoga practice.
2.  Write a book.
3.  Be nourished through food.
4.  Dedicate more time and energy to meditation and prayer.

Take action now!

Based on the tips that I had shared above, create a list of New Years Resolutions for this coming year.  Then in the comments below, list at least one of your New Years Resolutions.

28 Things I Want To Do Before 28

 With 2014 starting I also have another momentous event – my 27th birthday.

Image courtesy of tiverylucky / Freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of tiverylucky / Freedigitalphotos.net

Since I have already been reflecting on 2013 and creating goals and visions for 2014, I’m finding it important to also create a list of things I want to do before I turn 28. I have always envisioned myself as feeling pretty solid by the time I’m 28 and to really have a solid foundation established and things accomplished (partially because I’m taking the whole “10 years since High School” into consideration).

As a result, I’m creating a list of “28 Things I Want To Do Before 28”. And I’m sharing it with all of you because I know from experience that when we share our goals with the world, we are much more likely to really commit and make it happen.

Now, you will notice that some of these are very simple. The reason I made some of them so simple because 1. They are easy to do – meaning, that life is less likely to cause a delay and 2. It’s important to really enjoy the simple things in life. I love to find joy in the little things so I’m going to be sure to make note

1) Launch my first online program, I ♥ Me. After a lot of indecisiveness, I’ve finally sat down and decided on what topic I want my very first online program and community to be focused on: Self-care. I have a few meditations already made and a curriculum set in place – just a matter of making it all become a reality! I’m hoping to get it ready for the first launch around late February or March.  If you’re interested to be one of the first to receive updates on the list, you can sign up for e-mail notifications here.

2) Run a 5K race. I actually signed up to do this in November 2013, but the race date was moved to February. So in February I’ll be doing the Run Or Dye 5K in San Francisco! Super excited!

3) Work up to the point of running a 10K. In the second half of 2013, I started the couch to 5K program and I feel like I’m ready to take it to the next level. So starting in January I’m going to start cranking it up a notch.

4) Run across the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve thought of doing this for a few months now and in 2014 I’m going to do it! The Golden Gate is 1.77 miles long one way. Super excited to see the view while going across… I might just end up walking back just so I can really take in the beauty. 🙂

5) Go wine tasting in the Napa Valley. I’ve been in the area and driven passed the vineyards but I have yet to actually stop and check them out. This year is definitely the time to do that.

6) Go out to eat some Shabu Shabu in the US! This was my absolute favorite meal while living abroad in Korea. They give you a place of beef or seafood and vegetables and you could it in a boiling pot at your table. The meal is then finished with a serving of noodles with the broth and rice. It’s so good! If you’re intrigued and want to know more about what shabu shabu is, you can learn more here.

7) Get my abs back in shape. I used to do pilates and yoga like it was my job. After all the moving and traveling I’ve experienced since 2011, it’s accurate to say that my muscle strength has gone down. So one of my goals this year is to really focus on strengthening my power house (aka abdominals). And, as a result, hopefully improve my alignment and posture again.

8) Dance more. I love to dance. In the last couple years I’ve done it less than I normally do. So my intention this year is to have little “dance breaks” through out my dance. Just finished a coaching call? Time to dance! New blog post complete? Time to dance! I’m now going to make dancing my way to celebrate the completion of a task or project.

9) Give local talks and workshops. I’m going to give my very first official talk in this second week in January. Though I’m incredibly nervous, I’m also really excited! I love teaching and I miss it so my intention is to really reach out to the public to give talks and workshops in my local, surrounding areas, and maybe even while visiting other locations.

10) Create more guided meditations. This past month I randomly sat down and created three guided meditations off the cuff with great ease. Upon sharing these meditations with a few people, I’ve gotten the sense that I really have a knack for creating guided meditations. So my goal this year is to share recorded versions of the ones I’ve already written with all of you (through my I ♥ Me program and possible also for individual purchase) as well as create even more!

11) Visit LA. I’ve always wanted to visit and now that I’m living in California it makes it much easier to visit. My hope is that this year is the year. I’m not completely sure how I can get all the details to work out, but my hope is that by having a strong will I will find a way. 🙂

12) Develop a closer relationship to spirit. I’ve been feeling a strong pull for this in the last few months of 2013. Though I have moments where I feel very close, at ease, and as if having a close relationship with spirit is so incredibly easy, I also have difficulty. My intent is to create a better routine for myself so this is easier.

13) Pray more. This goes back to the previous goal. I’ve always felt that prayer is very powerful, so my intent for this year is to put more energy into prayer and less energy into worry or stress.

14) Sit and simply meditate more often. Even though I’m the one who wrote the blog Why I Don’t Meditate (And Things To Do Instead), I do actually find benefits in meditating – it may just not necessarily be in the same ways that others do. So my goal is that in times of stress and worry, to just sit and do a short guided meditation to help release whatever I need to. I’ve had several great moments this past November and December to confirm to me that this is something worth putting more energy into.

15) Create something every day. I have a lot of ideas – almost to the point that it’s overwhelming at times. As a result, I feel that its very important for me to make sure that these ideas come out some how and in some way so they can later be developed into bigger things. So my focus this year is to create at least one thing every day – big or small. As long as it’s something that is going to help me move forward.

16) Be more consciously aware of when I’m “pushing” myself too hard. One of the troubles I’ve had this year is that I push myself to do X, Y, Z but then I push myself so hard while doing those things that I’m drained and I find myself wanting to veg out in front of the TV. My goal is to create with a greater sense of ease. To create as if I’m a little child during playtime rather than stressing myself out to make a deadline that’s truly more flexible than I often perceive it to be.

17) Get a new Macbook. In 2014, my macbook will be turning 7 years old (yep she’s a strong one!). Though I’ll be sad to move on (since this is the very first laptop I bought for myself), I feel like it’s time to update.

18) Do the things that I strongly desire to do, but scare me the most. Through experience I’ve realized that often the things that terrify me the most also make me the most excited, so I feel that’s a sure sign that it’s something I really should be doing. So my goal this year is to really break through those fears and just do exactly what my heart is pulling me to do – no matter how terrifying it is.

19) Try to make as many mistakes as possible so I can learn how to do it right. By the time I am 28, my inner desire is to feel solid and grounded. I basically want to make all the mistakes I need to make in terms of blogging, giving talks and workshops, and so on this year so then I have more of the “ropes” figured out so I can really move forward.

20) Eat more greens. I’ve been gluten and dairy free this year (mostly), but one of the things I know I really need to eat more of more consistently is greens. I typically do good for a while and then I go back to not eating them much. So my goal this year is to really get a lot more greens in my system.

21) Make my very first homemade (gluten-free) perogies. In case you haven’t realized it my looking at my last name, I have a polish heritage. Perogies are polish dumplings. If you’re curious as to what perogies are, you can learn more about them here.  I have yet to ever make my own homemade perogies so this year I really want to try making some.

22) Create a workshop and online course on releasing negativity (both personally and relationally) or establishing boundaries. One of these I’m definitely going to do because I know a lot about them from experience. It’s just a matter of making it. If you have a personal preference on which you would like to me to create first, then feel free to message me and let me know!

23) Paint at least once a month. Near the end of 2013, painted my first watercolor painting in nearly a year. To my surprised, I still do remember a lot! So my goal is to really start painting again more often.

24) Get my life more organized. You know, I’m great with coming up with ideas, discussing philosophies or theories and so on but I’m not so great on the whole detail oriented part. Yeah I keep my apartment pretty clean and everything but in the midst of all my creative juices flowing this past year, I struggled a lot with really planning and implementing my true desires. So my hope is to really get certain personal things organized and implemented by the time I’m 28.

25) Create a solid morning routine. I want to create a solid self-care routine that I do every morning before I even eat breakfast or start any work. Just something to be sure that I’m starting off with each day with an intention.

26) Pay more attention to my dreams. I’ve been keeping a dream journal for nearly every night for the last two years. When I started out I really focused on paying attention to them to catch any little details that might pop up in my dreams but I haven’t been doing it lately. So this year I want to give my dreams more attention and see what emerges.

27) Get a Reiki session for my birthday. I got it booked for my 27th already – a Reiki session! I got one back when I was living in Korea and I haven’t gotten an individual one since then. I might even start making this an annual “birthday present for myself” thing.

28) Strive to see the beauty in everything. I’ve decided that my word for this year is “beautiful”, so my intention for this year is to see the beauty in everything – the good and the bad – and to really enjoy, love and appreciate what is through really seeing the beauty that is life.

Plus one bonus: Be published on the Huffington Post.  I’m making this a bonus because if it happens, fantastic.  If it doesn’t, then I’m not going to fret too much.  It’s something I’d like to have happen but there are definitely many other writing opportunities out there.


What are your intentions for this New Year? Any goals? New Years Resolutions? Anything that you want to do before your next birthday? Share below!