Your 2016 Holiday Guide For Making the Least Amount of Use of Your Time

As renowned yogi and spiritual leader Sri Swami Satchidananda once said, “The best teachers are your own mistakes.” Regardless of your (a)religious leanings (or exercise regimen), I think we can all agree on the truth of these words.

Sometimes, however, it’s great to sidestep those mistakes by observing other people make them. Allow me to offer up some of my own hard-learned lessons in this guide to how to make sure your holiday season is absolutely terrible and more-or-less complete waste of the precious few moments we have here on good ole Earth.

1. Be as sedentary as possible

That’s right. Fill up on all of the holiday snacks. Lord knows that the holidays present a great excuse to put on a little extra weight while spending countless hours watching Laurel and Hardy films.

Don’t exercise. You’re on vacation! Treat yo-self!

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying holiday snacks in moderation, but it took me until last year to change my definition of treating myself actually means. It’s not about indulging, it’s about doing something that not only makes you feel great, but also will help improve your mental clarity and give you a jumpstart on any wellness-based New Year’s resolutions.

What I realized is that by “treating” myself with snacks and couch time, I was actually doing the opposite. I would become less energetic and less happy. Who chooses that, honestly?

Lesson learned: I can either take simple measures toward get healthier (little by little) each day, or I can do nothing and let the opposite take place.

2. Beat yourself up over everything you failed to accomplish this year

If you’re interested in adding an extra layer depressive thoughts to the holiday season, few things work as well as recounting all of the things you could have done this year — but didn’t.

Doing things is hard. Really hard. When faced with progress or retreating into past habits, the Ego is great at lulling us back into complacency.

Making positive changes can be fiercely addictive. Take one step forward and another is likely to follow. And all that time you spend ruminating on what could have been can be spent actually doing the things you say you’re passionate about.

Lesson learned: Good decisions, just like bad ones, attract similar company.

3. Try to figure out how to buy things you can’t afford and don’t need

Your relatives can be pretty bad at figuring out what you want. Either that, or what you really want is way out of their price range, so might as well figure out a way to get it, because who says you can’t buy expensive gifts for No. 1? (Again, treat yo-self.)

There are likely to be some sweet deals on that digital camera you’ve always wanted, so while the spirit of overspending and indulgence is in the air, might as well swipe that credit card to get the discount. You can always pay it off later, right? Because reason tells us that if we don’t have the money for something right now, we’ll likely have it soon even though we don’t plan on making any significant money-saving changes in the near future.

Lesson learned: Do I deserve a new pair of sneakers, iPad, legacy gold special edition DVD box set or that high-end camera lens, or do I deserve a little financial breathing room?

4. Give presents, not presence

What your family and friends want more than anything is another gift card or generic gift. Truly. Because cash and things are the most important part of our lives — our consumables are an extension of the Self.

Maybe instead of diluting this opportunity to connect with the people you say you care about the most, sit down and actually listen to your 92-year-old grandmother when she starts “rambling.” She probably knows a thing or two that could transform your life.

Lesson learned: Gifts can be meaningful, so why not seize the opportunity and make those around feel loved by getting (or making) them something that shows you’ve given it more than say two seconds of thought while you sized up the discount price?

5. Get wasted!

Because what says holiday cheer more than drinking yourself into dehydration?

Most of the poor decisions I’ve ever made have had something to do with alcohol. Don’t be that guy/gal. Have fun, but be responsible.

Lesson learned: Determine if your activities are getting you closer to your goals. Remove the dead weight and push forward.

6. Look for things to get angry about

Hate-reading Facebook seems to be the new American pastime. It’s amazing. At any moment, you can scan your “friends” statuses and think up the worst possible meaning behind each. Let your fingers give a great comment lashing. Sit high in your chair of self-righteousness. That little jab at the end there really got your point across — you’re perspective on the world is indeed the truest and most complete comprehension of reality.

Not really. It’s really simple. Look for ways to reach out to friends and offer encouragement. It feels way better than estranging everyone in your network and looking like a complete jerk.

Lesson learned: Sometimes we can be filled with righteous indignation by how ignorant people can appear online, but we can choose whether we allow that to affect our mood or not.

7. Compare yourself to others

Oh the burning frustration of others’ successes. Your old college roommate Sally got a new job? And she’s engaged? And she founded a charitable organization? WHAT A LOSER. (*Gulps Cab Sav from bottle.*)

Competing with others is a great path to misery. Instead, think about celebrating the successes of others and competing with only one person — yourself. If you best your self every day — even if only slightly — you’ll be surprised by what you can accomplish.

Not realizing the dreams you set (and talk about constantly)? Maybe you’re spending too much time being frustrated instead of honing your skills, learning more about your industry and otherwise taking action to being more YOU.

Lesson learned: The first step toward living a meaningful, fulfilling life is quitting your addiction to feeling sorry for yourself.

Well, friends. That’s all for now. Be safe. Be well. Be present.

Any tips on making the most of the holidays? Let us know in the comments section below!

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