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For all you foodies out there, I'm unwrapping a McDonel steak, egg and cheese bagel who look at this steak and the juice running down the side, get a little bit on a wrapper here and then a fluffy egg and real cheese folded over the side, looking just so good. Mm hmm. Grilled onions on about a bagel. Two thumbs up from McDonald's steak, egg and cheese bagel for breakfast. Love it. Ba ba ba ba. At participating McDonald's.


Hey, everyone, welcome back to On Purpose the number one health podcast in the world. And I'm so excited to share this news with you as of the 12th of December, which is when the Streamy Awards for 20/20 were held on purpose, was given the award and honor of Best Podcast of the year.


Now, I know that this year has been so difficult and so challenging in so many ways. And I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all because I hope that this podcast has supported your mental health, your wellbeing, your journey to strive towards your purpose this year. And I'm so grateful that you've stood by us as me and the team have found so many different ways to make sure we get content to you. I know sometimes the audio hasn't been perfect.


We're working on that. And it's going to be better, I promise you. And at the same time, I know that it's been such a hectic year, but we have been creating content to support you and we will continue to do that in 2021.


So let's come back a bit to where we are today. Answer this honestly. Are you excited for the holidays? I know I am.


And most years that question would be super easy to answer a big yes. But this year maybe that yes is a bit qualified. Are you excited? But maybe also feeling apprehensive or lonely? If so, you're not alone. One thing's for sure, the vast majority of us this holiday are going to be very different than the ones in the past, but it doesn't have to be different in a negative way. If there's one thing so many of us have learned in 2020, it's that challenges also bring opportunities, right?


Nothing is ever entirely bad, even if it feels like it is at the time and the holidays are no different. Today we're talking about seven things you can do to make the holiday feel special, whether you're far from loved ones or close by. And the reason I decided to do this episode is because I know a lot of you may need this, and even if you don't need it, send it to someone else who needs it. Here's number one, and it's a really practical one.


This is probably one of my favorite things to do. I did it very, very early on, make a digital photo gallery of some of your best holiday memories and share it with your family, whether you're family by birth or your family of choice. Now, this can be a digital photo album or a video slideshow, whatever you want. And there are loads of apps out there that make it really easy to do this. You just upload your images or videos and you can email or send a link to your loved ones.


Group calls are awesome. And I know a lot of you been doing that with family all year round. The thing I like about this idea, though, which you can do in addition to live video call if you want, is that you're getting to share some of those experiences from holidays past. And that's something we often don't stop to do. One of my favorite things is that it sparks storytelling. How many Christmases can you go back to? How many holidays could you go back to where you've forgotten some of your favorite memories?


And hearing people in your life tell you stories about them is such a phenomenal way to bond. Remember that? Yeah, the dog ate the Christmas pudding or the kids found the stash of holiday chocolate.


And by kids, I mean me. If it was that really good chocolate. I remember the year someone got engaged or the oven broke and everyone got takeout or the year of the blizzard when the lights went out and you sang by the fire.


Physical proximity is wonderful, but being able to be in the same room as the ones you love isn't everything. Think about it. What feels worse? Not being able to be physically close to someone you love or being in the same room with someone and yet feeling miles away again. Really think about that and ask yourself what makes me feel close to someone. It's not sharing physical space, but sharing hot space that truly makes us feel connected. Right. And sharing special memories from years past is a beautiful thing we can do to feel that connection.


Psychologist, author Aaron is best known for his work on intimacy. In a now famous study, Dr. Aaron developed 36 questions that he theorized would help to create intimacy. Then he had total strangers spend 45 minutes asking one another. The questions, the questions that. Things like would you like to be famous and if so, in what way and what would constitute a perfect day for you? After the questions, the pairs of participants spent four minutes looking into one another's eyes.


Both the questions and the eye gazing around theorized would create the kind of mutual vulnerability that would lead to deep connections. As it turns out, the method was so effective that some people who are strangers at the start of the study went on to get married.


Since the original study, the questions have been used by friends and couples to bring each other even closer. When we reflect on the times we've shared together, whether fun, exciting, joyful or challenging, we're calling on that intimacy. We're stepping into that vulnerable space of sharing and connecting and saying, you matter to me. If you want to take this holiday activity to the next level, you can send out your video of favorite holiday moments and ask your group what's one of your favorite holiday memories.


So when you share your digital photo or video gallery, it's like you're breathing some of that extra life and vitality into your family or friends circle and reminding everyone of these treasured experiences that have enriched your lives. Go do this one. Please don't skip it. It's always going to be so much fun just putting it together. Like when you're in the process, you'll be talking to your friends and family. You'll be explaining it to your spouse. You'll be telling someone else's story about it.


There's just so much goodness that can come out from this very, very simple activity.


I often feel drained after mindlessly scrolling on my phone. I'll open up my phone for a quick break and look up a half hour later, having learned nothing new and feeling numb. Sure, you can relate, but more and more I've been using that time on this app called Blankest and has totally changed my relationship with my phone. Blankies is the app for anyone who wants to transform that daily phone scrolling break into an incredible learning experience. Blankest takes the key ideas and insights from over 4000 nonfiction bestsellers in more than twenty seven categories and gathers them together in fifteen minute text and audio explainers to help you understand more about the core ideas.


It's a fantastic way to open up my mind to new authors and topics. Some of my favorites have been Insights from Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker and presents by Amy Cuddy from Purposelessness. Right now, Blankest has a special offer just for our audience. Go to Blink is dot com forward slash Jay to start your free seven day trial and get twenty five percent of a Billings premium membership. That's blankest spelled b i n k e t dot com forward slash j to get twenty five percent off and a seven day free trial blankest dot com forward slash J.


Even if the holidays look different this year, it doesn't mean you have to miss out on one of the best parts of the season. The music. I always wait till December 1st to turn it on, but then once it's on, it's on all day. This holiday season, my wife and I have gotten the spirit by playing one of the many holiday music playlists from Amazon. Music on repeat. In our home we are big fans of the softer classical playlist like The Nutcracker Suite and more that a peaceful and make a home for festive.


I think everybody's heard me say, Alexa, play The Nutcracker more times than I can count this last month. And I couldn't think of a cozier soundtrack for our home this season. Listen. At home or wherever you are, your holidays will be Mario with fun and festive tunes. Remember, for a limited time, new subscribers can get three months of Amazon Music Unlimited for free. Go to forward slash on purpose. That's forward slash on purpose to get your first three months of Amazon music free.


OK, here's number two, and this applies probably more for those of you who will be together in person, though, it could also apply if you're doing online group conversations. We know that when it's people, especially families, get together, it can sometimes be charged.


There are lots of issues where people have different opinions.


Maybe something was said or there was an incident that happened where two people are now at odds. Tip number two is that if you've got a situation like that and you need to have an uncomfortable conversation with someone about a disagreement or an incident, do it in private one on one, not at the dinner table, not in front of the whole group. There are a couple of reasons for that. One of which is that it can make other people feel uncomfortable or feel like they're supposed to take sides and that doesn't help the situation and it could just escalate it.


But the biggest reason is that when we're put on the spot in front of a group, we're far more likely to get defensive. Have you ever been in a situation where someone called you out on something in front of others, how did that make you feel? Our first instinct when we feel attacked is to try and shut the conversation down or to defend ourselves. Leadership coach Rosily Punin, who specializes in what she calls courageous communication, writes in the Huffington Post that when we have difficult conversations, it's important to cut out all distractions so we can be fully present.


And it's hard to do that in front of a group. It's tough to stay calm and give the conversation our full attention and when others who aren't involved are present, and that makes it less likely that you'll arrive at the kind of conclusion or resolution you're looking for in the first place. So if you need to have a serious talk with someone, don't do it at the group holiday gathering. Set up a separate time for that when you can do it privately, talk about it on text message before so you can make sure you do this so you don't turn up on the day already feeling like you're ready to go.


Here's the third way to make the holiday special. Have a gratitude circle. Again, this can be in person or in a group call and it can be with friends or family. Now, Gratitude Circle isn't just going around in a circle and everyone's saying something they're grateful for, though. That's an awesome thing to do as well. The kind of gratitude circle I'm talking about goes a little deeper than that. In fact, it really plays in again to that research author Aaron did around the questions that help us develop intimacy in this gratitude circle.


You're going to share a high and low point of this year. Those may be different things or they may be related like a problem. And how you met it or solved it, like your greatest challenge might have been managing working at home with your partner and maybe your kids are home on top of it and they need to be home schooled. And that might also be your greatest success, figuring out ways to do that so that people are feeling at least some kind of balance.


Maybe it's not perfect, but you've figured out a way to manage it, or they can be unrelated.


Maybe the low was losing your job, but I was getting married or celebrating a milestone birthday or finally signing up for those singing lessons you've been wanting to take by sharing our lows. And not just our highs were normalizing struggle. And in a world where we all feel so much pressure to do everything right and to make it look easy while we're doing it, it's super important. We need to acknowledge when things are hard. Oh, and you don't have to call our gratitude circle.


You can call it something much cooler than that or something that your family will vibe with.


OK, here's number four.


Now, I know a lot of us are not going to be able to take part in some of our favorite traditions this year. Maybe you won't get to eat the special cinnamon rolls your mom makes special for you on the holidays. Fresh out the oven. One of my friends is bummed because in her town, one of her friends hosts a huge community potluck on Christmas and it's, of course, canceled this year. Maybe you love going to a religious or spiritual service every year and that's canceled, but you can be festive in a small group or even on your own.


Maybe it's not a typical activity you do every year or the way you normally do it, but you don't have to let the festive spirit pass you by. If you love Christmas caroling, you can still do that. All year they've been groups of musicians who had to cancel their live shows, who've gone online, or he went out serenading people on their front lawns. I know someone whose family is spread across the country and for American Thanksgiving, they picked an easy to make dish that they all love, that they normally ate together.


They each made it. Then they got on a Zoome call and ate and talked together. Or you can do a mini party with your quarantine pod. If you've got one even on your own, you can celebrate, decorate a little tree or a big one. What's your favorite movies? Make cards, light candles, do something special. There's a great quote from Joseph Campbell, who is the originator of the idea of the hero's journey, the author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces.


He said, Find a place inside where there's joy and the joy will burn out. The pain, joy and pain often go together and it's OK to find ways to celebrate even in the midst of struggle.


And I'd say it's actually the most important time to find ways to celebrate feeling your best.


Physically, you should always pair with feeling your best mentally. That's why I'm really excited to share Neum with you on Numazu Health and Wellness program that is made to adjust to your lifestyle and teach you the psychology behind feeling the absolute best. This year I've really worked to understand my own stress patterns and how they manifest in my body. New meds offered me daily lessons to help me recognize that certain things I eat or a bad night's sleep can truly affect both my body and mind.


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Remember, you don't need an excuse to celebrate and you also don't need an excuse to practice health care, but this holiday season may be giving you one. And that's number five for how to make this holiday special. If you've got to spend some of your found time on yourself, you probably aren't doing any travel. You might normally do this over the holiday. And this is the year to make sure you do that so you can be set up for next year.


According to triple A last in the US set a holiday record for travel between December 21st and January 1st with, get this, one hundred fifteen point six million people hitting the roads and the skies. No wonder the lines at the airport were so long and the traffic was so bad, but not this year. Most of us are staying at home and that means lots of us also have more time than we often do during the holidays.


Not only that, but forget about office, holiday parties, friends, holiday parties, big family gatherings and all that. Right. The holidays are awesome, of course, but sometimes it feels like a marathon to get through to the end of the year because you've got so many expectations and demands on our time. In 2017, Randstad did a survey asking whether people would rather have a bonus extra vacation time or go to a company body. You can probably guess how that turned out.


Most people chose the extra money or vacation time, but guess what percentage was it? A, 55 percent. B, 78 percent. C, 90 percent.


How many people said they'd rather have a bonus or more vacation time than to go to their office holiday party?


If you guessed a 55 percent, you're wrong. It's C, 90 percent. The point is that most of us are off the hook this year for at least one or two activities, maybe more, some of which we don't love in the first place. And I'm suggesting that you use at least some of that phone time for self care, get some rest, take that long, luxurious bath or that long run you've been daydreaming about. Come up with that movie idea, play those extra few sets of tennis, you know, give a gift yourself and do something you don't normally have the time or energy to do.


And maybe you can make that self care something that's a new tradition. Like I have these two friends, you're a cowboy. And every year they make sure they get two hours of quiet time somewhere in the holidays to watch the movie Serendipity together. If you don't know that movie, it's a romantic comedy and it's also kind of a holiday themed. And they just enjoy doing that together and having that day every year. It's part of their self care as a couple and it's a holiday tradition.


Traditions don't have to be fancy. They don't have to look a certain way. And now's a great time to try something new. And that's why number six, to make the holiday special experiment with some new traditions. These can be a tradition you have as a couple, or you can do it as a friends or a small group with your kids, or it can just be something special that you do yourself. Entrepreneur Jessie Etzler wrote the book Living with a SEAL that's Navy SEAL, not the sea anymore and living with the Monks.


I'm, of course, partial to that one.


Anyway, Jesse has a tradition he does in the holidays that he calls closing the books. He goes into his office at home by himself and spend some quiet time reflecting on the year and what he accomplished on what went well and what didn't go so well. And he sets an intention for the following year. He also writes out his family's year and checks to charities they support. Incidentally, he's married to Spanx founder and philanthropist Sara Blakely. I love that tradition of closing the books because there's a lot of depth and meaning to it.


But traditions can be silly or ridiculous, too, like doing an ice plunge in a lake with a friend. Incidentally, that's what Jesse did the whole day when Navy SEAL David Gauguin's was living with him for a month after he closed the books, Goggins had Itzler run down to the hill in the freezing lake and dive in with him. And having met David Goggins, I've got to tell you, I'm not the least bit surprised by that. Anyway, that's a great Segway to number seven, which is to think a bit ahead to the end of the year.


Are you thinking about making any resolutions this year? Brick language learning took a little tour of popular New Year's resolutions around the world in 2018. What do you think the number one resolution in China was? Was it lose weight, spend time with family or quit smoking? The answer is B and technically it was phrased become more family oriented about a lot of us are thinking about that this year when so many of us have been separated from family. OK, how about Japan?


Was the most popular resolution there, A, save more money. B, learn a new language. See, read more. If you chose a, save more money, that's a good choice. But you're wrong. It was C read more.


I get that. I love to read. I'm sure lots of you would like more time to read. To write. And how about Brazil. What was the most popular resolution. A lose weight. B fall in love. C stop smoking. If you guessed I lose weight. You're right though. I was kind of hoping it was fall in love. That's a great one. As for the US, getting healthy, exercising more and eating better was number one, though that sounds like three resolutions to me.


And maybe that's why so many of us have trouble keeping our resolutions. We bite off more than we can chew, so to speak. Interestingly, according to data from Finde, at this time last year in America, sixty eight point five percent of men and sixty one point five percent of women surveyed plan to make a New Year's resolution. And so-called resolute is very dramatically by age. While just under half of boomers plan to make a resolution, a whopping eighty six point nine percent of millennials surveyed plan to make at least one resolution, and more than half said that focus on one or more money related goals.


Boomers and Gen Xers were more likely to focus on fitness and self-improvement. That all sounds great.


So I say y way, if there's something you know you want to change, why not start now by test driving your New Year's resolution? And here's why. I know a lot of us have really struggled with 20/20. And I get it to say it's been full of challenges for most of us is an understatement. But it's not the year's fault. Right?


I mean, I've seen some really hilarious 20/20 memes, like the one that says if 20/20 was an avocado and it's a picture of avocado where like 90 percent of it is a giant. Sometimes when things are this hard, we just need to be able to laugh. And that's great. And at the same time, don't fall into the trap of expecting a new date and a new year to change everything. You can throw out your 20/20 calendar or burn it.


And I know loads of you just can't wait to do that. But nothing's really going to change until we really focus on the growth we need to make. So why wait for 2020 to end? You have the power to start the change right now. It will also help you in 2020 on a high note. And doesn't that sound a lot better than just waiting for days to tick by so she can be done with this year and 2020 with setting up yourself for that resolution?


And here's one resolution that I think is really powerful for us all deserve more this holiday season. For us all to be more kind and generous this holiday season, how can we support a charity, support someone in need, support the homeless, support children who don't have access to food or water, supporting our friends or family serving can be a beautiful way to end the year. So those are seven ways to make this holiday season special. I know it probably won't be what you're used to, but let's make the best of it by shaking things up and trying something new, along with revisiting some of our favorite old memories from years past.


And let me know how it goes. I'd love to hear your new traditions. Tell me on Instagram, which one are you going to try out of? One to seven. I can't wait to see those posts. Thank you so much for listening to On Purpose, and I'll see you again next week. Thank you.


This podcast was produced by Dust Light Productions, our executive producer from Dusk Light is Mischa Yousef. Our senior producer is Juliana Bradley. Our associate producer is Jacqueline Castillo. Valentino Rivera is our engineer. Our music is from Blue Dot Sessions and special thanks to Rachel Garcia, the dust like development and operations coordinator.