Finding serenity during the holidays can be a challenge! I have been sharing daily tips, strategies, and resources you can use to adjust your direction and return to a state of inner peace.

If you haven’t joined the 30-Day Serenity Challenge, it’s not too late! When you opt-in using the link below, you’ll receive the first email in the series and a new email (each day for the next 30 days) full of tips, strategies, and resources.

Serenity is a choice. This is the only moment that exists and, in this moment, I can choose serenity! Click To Tweet

Today, I’d like to focus on the top six things that prevent us from experiencing the level of peace and focus we desire, and what you can do instead.

If you think back over the last day, or maybe just the last five minutes, you can probably think of lots of things that upset, frustrated, worried or scared you, but I’m only going to focus on the top six, give some examples, and suggest things you can do instead.

Time clocks

Obstacle #1:  Over-Committing – Taking on that one “little” project at work because your boss/co-worker just can’t get to it and you “are so good at those kinds of things,” deciding to check Facebook “really quick” before you [insert appointment/obligation here] and emerging two hours later wondering where the time went, spending $75 on items from your friend’s Pampered Chef party when your budget is already at its limit. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. And this all stems from our inability to say, “no” and mean it. It may occur because we don’t want to offend or hurt someone else’s feelings, we’re afraid to say “no” because of what others will think of us, and we place our own needs after everyone else’s.

Obstacle #2: Unforgiveness – You know… it’s that thing that [insert offender’s name here] did days, weeks, months, or years ago that still bugs you. And every time something reminds you of it, you can feel the emotions rushing back as if you were right there and it was happening all over again. It’s basically us telling ourselves, “I’m going to remember this and not let it go because, if I did, someone might do that to me again and I’m not going to let that happen. So, instead, I’m going to remember it and hang on to it and relive it over and over again” like a punishment for letting it happen in the first place!

Obstacle #3: Worry – What are some of the things that worry you? Your kids? The bills? The economy? Your parents? Your spouse or significant other? Worry comes from allowing your mind to focus on actual or potential problems.


Obstacle #4: Fear – What if I don’t wake up on time, what if I have an accident, what if I lose my job, what if I get cancer, and so on.  As women, we often feel we need to be prepared for ANYTHING! We have to have a back-up plan, and a back-up plan for our back-up plan… just in case something goes wrong.

Obstacle #5: Shame – Do you feel guilty or ashamed about anything in your past or present like smoking, drinking, over-eating, being overweight, gossiping about someone, cheating on a test, being unfaithful, being abused, being poor, or something else? Shame is our way of punishing ourselves for what we perceive to be wrong or foolish behavior.

Obstacle #6: Regret – Any time you start a sentence (or a thought) with the words, “I should have…” “If only I would have…” “I shouldn’t have…” “I wish…” you are expressing regret for something you wish you had done differently. So that’s, in essence, judging yourself for actions or behaviors in the past based on knowledge you didn’t have at the time, because the information you know today, you didn’t know at that time.

So now that we’ve identified the 6 Obstacles to Serenity, are you ready to find out what to do instead?


Do This Instead


Give yourself permission to say “No” and mean it.  

When you do, you will notice that resentment subsides, you’ll be less exhausted and able to be more present for the things you do say “yes” to, and you’ll be able to actually enjoy more of the things you’re doing.

Yes, saying “no” will be difficult at first. People won’t be expecting it and, as with any change, it will take some time for them to adjust. Don’t let other people’s reactions deter you. There are many kind ways to say “no” like:

  • “I’m so flattered you thought of me, but I have other commitments.”
  • “I’d really love to but I already accepted another…”


Find a way to forgive and let it go.

What exactly does that mean?Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. …Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses.

And you don’t necessarily have to forgive the other person – especially if you were a victim of violence! In those cases, it’s often more beneficial to forgive yourself.

“Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”


Change your focus! Because worry stems from what you allow your mind to focus on, by becoming aware of the thoughts that are running around in your head and making a conscious, deliberate decision to focus on the things you can control, with practice, you will begin to develop more inner peace.


Be present! Focus on the here and now because this moment is the only moment that exists. The past is over. The future hasn’t yet arrived. There is only this present moment, and you get to choose how to feel in this moment. Choose peace!


Choose to begin making better choices, starting today! Although you can’t change the past, you have the opportunity to change your story by making amends for the past and making better choices going forward.


Look for the lessons. Although you can’t change or fix what happened in the past, you can learn from it. And there is always value in learning. We are all learning something.

Forgive yourself. You are human and all humans make mistakes. Life didn’t come with a How-To Manual. Much of what we know is learned through trial and error. So forgive yourself.

Take action to move forward. Rather than staying stuck in shame and regret, consider what options are open to you right now that will move your life in a positive direction.

Here are some additional resources to help you continue this journey toward greater serenity.

I always love getting your questions and comments because they let me know what you value most and other things I can do to better meet your needs. Please take a moment to leave a comment, share what you found most interesting, or ask a question. I read every comment that we receive!

Blissful love,


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