In Episode 49 of the Wandering But Not Lost Podcast, co-hosts Matt Emerson and Jan O’Brien welcome back Loreen O’Brien to chat about the holidays and how to cope if they are getting you down.  Jan discusses how to implement a simple plan for the new year and Matt discovers the holidays and much more at Universal Studios Hollywood. 

Key Points & Takeaways



I have never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  Statistics show that about 50% of Americans don’t set resolutions in the first place and less than 10% of those who set resolutions keep them.

The main reason most resolutions don’t work is that they focus on only one area of your life – the DO level. Many of us are living life with a focus on DO-HAVE-BE.  “I will DO this thing.” (Lose weight) “So I can HAVE this other thing” (Self-Esteem) and I can BE this thing. (Confident).

Most of us are action-oriented, and evaluate ourselves by how much we are doing, producing, and achieving. We have to-do lists, goals, resolutions and lots of “shoulds.” We like to place priority on problem-solving and accomplishing tasks (do), so that we can gain some sort of outcome (have), and then be something or someone in the world.

The average New Year’s resolution doesn’t tackle the core of the issue – the “BE” level.

The best method for creating positive changes in your life is to understand and use the BE – DO – HAVE model.  When you begin changing on the BE level of your life, then the DO level and the HAVE level follow more easily.

Rather than focusing first on the action and the “Do,” start with who am I and what’s important to me, or the BE.  While it is important to create structure, accountability, and action steps, how often do we take a step back and ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing?  

You’ve got to be crystal clear about WHY you want something.  When you are setting your goals make sure to ask yourself the critical question:  Why it is important to you?  Is the goal for you?  Is it your burning desire to achieve it?  Or is it someone else’s wish for you?

How clear we are about our “why” has a huge impact on our levels of commitment, engagement, and satisfaction with the experience. 

A Definite purpose backed by a burning desire (CLARITY) + Taking the appropriate (ACTION) = Your desired (OUTCOME) 

Let us introduce a simple and effective model to take action TOWARD what you want to accomplish in the New Year while also letting go of anything that no longer serves you. It’s called START-STOP-CONTINUE.

Ask yourself and then write down the answers to these 3 questions:

  1. What would you like to START doing the year?
  2. What do you want to STOP doing?
  3. What are you going to CONTINUE doing?

Create a Start-Stop-Continue Action Plan for your business and personal life.

Download Start Stop Continue worksheet

Reach Your Peak:  Maintaining Wellness During the Holidays 

Loreen OBrienLoreen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in teaching folks Wellness Tools. She offers Telehealth Counseling and Coaching, meaning sessions are done online using a secure telehealth platform.
Loreen has over 20 years of combined experience as a therapist, clinical chaplain, and public school teacher as well as extensive training in the use of very effective wellness approaches such as EFT/Tapping, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama Breathing Techniques and more.  You can find Loreen online at her main counseling website: or at her new Free Soul Academy course platform  Start learning some free wellness tools by joining her Free Soul Academy Closed Facebook Group!


Holidays, of course, can be joyful and a lot of fun but sometimes they also can bring up feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. Here are 5 common sources of stress and reasons for feeling overwhelmed during the holidays and suggestions about what to do about it.

Grief – Most of us have lost a family member or friend who we are going to miss at holiday gatherings. It’s natural to feel sad about no longer having this loved one with us to share in the festivities. So, of course, let yourself miss them – you love them, but also choose to celebrate them during this time. Maybe start a new tradition like always including their favorite side dish as part of the holiday meal; see if someone can make that “famous potato salad” mom always made – it’s a way of honoring that loved one and keeping them a part of the holidays. Also, share funny stories and great memories of the loved one; don’t be afraid that it will create sadness, it usually lifts everyone’s spirit instead.

Loneliness – Some people cannot be with family and friends at the holidays either because they live a great distance away, they may be in the military, or they may have no family members left. The key to not drowning in loneliness is to make an effort to connect with other people in some way. And it can be simple – go check on a neighbor who may also be lonely, bring them a pie! Or go help with the holiday activities at a local nursing home; believe me, there are lots of lonely people there who could use the company. You’ll feel better and so will they.

Family Dynamics – A lot of us have strained relationships within the family, let’s face it, some are downright dysfunctional. But the holiday is no time to try to hash out these problems and potentially end up with a crisis. Instead, go to your family gathering with a mindset of “shelving differences and issues” for the time being. Practice acceptance for where each of us may be on our journey.  You can probably do that for the few days you will all be together. Use this opportunity to create good memories of family time together.

Expecting Perfection – Adopt the mantra “Good enough is good enough” and enjoy your holiday. Many of us put a great deal of pressure on ourselves that “everything must be perfect” – the immaculate house, all dinner preparations done to perfection! It’s really okay if something gets a bit overcooked or you remember the cranberry sauce is still in the fridge when everyone is almost done eating. Everyone else is probably not expecting everything to be perfect and wouldn’t think it’s a big deal. Also, ask for help if you are the one handling most of the holiday event responsibilities. And don’t forget that it’s really okay if you cook a turkey but decide just to purchase a precooked ham instead of preparing that too. “Good enough is good enough.”

Ditching your Healthy Habits – (hopefully, you have some), If you usually meditate, take walks, eat normal portions of food, and only drink in moderate amounts … don’t abandon these wellness habits during the holidays. These ways of being probably help you stay centered and better able to handle stress. If you are gathering with family for a few days, find time to go take a 15 minute walk and maybe take someone with you to chat with. Find a quiet, comfy corner somewhere in the house and steal away 10 minutes to yourself to do that meditation. You’ll see that keeping as close as possible to your healthy ways makes a positive impact on coping with holiday stress.

Holidays are great opportunities to spend quality time with family and friends and form lasting positive memories. And although holiday seasons can also create some stress and the potential to feel overwhelmed, you can also limit this by choosing some of these wellness strategies.

Happy Holidays!

Wandering Zen:  The Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood

Getting Grinchy at Universal Studios - Wandering But Not Lost

There is literally no better place to get your Grinch on than Universal Studios Hollywood.  The holidays are the very best time to experience this park and you will definitely leave with your heart having grown at least 3 sizes that day!  Let’s jump into it…


If you are a fan, Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood is packed with fun for the whole family.  Here is the line-up of the festivities:

  • Great photo opportunities with the Grinch and his sidekick Max
  • Send a Grinchmas postcard promising three good deeds to the green man himself at the Who Post Office
  • Martha May Who-vier and the Who-dolls’ big holiday revue
  • Each evening beginning at 5:30 you can experience the spectacular lighting of the one-of-a-kind 65-foot Seussian tree

There are also delicious treats scattered around the area including tasty donuts, cookies, grinchy cotton candy, and even Who-Hash!

There is much more to the magic of the holidays at Universal – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is decked for the holidays with garland, wreaths, food, drink, shows, and snow!  If you think Hogsmead is great, you are going to love it during the holidays!

Beyond the holiday offerings at Universal, there is the rest of the park ready to entertain and thrill you on your visit!

Rides and Attractions




Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Hollywood

The Mummy, Universal Studios Hollywood

Transformers, Universal Studios Hollywood

Simpsons Ride, Universal Studios Hollywood

Minions Ride, Universal Studios Hollywood, CA

Grinchmas, Universal Studios Hollywood, CA

Mentioned in the Episode (Resources & Links)




Share this Episode!

Pin It on Pinterest