4 Steps to Finish the Year Strong and Avoid the Year-End and Holiday Frenzy (plus a list of 25 ideas to jump start your plan)

4 Steps to Finish the Year Strong and Avoid the Year-End and Holiday Frenzy (plus a list of 25 ideas to jump start your plan)

It’s already October and we’re quickly coming to the end of the year and into the holiday season.  How does the year typically end for you?  Peace and accomplishment or chaos and stress?

This post provides 4 steps to finish the year strong and avoid the year-end and holiday frenzy.

Read to the end for 25 ideas to jump-start your planning.

Do you let your life veer out of control in the last few months of the year – your health routine falls away, your budget busts at the seams, and you dread the high expectations and stress brought on by all the family events?  Do you ever feel like you’re rushing from one event to the next, in a constant frenzy and you can’t even remember what happened between Halloween and New Years Eve?

Make a plan now to avoid the holiday and year-end chaos.

Tackle the last three months of the year with a deliberate plan instead of letting the schedule veer out of control, and stress and anxiety set in (not to mention how many tubs of ice cream and bottles of wine are required to manage through it all).

Plan Ahead

4 steps to finish the year strong and avoid the year-end and holiday frenzy

  1. Plan out your calendar for the rest of the year. First, put in all the non-negotiable parties, the school activities, and the family gatherings.  Then, carefully plot out other activities and traditions you want to accomplish.  Here are a few tips:
    • Don’t forget a few date nights
    • Set aside time for your own personal goals, and some sanity
      • Examples: holiday drinks/pedicures with friends, a massage, time to plan out what you want to accomplish the rest of the year).
      • Here’s a blog post I wrote earlier this year about 12-week goal setting where I included a free worksheet you can use to set your goals for the last 12 weeks of the year.
    • Try 1 or 2 new traditions
    • Plan something fun around those tasks that seem overwhelming like decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Shift these from just another item on your own to-do list, to events that involve the whole family.  I know in the past, I have avoided having the kids participate in decorating because I was worried they’d break something or just because I could do it faster solo.  Let that go, turn on some music, and make it a party.
  2. Plan out your budget. Research shows that one of the most stressful aspects of the holiday is money. Get control of this before the holiday roller coaster starts.  Write out everything you need to buy, and the estimated cost for each.  Here are a few tips:
    • Brainstorm everything you need to buy, ranging from Halloween costumes to holiday cards to stamps to party supplies
    • Put this all in your budget tool or a simple spreadsheet
    • Quickly assign costs to each item and make sure it all fits into your budget. If it doesn’t, adjust the plan.
  3. Start collecting gift ideas early. I have a few friends who are almost finished with their holiday shopping.  Are you someone who shops early or waits until Black Friday to start, like me?
    • I watch for ideas on Amazon and save them to a private wish list so that I can pull them up on Black Friday and get a better price (hopefully).
    • I try to look for gifts online 15-20 minutes a day so that it’s all spread out and not as much pressure.
  4. Decide in advance what healthy habits you want to continue. A few tips:
    • Write out what is truly non-negotiable (and realistic).
      • What are you planning to eat? Continue your meal plans and pick a strategy for handling all the holiday food and drinks.
      • Is your goal to go to the gym 5 days a week for a 45-minute workout? Or, maybe your goal is to drink 80 oz of water a day and complete a workout DVD 3 times a week?
      • Whatever the goals, write them down and stick 4 steps to finish the year strong and avoid the year-end and holiday frenzyto it. Make yourself a habit tracker (e.g. simple marks on a paper calendar or an app like Way of Life or HabitShare



Now that we have the core plan started, here are 25 ideas to jump-start the rest of your year-end plan.  Many of these are pinned to my Halloween and Fall Pinterest board if you want the details.

Family Activities

  • Visit a pumpkin patch
  • Go to a harvest festival
  • Carve or paint pumpkins (we’re going to avoid those pumpkin scalpels this year, they scare me!)
    • 4 steps to finish the year strong and avoid the year-end and holiday frenzyThis is a fun idea, to paint the pumpkin black and then affix glow in the dark ghosts to it.
    • Do you think a two-year-old is too big for one of those cute photos inside a pumpkin?  Don’t forget to take that cute photo if your baby is still small.
  • Rake leaves and jump in the piles (my OCD really pushes back on this one but we’ll leave it on the list anyway)
  • Volunteer at a food pantry
  • Decorate the house (simple for Halloween and Thanksgiving, all out for Christmas)
  • Have a movie popcorn day with a favorite holiday move and make that an annual tradition. We love
  • Take Christmas cards photos
    • Hire a photographer or coordinate with a friend to swap photo taking duties
    • Try an alternative to a posed shot. A friend of mine did an indoors action shoot while the family made breakfast. The photos are so unique!
  • Go apple picking
  • Make apple cider from scratch
  • Make cinnamon or apple play dough
  • Keep a family gratitude journal

Fun with Friends

  • Host a caramel apple-making party4 steps to finish the year strong and avoid the year-end and holiday frenzy
  • Grab a pumpkin spice latte with a friend
  • Make a plan for pre-trick-or-treating
    • Take costume photos before Halloween so it’s not so hectic and the lighting is better.
    • It’s always fun to have a pre-trick-or-treating dinner with friends.
    • Create some ghouly food for an early pre-trick-or-treating dinner.  (I’ve saved a lot of recipes on Pinterest for you).
  • Trick-or-treat (obviously)
  • Help with the classroom Halloween party
  • If you’re hosting, invite a friend or family who doesn’t have plans for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Remake your grandparent’s favorite dishes (mine are a green jello salad from my paternal grandmother and an asparagus casserole from my maternal grandmother.)

Crush Your Own Goals

  • Make sure you don’t lose sight of what you want to accomplish in the remaining part of the year.  Write out a detailed description/visualization of the end of the year.
    • What do you feel like, what goals have you accomplished, who is surrounding you and what are they saying, what are you wearing, what are you saying?
    • Put all the detail into your vision description.
    • Review it each morning.
  • Don’t forget to fill out the 12 Week Goal Designer worksheet I made for you.
  • Review your goals every Sunday and set your plans for the week. Finish the year strong, there is still a lot of time left to get into action and make progress toward whatever you want to accomplish.

4 steps to finish the year strong and avoid the year-end and holiday frenzy

Check out and follow my Pinterest page for end-of-year ideas.  The first Pinterest board I’ve created is for Fall and Halloween.  I’ll add more in the next few weeks, so you have a one-stop for crushing the end of this year.

I hope these ideas bring you some peace, fun, and accomplishment for the last three months of this year.  Drop me a comment below and/or find me on Facebook where we can continue this conversation.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Here’s to you crushing motherhood,


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