As a coach, I love to see people excited and inspired to launch into their goals for the year ahead. Getting back to the gym, planning their vacation to the lake, or signing up for that budgeting 101 class.
But even with the promise of a new year, many of us find it hard to drag ourselves out of bed, in the winter wind chill. After the flu has made its rounds, the credit card bills come in, and the numbers on the scale that started rising with Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and climbed to a peak with bowl game cheese dip, it’s easy to feel down.
Whether January finds you exhausted and overwhelmed or excited and inspired, here are three strategies for starting your internal engine slowly as you warm up for winter’s invitation to begin anew.
Take stock of your successes. Look back on the past year. Remember that great summer night laughing with your best pals? How much your co-worker appreciated that night you stayed late so they didn’t have to? How great it felt watching that game with your brother? A notable success was simply surviving this past year. Others were the small but meaningful ways you made a difference in the lives of others. Count them and celebrate.
Tackle your energy thieves. That unsent thank you. That noise your car has been making for weeks. That stack of paper that’s been growing like a mushroom in broad daylight on your dining room table. We all have them lurking in our lives, insidiously sucking away tiny tidbits of our energy. Create a little list of these joy robbers and dedicate just a few minutes a day to eliminating them. Not only will the energy drain be stopped, but you’ll get the boost of more success.
Play with possibilities. Too overwhelmed to create a master action plan for the year ahead? When our energy is scattered from worrying about everything from our health insurance to our teenager’s upcoming SAT exam, envisioning our future can feel laughable. Still, giving yourself the gift of a couple of hours with a glue stick, a stack of old magazines, and a pair of scissors can help you get out of your head and into your future. Create a vision board by cutting and pasting words, phrases, and images that inspire you. At a minimum, you’ll give your brain a rest and reduce that stack of unread glossies you’ve been meaning to get to since last summer.
During divorce, it’s easy to feel defeated. Between grief fatigue and unfinished business, it’s hard to muster up the energy for new beginnings. Filling out a mortgage refinance application or finding a new child care for your toddler may be accomplishment enough for now. This may not be the season to launch into audacious goals. But starting slowly somewhere is sure to begin to melt away at least of bit of the winter blues. Warm wishes for the new year ahead, one small step at a time.