A lot of people I know were happy to see the backside of 2022 (this gal included). But even with the enthusiasm for a new year in our pockets, it can be hard to find the motivation to kickstart our plans and projects as we head back to work and find ourselves facing the same day-to-day grind as before the holidays, as well as a backlog of vacation work and emails to catch up on.
I’ve heard more than one person say that the new year doesn’t really start until February, and with February just around the corner, that feels more true this year than ever – though does anyone else feel like January gets longer every single year?
Even though I know it’s coming every year, it still feels as if the new year sneaks up on me, and I’m never prepared with either resolutions or a “word of the year,” like it seems that so many other people are. I have my professional plan in place by mid-December, but finding a way to dive in with gusto can be challenging. So while it may be January 24th, I feel like there’s no time like the present to bring you a way to dive into the new year.
1. Don’t put too much pressure on it
January 1st is just a date on the calendar, but we can start over at any time. Like…today. So what if it’s Tuesday or the 24th?
Just like Mondays are an arbitrary day to begin something new, so too is the start of the year. If you’re feeling like you don’t have everything together to hit refresh when the calendar hits January, you’re not alone. It may take a couple of days or weeks to ease into the new year, and that’s just fine. Give yourself some room to catch up with the work that’s at the top of your priority list, and use the rest of the time to either create your plans if you haven’t already, or find the mojo that you’re lacking. If you’re seeking inspiration, try changing up your routine and the thought leadership you typically seek out – read books in different genres, find new blog authors to check out, set up meetings with friends or colleagues for lunch or late afternoon coffee when you’d typically start to lose motivation, so you can talk about new things. Don’t schedule yourself too tightly, because the idea is to welcome some fresh ideas and enthusiasm into your day – I know this can be a challenge in and of itself, but even if you can just squeeze ten minutes into your afternoon, it’s worth a try. You’d be surprised at how much impact a simple afternoon walk outside can have on the pile of work sitting on your desk.
If you want to bring new things into your life, you have to literally BRING NEW THINGS into your life. Whether that’s starting the day with a glass of water instead of coffee or doing a meditation in the afternoon or meeting friends for a hobby instead of a drink, change it up! Just because it’s the end of January doesn’t mean that the year is over.
2. Use February as a restart
December can end up being pretty hectic, trying to finish everything we need to accomplish by the end of the year professionally, as well as filling our personal commitments as the holidays and the new year approaches. So we may not have done the planning or reviewing that we had the best intentions of doing. January may have turned into your catch-up month – remember how we all said that “that’s a problem for January, only to have returned to the office to those “January” problems?
If that’s the case, consider February to be your restart. Take the full month to identify the goals you’d like to set, and how you think you can best reach those. Put together your strategy and plan, and actually write it down – your goals can be for your practice, for business development, for raising your professional profile, etc. The key is to make them measurable and to give some careful thought to the steps that you can take to achieve them. When you give yourself a little bit of room to start the planning process now, instead of feeling like you’re well behind, you’ll be more likely to add in some goals you’re excited about and have given some thought to, rather than just rehashing last year’s plan. If you need some assistance, use one of those lunches or coffees with a friend or colleague to discuss their goals and plans for 2023 to get your own creative juices flowing. It’s never too late to get started.
3. Look at what you did RIGHT in 2022
Resolutions tend to focus on what we want to change, what we don’t like about ourselves or our situations. But there’s plenty that we’re doing RIGHT and should be doing more of. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea that you should be throwing everything out and starting over, why not just forget all of that for a moment? Instead, review the last year and look at the things that worked well for you – what time management skills were effective? What networking tactics did you employ that reaped positive results? How did you stay on top of your business development efforts? What were some ways that you connected well with colleagues that resulted in collaboration? Give yourself a pat on the back for the things that went right in 2022, and continue to do those things. It’s tempting to want to add more and more to the list of things we should be doing, but once in a while, we should sit back and reflect on what is working well, and focus on repeating successful efforts.
Whether we ever find our 2023 “word of the year” or just keep doing the same things we were last year, I hope that we can all welcome some space for growth, laughter, collaboration, and learning in 2023!