You’ve been there before. On January 3rd or 4th, you wake up with a mixture of anxiety and dread wondering, where did the last month go? It’s like the eggnog goggles fall off and you realize you’ve gained five pounds, your house is a pit and you’re way more behind on work than you thought you’d be when you mentally checked out on December 23rd. Sometimes there’s also deep pangs of regret about the season, wishing we’d enjoyed it more, been kinder, been more present, spent less, etc. I want you to avoid all of that this year and here’s how, based on my guests and my research (and my own experience with those daggum holiday goggles.)
First, realize you still have a couple weeks left.
We hustlers can do a lot when we get intentional and focused for a short amount of time. This is the home stretch, let’s hunker down and commit to making the most of the weeks ahead. When you feel yourself thinking “eh, I’m basically out of time anyway; I’ll add this to my First Things for Next Year List,” stop yourself! That’s not true, and a few hours each day between now and Christmas Eve Day (or whatever day you’re checking out) can make a huge difference.
Get proactive about year-end danger zones.
You know what your weaknesses are, whether it’s Aunt Mable’s Oreo cake balls, the stationary and candle aisle at Target, comments from your mother that will turn you into the hulk, or the giant time suck that is the Christmas section of Netflix. Take a moment today to evaluate where you spiral out of control mentally, physically, emotionally, or financially, and make a game plan to save yourself now, rather than in the moment.
Get a ton of small stuff knocked out.
I’ve spoken before about the weight of the small stragglers. When we leave to-do lists undone for weeks, ideas unexecuted for months, or even chores ignored for days, it wears on us. When you feel yourself getting cranky or overwhelmed, it could be those types of tasks. So bust them out. Decide to finally go through the mail pile, reply to all of the unanswered emails, put all the clean laundry away, etc. This alone could be enough to make your holiday break so much more enjoyable!
Get one deep issue taken care of.
There may be something in your life you know you need to deal with, and you’re thinking you’ll face it after the holidays. Why tackle a giant now? Because you’ve said “Now is not the right time” a million times for a million different reasons and it’s killing you. How can you expect to enjoy life when you’re broken inside? I know this is not easy, but my decision to finally get sober and ask for help not only changed my body and my mind, but my soul, my relationships, my work, everything! Call your sister and extend an olive branch. Go to your first AA meeting. Make an appointment with a doctor or therapist. Tell a friend you’re depressed. Tell your spouse about the secret you’ve been keeping, etc.
The end of the year is a great time to do the giving you’ve been meaning to do throughout the year. You may have occasions you’ve missed or thank you cards you forgot to send, or organizations you keep meaning to volunteer for - do it!
Jump start next year’s opportunities.
One way to ensure you’ll come back in January feeling inspired is to know that you have irons in the fire. Instead of waiting, why not send out a bunch of year-end pitches? Reach out to potential clients, set a review meeting to discuss your next promotion with your boss, submit guest post ideas, pitch yourself to be on podcasts, etc. While inboxes are slowing down, send your requests out and get on the radar before the new year rush.
Make a catch up plan.
If, like me, you got a little to aggressive with your December to-do list, schedule in some catch up time in January. You’ll be able to relax during the holiday knowing that you have a plan for what you missed, so even though you’re not where you want to be, you’re not flailing, stuck or lost.
Audit, audit and audit some more.
I feel like I beat a dead horse when it comes to auditing, but you can’t be intentional and start changing the world with your best self and your best work if you don’t know what’s working, what’s not, what you loved, what you hated, what you’re best at, what you should outsource, etc. This obviously applies to a business, but you need to audit your personal life as well. Before you make goals for next year, take a hard look at the wins and losses in all areas: Family, Faith, Friends, Finances, Fitness, Fun, Future (vision, fulfillment, hope). Ending the year with a clear picture of why the year went the way it did, both the ups and the downs, will give you peace of mind.
Craft your vision for next year.
Sure, you could wait until January 1st to choose a word of the year or resolution or set of 2017 goals. Or you could do that now, while you’re busy auditing anyway. Instead of spending the first week of January trying to come up with a vision for the year - which might be harder to do after being unplugged for a week or more - spend it taking action.
Plug in things to look forward to.
January and February are the most depressing months of the year for most of us. To keep yourself energized and upbeat, why not plan in some fun for those months? Whether it’s a beach vacation (take me with you!) or a spa day or a family day, there is power in hope and expectation.
What else will you be doing to finish strong this year? Let me know on Twitter! @KelseyHumphreys #bestyearever