New Year, New You, am I right?! At least, that’s what it felt like a few weeks ago when you were still in full planning mode, psyched about the New Year, and ready to tackle everything on your to-do list and then some.
But now, as we get deeper into the day-to-day of the new year, that magic is starting to wear off. You’re still motivated to do all the things you set out to do just a few weeks ago, but you seem to have suddenly lost the time, energy, and clarity on how to make that happen.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This post-holiday slog hits all of us. It’s easy with the promise of a new year to get all hyped up on our greatest dreams and ambitions but the truth is, when things get back to “normal” and we’re back in the post-holiday day-to-day, it can be really difficult to have that follow through.
But, don’t fret! There are a few easy ways to get yourself out of this funk before it’s too late.
Evaluate your goals—are they actually realistic?
I used to do this thing every year where I’d create New Year’s Resolutions that were lofty and ambitious to the point of being absolutely impossible. It’s good to have big dreams, but if you’re trying to do too many things at once—especially really intensive things—you’re setting yourself up for failure.
For example, every year I’d pack my list with things like “learn a new language,” “read a book a week,” “create a new revenue stream,” “reach X financial goal” and “eat healthier.” That is a LOT of stuff to pack into an already full schedule. So if your list is something like “release a new album” “gain 100k streams” and “go on a 6-week tour” you’re asking a lot of yourself.
Remember, it’s better to take small steps and make consistent progress than try to do so much you end up failing and burning out at the same time.
Do you have a plan, or just an idea?
Remember how I listed out all my previous New Year’s resolutions? Well, this year I incorporated two of them again—learn a new language, and read more. But, I was more realistic in my goals and I actually made a plan for how to do them.
Part of sticking to your resolutions and being productive is to actually have a plan. And there’s a big difference between having a solid plan—a roadmap, if you will—and just having an idea.
A lot of us will say things like “oh yeah, I want to do X” or “I’m going to do X this week” but then the week goes by and nothing happens and I hate to break it to you, but it’s not because you’re too busy, it’s because you didn’t have a plan for doing it. So for me, I didn’t just say “I want to learn French and read more” and hope that I’d somehow find time for those things. No. Instead, I decided every day at 11am, I take a break and read for 30 minutes. Then, every day from 3pm-4pm, I take a break and study French. It happens every day at the same time, and that consistency and expectancy keeps me on track.
If it’s important to you, make a plan. If it’s not important to you, then take it off your list and replace it with something that actually matters. Life is too short and we’re too busy to keep feeling bad for not doing things that we don’t even care about.
Don’t be stubborn—ask for help
No one has ever accomplished anything great on their own. If you’re stuck in the mindset of feeling like you have to go it alone for the myriad of reasons you’ve convinced yourself of (I don’t want to bother them/I don’t have the money to hire someone/ they won’t understand/ no one can possibly handle this task but me) then you’re probably on the fast track to burn out, and trust me when I say that’s not helping anyone, least of all you.
Embrace the community around you and ask for help. Together is the only way to the top.
Do you have a system or are you winging it?
Having systems in place is crucial for a successful year. This means knowing what you’re doing and when you’re doing it, as well as having reliable tools to turn to. For instance, if you want to practice or write a new song every week, don’t leave it until inspiration strikes, set a specific day/time. Every Tuesday 6pm-8pm, no matter what, you practice. And you stick to that.
Then, have a few reliable tools that you use to do things like plan and execute your ideas. For example, have a go-to social media scheduling tool that makes sure posts go out on time, a calendar that makes sure you’re always reminded of important meetings, etc.
Are you continually learning?
This is one of the most overlooked and yet, arguably the most important thing when it comes to productivity. You must be continually learning. Be it through podcasts, books, mentorship, membership sites, courses, or community, always be seeking new knowledge. As I mentioned, one of my personal goals this year is to read 30 minutes a day. In addition, I listen to a podcast 2x a day on walks with my dog. That’s a total of about 40 minutes podcast listening, 30 minutes reading, so a little over an hour of continued learning every day. I also surround myself with mentors and a community that make me feel supported and heard.
I don’t do these things just because I enjoy them, I do them because I know that constantly being in a state of learning, of hearing new ideas, varying perspectives, and having that access to experts and peers is absolutely crucial to my own mindset and success.
2020 can absolutely be your year—you have everything you need right at your fingertips to make it happen—it’s just up to you to take that first step.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder of the THRIVE mentorship experience and Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.