New Year, New Start? What To Do If You're Just Not Feeling It

New Year, New Start? What To Do If You're Just Not Feeling It

Normally right around the end of the year and well into mid-January, the New Year New Start buzz feels palpable. The people in my orbit, mainly entrepreneurs and parents, sometimes both, are talking about their word of the year and new planner decisions, their big goals and the difference between intentions vs resolutions and all that good stuff.

Going into 2022 that's hmmm, shall we say extremely muted? My entrepreneur friends are planning and setting business goals but it feels more like a necessity thing not an enthusiastic thing. I've heard barely a whisper about choosing a word of the year. The general burst of energy of the new year vibe seems dialed down to about -10. I think 2020-21 might just have broken the dial.

I've always been a massive fan of the new year restart, I love choosing my planner, buying new highlighters and figuring out how exactly I'm going to plan my plan. And yet this year feels very, very low-key. I've not taken my giant calendar out of the packaging yet, never mind getting it on my wall. I'm still deciding when my official start date is for trying to make some more healthy decisions - it definitely wasn't week one or two, will it be week three? Who knows, certainly not me! I spent a couple of days planning big plans for this business but so far I've ignored all my decisions.

I wanted to write a post about setting goals or intentions when you're not feeling it, but even that feels like a stretch. Everything feels like it's shifting around us, and it feels like we've been plunged back into that uncertainty that we so much hoped that we had left behind. Burn out is all around us. These last couple of years have been ridiculously hard and exhausting and relentless and it's not surprising that people are wary of making plans that they won't get to do, yet again. 

Aside from the global landscape, just personally for us in the last two weeks there's been barely any days when one of the five of us wasn't feeling ill, trying to get a Covid test or waiting for results. I think all three of my kids were all actually in school for two full days, then there was a snow day. Now one of them is home sick and just got a positive Covid test result, so we need to get the rest of us tested again. 

The university class I was scheduled to teach this semester was cancelled less than two weeks before it was due to start and so suddenly I have Mondays and Wednesdays free again, but no fixed income.  Additionally, just before the holidays I was diagnosed with ADHD which makes total sense but also feels a bit like having the rug yanked out from under your feet. All those things that you thought were your personality are actually symptoms or coping mechanisms...? I'm still adjusting to that and what it means for me both personally and professionally. And of course there's the ongoing concern that any day now the schools may go online again as caseloads soar...

All of which to say, it feels like life is on shaky ground that keeps moving around us. Just as we decide that something maybe actually is concrete after all, it slides away from us or sinks without a trace. I don't want to write a total downer of a post, but it is tricky to come up with some uplifting sentiment, when everyone I know seems to be in ok heads down, let's just try and get through this mode. 

So how do you set goals when you're not feeling it? My plan for now is to allow myself to ease into it. Just because January 1st came and went, it does not mean that we missed anything or that it's too late. Let yourself slowly consider some options. Make a note of what you might want to do and see how you feel about it a couple of days later. 

The most gentle approach I know is to think about where you are and imagine where you want to be. What do you need to do to get there? How do you make it easiest for you to move in the right direction every single day, even if you're taking baby steps?

We (I) often get caught up in the idea that until you have the masterplan, there's no point in doing anything. When it feels like a massive plan must be made, but you're just not mentally ready to do that yet, it's more than ok to just set an intention to go in the right direction. You don't have to commit to things that might never happen, but you can decide that something matters enough to you that you will do something that will help you get closer to it every single day.

Want to get healthier? You don't need an eating plan or a training plan mapped out first, what if you just start walking for 15 minutes a day and add more time when you're ready? Want to totally revamp your social media presence for your business but it feels like there's too much to figure out? Start by posting something that makes you happy once a week if that's all you can do, and add more when you can. 

If you can't quite get yourself to be excited by goals or tasks or plans at the moment, don't beat yourself up - it's 100% normal and acceptable. Living through a pandemic is hard (understatement of the decade). It's really important to prioritize your mental health, even if that means you have to let some other things go for now.

But if you are up to it, spending some time thinking about the direction you want to go in is a small step that can have a big impact, even when you're feeling like you're just going through the motions.

The one thing that I'm doing right now is simply adding a checkbox to my planner every morning. It takes all of five seconds and I'm finding that it is actually helping me to get motivated. You can add a checkbox to your notebook or journal or sticky note or elaborate digital system, whatever you use to get you through the day. Label it with an arrow or whatever you like, but the essence of it is this. Did you do something today that moves the needle in the right direction or is a tiny baby step towards what you want? 

If you did anything at all that moves you forward, even by a millimeter, you get to check that box and move on; more power to you, you've got this! If you did not, well that's ok too. There's always tomorrow, or the next day or the day after that. Above all else, be kind to yourself.


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