The final two weeks of the year saw my brain and body finally give in to the wonders of sleeping in (despite my upstairs neighbour who forgets to take off her heels/construction boots at 6AM – still figuring that one out…), laptop-free time (my nervous eye twitch was so ready for this) and too many bags of Miss Vicky’s balsamic vinegar potato chips on the couch with family (#appropriate).
It also meant a social media time-out – i.e., not placing any pressure on myself to engage or create content, so I could carve out the mental space to do so intentionally, when my mental batteries were recharged.
That didn’t mean I wasn’t still taking in everything I was scrolling through.
And oh gosh, do I wish I hadn’t.
Because when December 31st rolled out around, my social media channels were a rotating playlist of All The Years in Review.
The tropical islands visited for the first time. The snowy engagement photos. The parts of entrepreneurship that sucked and soared. Lots of babies. The six figure businesses blasting through the ceilings.
It was incredible to watch those in my community take their dreams to new heights, and be open and vulnerable enough to share the really crappy stuff that happened, too. (This is one of the many reasons it’s so important to diversify your feed.)
It also meant that I started thinking back on my year, wondering if it was mostly awesome… Or mostly not. Regardless, I’d already started playing The Dreaded Comparison Game in my head, and it wasn’t good.
Then January 1st showed up, and I started seeing stuff like this:
“More x, less y in 2019!”
“This will be the year of ___”
“What’s your word for 2019?”
“2019 is the year I’m going to start __!”
“New year, new __!”
I’m all for going into the new year swingin’, but for the onlooker (*cough* *passive scroller*), all it produces for me is what I call a case of the January Jitters – where I feel the opposite of zen and in control of my supposed star-studded destiny in 2019.
For context: my New Years Eve was spent watching Charlie & The Chocolate Factory in my PJ’s (while eating several packs of Maltesers, blatantly ignoring my lactose intolerance) with family, and it didn’t feel like a new day for me when we took a short hiatus to sleepily croak wishes to each other at midnight (it was seriously past my bedtime).
But as I crawled into bed at midnight, I felt like I was expected to wake up on the morning of January 1st with a smug smile, a new pink planner in hand, and a crystal-clear vision for the entire year sparkling ahead of me.
Instead, I stayed awake all night listening to my tiny 7-year-old nephew snore like a sinus-stuffed pug (how do such small bodies produce such largely terrifying sounds??) during those first few hours of the new year upon me, while I was shivering under a small blanket on the pull-out couch of my mum’s living room, ‘cause every cozy duvet was taken by said nephew (he’s sweet when he isn’t snoring – I forgive him).
In other words, I wasn’t exactly fresh-faced and dewy somewhere in Maui, ready to take on the world with a sweaty workout and massive to-do list at precisely 9.03AM, January 1st, 2019. (Science shows that big goals and resolutions don’t really work, anyhow.)
I’m guessing that you weren’t, either.
So, if you’ve got a case of the January Jitters like me – you might be thinking:
“Do I have to suddenly change everything about myself now?”
“Wait – did I actually fail in 2018?”
“How can I become more like [insert your dream mentor] this year?”
“What if I don’t know what I want in 2019 right this second?”
“WTF is goal-setting even?”
From one anxiety-ridden, goal-grieving entrepreneur to another…
I urge you to remember these three things to retain your sanity:
1. A new year doesn’t have to mean a New You
Personally, I felt that 2018 was all about planting the roots for new parts of myself that are poised to finally shoot through the surface: I niched my services to serve a more aligned audience (impact-driven wellness entrepreneurs), became a helluva lot more sassy (thanks to the great company of female entrepreneurs I keep) and continuously invested in myself (branding, photoshoots and masterminds that skyrocketed my mission).
They were all scary shifts, but I’ll continue making them because they felt like The Real Me (uncomfortably comfortable in my new skin) was finally showing up IRL, and in my work.
Don’t rush into doing a full mental/body/spiritual makeover just because we’re buying new calendars! We can be our best selves when we continue to carry the best parts of ourselves forward, instead of leaving them behind in the dust of a year gone by. Bring those old wins along for a new ride.
How to stay true to you:
Write down three things you loved about yourself in 2018 on a sticky note, and post it up somewhere you’ll see often – in your journal, on your fridge or in your office.
You’ve planted the seeds, and they’re ready to grow! Water, nourish and fertilize those babies.
2. It’s okay to offload goals instead of creating them
I believe that taking things off our to-be lists is as important as adding on to them. Instead of staring at a blank page in a shiny new binder (or being overwhelmed at the thought of *all* the things you want to accomplish this year) – it might be easier to think about this, instead:
What are you offloading to reduce overwhelm and increase joy this year?
I’ll go first – some of the things I want *less* of in 2019 include:
Self-critique for not doing all the things on my business wish list (like launching a lead magnet, three blog posts, a full Instagram content calendar and outsourcing work in one month…)
Accepting projects with partners who are not 100% aligned with my values (being a wellness copywriter, I’m lucky that this doesn’t happen often!)
Saying no to time with friends and family in favour of overwork (love over loss, any day)
How to offload your goals:
Look back through some of your to-do lists in 2018, and consider:
What are some key tasks or personal projects that always got pushed to the next day, week or month?
Can you think of anything that was so frustrating to start, let alone finish?
If anything sat on your list for longer than four months, thank the brilliant idea for forming and bid it goodbye! It’s time to create more mental space for more achievable goals, and that’s totally a-okay.
3. Bring new visions into focus when you feel ready
My brain works in weirdly wonderful ways: I love to deliver on a deadline, and I can produce great work under client-related pressure.
But when it comes to working on my own business? I’m definitely not the type to crank out a new blog post every week, or run Instagram Lives on the daily. When inspiration hits, I create. When a good idea strikes, I write it down and revisit it when I can clear time to get to it.
And that’s ‘cause one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the last few years is this:
No one is expectantly checking their inbox every morning, wondering why they haven’t received an email from lil’ ol’ me. No one is scrolling through their Instagram feed thinking, “Gee, what’s Zafira playing at by not posting something today?”
So – even though I haven’t created any impressive goals for 2019 yet, I’m going to take a simple approach when I feel ready.
I’m going to try setting three achievable goals, 90 days at a time – that way, my mind can really only take on what it knows it can handle, with an action plan to get there.
There’s no way I’m ready to think about an achievable October goal at this point (I’m still trying to wean myself off holiday boxes of Ferrero Rocher)! It’s all about starting small, so you can go big when you’re ready.
How to get stuff done on your terms:
The next time a great idea, goal or dream strikes – write it down anywhere that’s easy for you to record it – like your iPhone notes, a little notebook you might carry around, in your daily planner.
Keep jotting them down in the same spot, and bookmark it for later! You don’t have to get to it all right now…
… But when you do feel ready, energized and motivated to work on something for yourself – you’ll have a list ready, waiting and excited to get started.
The best part? No one will care how long it’s taken you to get there!
To recap – remember these three things:
A new year doesn’t have to mean a new you (hold on to the seeds you planted)
Offloading goals is as important as creating them (don’t be afraid to say goodbye or press pause on to-do’s that didn’t come to fruition)
Bring new visions to life when you feel ready (always write them down, and revisit when you have the energy to put them into action)
Feel a little lighter, and a little less pressure to become a Whole New You in 2019 now?
Tell me whether you’ve got the January Jitters too or whether you’re a goal rebel like me in the comments – and get dibs on new stuff (when inspo strikes, of course) by subscribing to my newsletter here.