Fun fact: I don’t think you should hit the ground running this week. Here’s why.
This may surprise you as you might have figured out at this point that I am QUITE the Goal Getter, but I think that the concept of coming out of the gates after the New Year at full speed is, at best ridiculous, and at worst, a recipe for burnout and disaster.
YES, I am a firm believer that setting goals can focus your mind and move you towards making intentional choices for your life. But doing them all at once is about the worst idea I can imagine.
You have so much coming at you at the beginning of a new year, so you need to prioritize. If you have ANY desire to have a less stressful year, don’t start it out by piling on more stress.
Here are 3 simple ways you can ease into the New Year and maintain some sanity.
1. EASE INTO YOUR INBOX
I read something pretty life changing about email that completely changed how I use it. Before, I used my unread emails in my inbox as my to-do list. Then I read this:
“Your inbox is a to-do list to which anyone in the world can add an action item. I needed to get out of my inbox and back to my to-do list.” Chris Sacca
If the first thing you do each morning is check your email, you are letting the world decide what your priorities are. I use a free tool for Gmail called Boomerang that allows you to pause your inbox until a set time. Each morning I decide what my top 3 priorities are of the day, and I do not open my email until I’ve completed at least one. Most days I check my email at 10 AM, after lunch, and about 30 minutes before I close up shop. That way I can be sure I’m spending time on the things that NEED to be doing, not just what feels urgent because it’s in the inbox.
Also, remember, if something is a true emergency, you’ll get a phone call.
I also use the Gmail feature of inbox Categories (find in settings)to have a Primary inbox, a Social inbox (newsletters I subscribe to) and a Promotions inbox (anything salesy from a store). I will almost always just delete what is in the Promotions tab and/or unsubscribe from them. I save my Social tab for set times when I want to read those newsletters. Everything else – client emails, contractors, order tracking, etc. – is in my Primary inbox ready for me when I’m ready for it.
2. TRY ONE SMALL HABIT
If you’ve worked through our Goal Setting Guide you’ll have narrowed down your goals to 3, and chosen which one to begin with. Much like all of your children trying to talk to you at the same time, if you’re trying to implement 3 completely new behaviors into your life at the same time, you’re most likely going to fail at most or all of them because none are getting your full attention.
For me, the big 4-0 birthday is going to hit this year (yowza). I have never ever been one to exercise consistently, but I want to prioritize my health as I am now squarely in middle age. If I tell myself that I’m going to go from zero to exercising 4x a week, I am setting myself up for failure.
Instead I am integrating one small habit into my routines to begin. I put a small set of hand weights in a drawer next to my toothbrush. Brushing my teeth is a no-brainer routine item. By putting the new habit I want to create (begin strength training) next to something I am already doing daily (toothbrush) I exponentially increase the likelihood of doing SOMETHING.
Sure, doing 3 sets of 15 reps with teeny tiny dumbbells twice a day isn’t going to make me an athlete. But that’s not the point. The GOAL is to prioritize my health. By starting with something small, like lifting a few pounds each morning and evening, I am changing my limiting belief and my identity.
Instead of “I’m someone who hates exercise” I am trying to become “I am someone who prioritizes my health.” I’m not kidding myself by overreaching to “I am an athlete.” I couldn’t care less about identifying myself as an athlete. I just want to live a long life full of healthy years. The new identity matches the goal.
After I have this under my belt for a few weeks, I’ll start adding on new habits into my routine. Slow and steady wins the race every time.
3. SIMPLIFY YOUR DECOR
I had to relate this back to design somehow, right? As you’re putting away your Christmas décor, seize the opportunity for a little pruning.
If there are items you haven’t put out in a few years, rather than packing them away and leaving it until next Christmas to deal with (spoiler alert – you won’t want to do it then, either) take this opportunity to donate anything that you haven’t been using. I know Christmas décor is especially tied up in sentimental memories. I get it. There are some things you’re going to keep regardless of whether you actually like them. But remind yourself – is this doing me any good being in the attic 99.9% of the time, except for the once a year that I see it and don’t do anything with it? Keep what you love, and let go of the rest.
As you’re putting back your regular non-holiday décor, experiment with putting out less.
Designer Tip – using fewer, larger things is nearly always better than using lots of smaller things. Don’t overload your surfaces. Enjoy a little negative space and breathing room to create some ease in your space (and give you less to dust).
I hope these 3 simple ideas help you start your year off with less stress and more ease! And if you haven’t already, grab our Goal Setting Guide to help you determine what your top priorities are so you can live a life of intention. If you’re feeling yanked around by your life, or feel out of control, this guide is your ticket to freedom.