Getting back into the swing of things in the New Year can be tough. I’m sure we’re all agreed that January’s a pretty horrible month, period!
But the early nightfall, evenings of quiet calm and general feeling of needing to nest and hunker down can work for us, if we play it our way.
If you’re the kind of person who loves to jump right in after the holidays, do zero inbox, hit deadlines, get back to your exercise regime and fill your planner with numerous tasks for the year ahead, great.
Vigour can be motivating – but there’s also a lot to be said for easing yourself back into a new year gently, taking a moment to pause and use that feeling of semi-hibernation to think about where we are right now, where it might be taking us, and whether it’s actually working.
New Year is a psychological marker
I like the passing of New Year. Apart from the obvious change in the calendar, it’s also a psychological marker which can relieve us of the challenges and hurts of the previous year.
It allows us to let go of baggage and irritation, and make a mental fresh start.
But it can also feel a tad pressured. As I wrote recently, there’s a lot of talk in business circles at New Year about goal-setting, mapping out your route, knowing exactly where you’re going, making resolutions and sticking to them.
However, we don’t have to approach things in such an encumbered way.
I’m a big fan of liminal space. By that I mean suspending the need to define can free us up to think laterally. Basically, we give ourselves a break. We take the pressure off and use that space to consider options we may not have previously.
Of course, we have to acknowledge the role of two things in this: finance and anxiety. If keeping the wolf from the door is the number one priority, then that has to be done. We have to get back into work mode, and fast. But this doesn’t stop us altogether from climbing a metaphorical hill and surveying the landscape of our life and work.
As for anxiety, we do have some control. We can choose our reactions to the things that concern us, and make a concrete decision that whatever it is, it really doesn’t have to bother us.
All of this might seem pretty abstract, and I totally get that.
We can reassess our trajectory
What I’m trying to say is that, at New Year, before getting bogged down in work again, before climbing back onto the treadmill of pitching, deadlines and the general grind of workaday life, we can make that sense of renewal, suspension of time and mental rest we’ve experienced during the holiday period work for us. We can reassess our trajectory in a gentle way.
As the old saying goes, a change is as good as a rest. Sometimes, by stepping away from our daily situation, we’re able to see things more clearly.
This is why taking time out is so important for those of us running our own businesses, where it’s all too easy to feel constant pressure to fee-earn and handle a never-ending churn of work.
So, the New Year can be a time of renewal, but also of reassessment. Rather than looking straight to the future and imposing goals on ourselves, perhaps it’s also useful to pause and look at where we are now.
Then we can see what’s happening more clearly, decide if it’s viable, and set a course into a happier, more fulfilling future.