That ‘in-between feeling’ is how we’d describe the mood when Christmas has ended, and New Year is about to begin: nostalgia for the past and nervous excitement for the future. New Year symbolizes hope, new beginnings, and clean slates, but it’s also a trigger for trepidation, unease and fear about what the next 12 months will bring, or rather what we will (or will not) bring to it. Rather than sermonize with a set of prescriptive resolutions, we want to help set you on a positive path into the new year by outlining some small steps you can take to feel more in control and clear-headed about the year to come.
Do Menial Tasks Mindfully
The list of ‘things-we-think-about-but-never-get-around-to-doing’ invariably turns into the list of ‘things-we-need-to-accept-will-never-get-done-unless-we-take-urgent-action-now!’. Such things might include clearing out the cupboard under the stairs, throwing out old bed sheets, putting up shelves in the spare room, or finding a permanent re-homing solution for the contents of the bowl/drawer/storage pot of chaos. These nagging tasks reflect a perception of ourselves as lazy low-achievers when we’re forced to confront them on a daily basis. So in between seasonal social commitments, take some time to complete those jobs you always put off and you are guaranteed to start the new year feeling accomplished, emancipated and ready to take on new challenges, however menial.
Have A Clear Out
Once you’ve done the sort out we touched on above, you’ll inevitably be faced with hopefully a molehill, but probably a mountain-sized pile of things to throw out. If you don’t have a car in which to drop off donations to the local charity shops we recommend ‘Gone For Good’ - it’s an app that allows you to photograph the items you wish to discard, send the snaps to your participating charity shop of choice and - depending on whether or not they can take it - they’ll arrange for it to be collected from you. Lots of high street shops now operate recycling programmes, not just for purchases made from their brand, and you can earn reward vouchers for making the effort. Tidy home, tidy conscience, tidy mind.
Stand Up To Distraction
Distraction is the scourge of productivity in the modern age - we know that - but how do you actually do something about it. Yes you could find apps that make you want to cry by presenting you with the amount of screen time you’ve clocked up in a day, or tweak your wifi so that it cuts out after a certain time in the evening (quite extreme, but ok), or, if you’re really serious, you could buy one of those old school mobile phones that simply makes and receives calls and texts… But you could also try something that’s free and immediately available to you. It’s a special blend of will power, assertiveness and wisdom, which combined help you stand up to the distractions that appear at nearly every juncture of our waking lives. Taking back control involves saying no, to yourself, and training your mind to remember that good things come to those who wait. Leave the instagram scroll until the evening.
Plan A Holiday In One Day
One way to get over the flatness of returning to work in the new year is to plan your next escape from it: your 2019 vacation. This kind of operation can drag on, so we suggest giving yourself a very strict time limit of... one day. That can consist of the full 24 hours if need be but no longer. If planning with a partner or friend set yourself up with a coffee and pastry around your laptop in the moring, select destination (no more than 3 hrs to be spent on this), research and reserve accommodation (3 hrs), and book transportation (2 hrs) - once all this is out the way you can pat yourself on the back for extraordinarily efficient productivity levels and start marking off the days on your calendar until it’s go time.
Enrol On A Course
For most it’s hard to feel moved by anything in January other than a slight dry heave at the idea of at least 3-4 more months of wintery weather, a return to Monday team meetings, and having bailed on your new year's resolutions to become a buff gym bunny by January 2nd. What’s needed is a little perspective, a glimpse above the parapet to be reminded that there is much to look forward to. One way to do this is to book yourself onto a course in something you’ve always been curious about.. Expanding your mind, gaining new skills and making new friends are all things that can make you a significantly happier and more fulfilled human being. Better to spend your money on something constructive than spangly party dresses in the new year sales that you’ll never wear.
One final word before we leave 2018 behind: we should all feel free to reset at any stage of the year, not just in January. If you find things aren’t going your way a few weeks into the new year, hit refresh and start over. It’s the trying that counts.