Essays & Thoughts, On Jobs & Careers, On Motivation

How To Reset & Refresh For 2017

Tips for the demotivated on how to start the year off right.

We’re now a few weeks into 2017. It’s the end of an era and the start of an uncertain one. So much has changed in so little time, and yet there is still so much left to do.

Let’s not talk about how much of a huge dumpster fire the previous year was. Even though it may sometimes feel like the end is nigh, we’re going to survive. We’re going to get through whatever the universe throws at us because it’s a new year, and each new year presents us with fresh opportunities for brand new outlooks.

Let’s focus on more positive things.

It’s that time of year when people jot down lists of places they want to see, activities they want to try, goals they want to achieve, and things they want to buy that all culminates into creating a “fresh” and “brand new” version of themselves. Making lists are good. Embarking on a new journey to “find yourself” is commendable. We feel productive when we engage in these new planning processes. We feel like we’re the captains of our own ships, steering our vessels into the direction of our dreams.

That’s all well and good, and I am all for brainstorming and setting goals.

But let’s get real here: you’re not going to get anywhere just saying these things to yourself over again as if they formulate a mantra that will magically conjure the end results overnight. Empowerment comes from execution.

Say it with me: empowerment comes from execution. 

You’re rolling your eyes at me as you’re reading this. Either that or you’re furrowing your eyebrows trying to make sense of that statement.

I know, I know. It’s easier said than done. I’ve also had my set of failures, and my own set of disappointments, simply because I didn’t put enough time into fulfilling a goal I wanted to achieve last year. Most of the time I was just depleted of energy after the end of a long work day and an even more grueling class and study schedule. Balancing work, school, and taking care of other people in your life can take a toll on you.

So here you are, reading this article, wondering if things are going to get any better.

You’re exhausted from working and worrying, but you’re also tired of the way things are. You want to change things up this year. Spruce up your space. Spice up your life.

You want to explore new places, try new things, and go off on spontaneous adventures. Or maybe you’d rather get organized and declutter your desks and closets so that you can finally get rid of those old receipts. Oh, and while you’re at it, you might as well get rid of those reminders of your exes. Erase all evidence of those embarrassing moments that you’d rather not dwell on any longer.

You want to look your best.

New haircut? Tattoo? New wardrobe? Sign up for a gym membership? Start a new meal plan? Are these things worth it? Am I happy with the way that I already am?   

You want to feel your best. 

Okay, maybe the occasional scoop of ice cream, or slice of pizza after losing a couple of pounds because otherwise, life would be meaningless. 

Now is as good a time as any to start, especially because it’s a new year. But you can’t slack off.

I’m serious. I don’t want to hear that you “can’t even…” anymore. You can take a well-deserved break from time to time, and you can joke about it with Internet memes, but if you’re truly serious about meeting your goals, you can’t say that you “can’t even” anymore without giving a justifiable, logical reason.

“But—”

No, you do not need to go off on another shopping spree and call it “retail therapy” just because you got your paycheck and you paid off the bare minimum for all of your credit cards.

“But—”

No, you do not need to “think about it” or “wait and see.” Start doing some of your research now. See what’s out there. Talk to people who share your common interests and see where the conversation takes you. You’d be surprised.

“But—”

Nope, no more excuses. This year, you simply CANNOT. SLACK. OFF.

You have to set aside time to work on your dreams.

Get a planner. Start jotting down lists of the things you want to accomplish. Spend five minutes in a freewriting brainstorm session. They don’t have to be some grandiose scheme, like winning an Osar or anything (unless you’re actually serious about it, then by all means). They should, however, be “smart.”

You’ve probably heard about this concept of setting “SMART” goals through a mentor or through some kind of training you’ve gone through in your career. It sounds silly and weird, but it makes sense. As you set out to work on each of your goals, you should be able to track your progress so that you know how well you’re doing.

S – specific, significant, stretching

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

And if something’s not working, that’s the time to reassess whether you need to take a step back, tweak one of your approaches, or maybe find a different method altogether. Don’t worry about whether everything will go perfectly. Sometimes things will work out. Other times they might not. Whatever happens, you need to be able to adjust and have the confidence to make the necessary transitions.

Above all, be good to yourself.

There’s only one you in this crazy universe. Do yourself a favor and make this year a good one, will ya? After all, you deserve an awesome year ahead.

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