As weird as it sounds, the Post-Christmas slump is a real thing. I thought it was just me that was struggling with feeling bummed that Christmas was over and another year was approaching so rapidly, but when I polled some readers from my Facebook page, they too had the same problem! Over 65% felt at least somewhat sad after Christmas, and while a majority of them felt a little excited for the New Year, they also felt somewhat depressed. We need a plan of action to make 2017 our best year ever!

Let’s go over a few things before we really dig in here… there is a difference between feeling a little bummed that Christmas is over, having some anxiety about the New Year, and having real clinical depression.

If you’ve never heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), read more about it here. It’s estimated that about 5% of the US population is effected by SAD, and per the American Association of Family Physicians, its four times as common in women than it is in men. And that’s not including the estimated 19 MILLION Americans living with clinical depression.

In all transparency, I’m going to be a little vulnerable here and admit that I have struggled with seasonal depression and anxiety, and in no way do I think it’s something to be ashamed of. I think it is imperative to be able to speak with your doctor openly about this, and together develop a plan of action for your health, and you and your loved ones happiness.

So now that we’ve got that straightened out, let’s talk about this ‘bummer’ feeling we’re dealing with, how to overcome it, and how to make 2017 our BEST. YEAR. EVER!

I don’t know what your Christmas weekend looked like, but mine was i n s a n e. Actually the entire month of December has been a complete whirlwind. We’ve hosted several events at our house, my youngest turned one, I turned thirty, and we held two family Christmas parties at our house. So by the time Sunday night rolled around, everyone had gone back home, and the house was somewhat put back together, all I could think was “Oh, thank GOD!”.

But the next day I had this weird anxiety all day! It was like I couldn’t believe it was actually over. All the preparation, the dreams of the perfect Christmas, and then it passed by lightning quick. I had a few moments of ‘Well, what next? What do I have to look forward to now?”

And I think a lot of us feel that way after any major event. I’m not sure if it’s because we build the moments up in our head for so long, and then we’re to busy enjoying the actual moment that it’s hard for us to come back down to earth. And don’t get me wrong, I loved my Christmas. It was full of so much joy, laughter and food, obviously. It’s just that the older I get, the quicker times seems to go by.

After I had my moment of initial panic, I adjusted my way of thinking (true story, my therapist helped me work through how to successfully adjust my thought process), and instead of feeling sad about the time passing, I started using it as fuel to inspire me.

I’ve only got so much time, and there is SO MUCH I want to accomplish in 2017.

So here’s my to-do list, feel free to use, or come up with a plan of action all your own:

1. #GOALS

Take some time and really think about what you want. What do you want to accomplish? GO BIG. And small. Break up your goals into time frames ( I can do this in January, which would free up more time/put me in a better position to carry out the next goal in February), or size and break big goals into chunks (Example: I want to pay off this credit card, so I can start putting back for retirement, and to do that, I need to not blow that extra $20 per week).

2. RESEARCH

This might not necessarily be a step for everyone, but for me, and many business owners, it’s key!

You’ve got your goal list, now go do some research.

Starting a business? You can learn a ton from your competitors. At this point, I don’t consider them competitors as much as mentors. Why? Because I’m a unique person, with my own perspective. I’m not going to try to steal away their clientele, I want clients who are drawn to me and what I have to offer. I don’t want to be a copy, but I’d like to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Bottom line, when it comes to processes, don’t reinvent the wheel, just find ways to make it your own.

Is one of your goals to get organized? Check out Pinterest and the multitude of professional organizers just waiting to give you tips. Take some ideas from several and make your own system that works for you.

Want to get healthy? Review different meal plans and workout programs, get recommendations, and then customize your own plan.

3. PLAN

Now that you’ve got your goals and some general ideas on how you can reach those goals, it’s time to plan out and schedule the time to work to actually meeting them.

Here’s some brutal honesty that I (literally) have to tell myself every single day:

Put on your big girl panties, plan your day (week, month) and take back control of YOUR time. Click To Tweet There are 168 hours in a week. Take 5 minutes a day, sit down, put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard… or mobile device) and figure out what needs to be done, what you want to get done… and what can be pushed to another date or time. Eat the frog. Do the things you don’t want to do first. Then everything after that is easy. I am also working on some great resources to help you plan your time better, so keep checking back for those!

The biggest thing I struggled with was creating my business plan. It seemed so daunting. It was the proverbial elephant…. except that I didn’t really eat it one bite at a time. I had to basically lock myself away. It was very ‘A Beautiful Mind’ -esque. There were lots of Post-It notes. It was messy. But it worked for me. I’m visual in that I need to see a road map. So that’s how my business plan looked.

The top Post-It was my main goal. Then it branched out from there into my smaller goals to reach the main goal, and then the immediate tasks I needed to do. It was a mix between an organizational tree and a Kanban board. If you’ve never heard of Kanban, check this out. I am working on a post devoted completely to the Kanban method and why it makes me so happy and why it makes me feel like Superwoman. I am also testing out a few different techniques, and once I find the sweet spot I will put together a template for those who are interested.

If you like to work solely online, check out Trello. 

 

4. WORK

I wish there was a magic button we could all push. But if you want to reach those goals, you’re gonna have to WORK.

One of my biggest inhibitors is my drive to be perfect. I want to get everything right the very first time. And you know what? That’s not realistic. It’s all together maddening and such a relief to know that I am going to fail. That I will mess up. That I will have to go back and correct things. But the good news is that with every mistake, every mishap and misstep… I will (hopefully) learn something. And end game? I just get better.

 

5. ANALYZE

You’ve made the goals, made a plan, and did a ton of work. Now you have to figure out what you’ve got to show for it.

What went right? How can you duplicate that? How can you build on your successes?

More importantly, what went wrong? How can you learn from it, what can you do to improve? Were your mistakes something easily tweaked, or should you consider a major rehaul?

These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself.

Of course, depending on your goals, you will need different tools for analyzing your outcome.

My favorite tool for keeping track of pretty much any data? A Google Spreadsheet. It’s available anywhere I have internet access. My phone, laptop, tablet. A public library. You get the point. It’s convenient and easy to use. Whether you are keeping tabs on inventory sold, customer’s contacted, pounds lost, miles ran, books read… a Google Spreadsheet will be there for you. Plus you can easily turn your data into pretty graphs for those who like colors and shapes.

 

2016 was kind of weird.

Ok, it was mean. It was scary.

But that just means 2017 has the potential to be epic.

2017 can be your best year ever.

How you nurture its potential is up to you.

Don’t be afraid to try new things, and do not be afraid of failing. Be afraid of NOT trying.

That’s some damn good advice, Carrie. Thanks for inspiring us.

 

 

 

 

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