What to Do When January Didn’t Go as Planned (Productive Flourishing Pulse #466)
Hint: it’s not “double down” or “beat yourself up”
As we’re finishing the last full week of January, and February is just around the corner, you might be feeling one of these:
“Oh fork, I lost a month!”
“I’m so buried under everything that’s come up this month, there’s no way I’m getting to what I really planned to do.”
“I have the winter blues and work isn’t helping.”
“I knew I took on too much but I really wanted to be able to do #allthethings this year.”
January can be hard. And a lot of that challenge is less about the month itself (it really only has 31 days, just like five other months in the year) than it is about the expectations we put on ourselves for what we were going to accomplish in it. New year, new you! Start the year strong!
Next week we’re going to take a little time to review January and do a reset for February. But this week, I’m going to encourage you to consider an alternate way of approaching the end of January: giving yourself some grace.
I also want to acknowledge that you may consciously or unconsciously know that all the extra-ness around January doesn’t fit your actual seasonality. I’ll say more about this in the coming weeks, but today I wanted to send a knowing nod your way if you’re so done with everybody (including me) talking about January’s “new” or “high” energy.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
So the month didn’t work out how you planned. You didn’t complete what you set out to do for any number of reasons. But regardless of those reasons why (which we’ll unpack next week), I encourage you not to beat yourself up about them, even if you’re feeling the vibe of Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero.” (“It’s me / Hi! / I’m the problem, it’s me.”)
Remind yourself that you are already worthy as a human being, no matter what you do, accomplish, or create. Your doing, accomplishments, or creations are not what constitutes your worth.
Check in with your body. Are you short on sleep, water, nutrition, exercise, or even oxygen because you’re breathing’s too shallow? Which of these can you fix immediately?
Spend some time with loved ones, either humans or the furry kind. Oxytocin can do wonders.
Recommit to your self-care habits. Or, if one more habit/resolution is going to tip you over the edge, then pick your most generative self-care habit and do it once. No pressure to continue the streak. Just grab the benefit of (and in) the moment.
Consider pausing inputs (at least for a while). Social media can often create comparisonitis, which only exacerbates our feelings of inadequacy.
Take a pause from that project that’s frustrating you. If beating your head against the wall isn’t getting it done, a pause might help you see where you can go over, under, around, or through. With some distance, you might see a window or door you didn’t notice before. Intentionally pausing is not necessarily the same as task-switching.
Find ways to incorporate more joy (more on this in a future post).
What’s your go-to life preserver for your self-worth when you’re struggling?
Other News & Features
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Reads and Seeds
- ’s Too Many Layers is another fire piece that addresses the layers of stress we have. Breaking complex patterns down into their addressable parts is so helpful. Which layer, if addressed, would make the most difference for you?
I love howdistinguishes between niceness and kindness in Niceness Sucks. We need more courageously kind people in the world and far fewer nice people.
“I was a philosopher before I knew what it was to be one and have remained one even as I’m not sure what it means to be one.” —journal seed
“That discomfort you’re feeling is part of the shift of playing your infinite game. You’re no longer doing something because it gets some other reward that you care about; you’re doing it because doing it is what you care about. It can be hard to orient to that when you’re setting goals.” —Me, to a coaching client
“You’ve made that a problem to solve, but I’m not sure it is one. How would you approach it if it was a neutral constraint or merely something that will pass?” —Me, to a coaching client