Okay, so it’s January again, and the signs are everywhere: It’s dark between 4 p.m. and 9 a.m. with grey, dull & rainy weather staring back at us from every window (including the car) we look out of; grocery box-boys are busy scraping off the final Christmas mural remnants from store windows, and let’s not forget the overwhelming sense of “What? It’s over already?!” we all feel in our guts as we sink back into our “same old, same old” pre-holiday routines again.
Yep, come January the whole “holiday season” disappears, and quick! You know that sugar rush you get on Christmas morning when – after overindulging in Turtles washed down with coffee and Baileys – your body crashes, going from “Wow, Yummy!” to “OMG – WTF?” in 60 seconds, leaving you wondering when you’ll get back to normal again? Yup, that’s the same feeling January has in store for you – only this time, it lasts 31 days!
Despite all the advice that I’ve heard on how to “beat” the January blahs, (“drink more water”, “sleep more”, etc. – are you kidding me?) it seems to me the only thing to do with January is to accept it for what it is, and then bravely solider through it with an eye on the longer days in February. And by “soldier on” I don’t mean going to “Boxing Month” sales or drowning our sorrows at pubs, restaurants or at any of the other expensive (& mind-numbing) activities that crop up at this time of year to tempt us to part with our cash; no, I mean it’s time to take stock in where we are, where we want to be next month, and then spend January working towards filling in the gaps as much as possible.
In other words, the best way to beat the January blahs is to tackle your goals head on, and with a vengeance. Do this, and you won’t have any time left to be grumpy about the crappy, shitty weather outside … even if you do, it won’t be so bad since you are keeping so busy, it won’t be as much of a distraction – Trust me on this one!
As outlined in my earlier post about goal setting, getting from Point A to Point B is all about having a plan, then working the plan; so here are a few tips to help get the ball rolling and keep you on track until February. If you keep yourself busy, you should have got enough traction and made some major steps forward in the goals you are trying to achieve. Who know? Maybe even in some cases, you’ll develop a few good habits along the way!
So if you’re ready, let’s get started with our 2015 goals in…
CAREER/WORK: If you want to either (a) get a better job this year, or (b) get a promotion, start by making a list of the various ways that could help you achieve this. Once the list is made, start implementing these ideas, and remember to bring your “A” game to everything you do… no-one wants to hire/promote a “Negative Nellie”, right? Remember, the only way to move forward is to take action!
Having said that, if you don’t want either of these things, then I suggest simply hanging around the water cooler, and catching up on the latest gossip…
FINANCES: Christmas tends to be expensive, and hopefully you don’t have a ton of bills coming in from it. (Tip for the future: If possible, NEVER go in debt for Christmas – it makes an already-shitty January much easier to take!) Spend January being as frugal as possible, and ride out the whole month this way with the goal to spend the very least amount that you need to. This will help you get a control of what you need to do with your money in 2015.
Food: When possible, instead of buying groceries eat only the food already in your freezer and cupboards – you’d be surprised what you can come up with using a can of tomato sauce and those brown things in the bottom of the freezer drawer!
Entertainment: Rather than going out and blowing cash on entertainment, stay in and watch D.V.D.s (or better, Netflix) with your friends, or with your cat – if this is the case, don’t forget the catnip – a “wound up” cat is pretty entertaining.
Buying Crap: Make sure you don’t get “sucked in” buying things you don’t need, just because they are “ON SALE!”. Pay cash for everything, and look for ways to scrimp and save even the smallest amounts (Bank card fees anyone?) for a full 31 days.
Do these things, and when you review your finances at the end of the month you’ll be shocked (in a good way) at (a) how much you didn’t spend, and more importantly (b) how much you actually saved… Awesome! Won’t this feel better than seeing another bloated visa bill in Februarys post? The bottom line is that you want to enter the 2nd month with a clear clean idea of where you stand financially – you can make informed decisions from there on how to move forward. For even more awesome tips on saving big dough, check this link!
TRAVEL: If taking a trip is on your list, begin by spending a day researching where you want to go, what it will cost, best time of year to go, etc. and then create a realistic budget so that you can actually make it happen. Put all of this information somewhere you can see it all day, everyday… maybe like on a goals board! This is a sure way to stay motivated, and keep your eye on your goal of tropical beaches, Mai Tais, or brilliant sunsets… or maybe even a week in Portland, Oregon!
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT/LEADERSHIP: What do you want to do to improve yourself in 2015? How do you want to grow as a person? What kind of skills do you want to master? If you’re not sure, here’s a bunch of inspirational posts for you to get the juices flowing; however, if you know what you want to do this year, then what are you waiting for? GET STARTED! Just take the first steps, and get the ball rolling on whatever it is you want to learn.
Do you want to learn how to cook Thai Food? Ballroom Dance? Improve your public speaking? Research the classes, sign up and get going – there’s no time like the present – besides, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a great time once you do.
Still stuck? Why not read a good book to get inspired? Here’s a list of my favourites…
HEALTH: Many people feel the gym memberships are overpriced, usually citing that they can run or go for a walk for free… then usually sit at home and play video games or Facebook the day away. And while this may be true about the cost, rememember we are talking about two different workouts; and personally, I think that gyms only seem expensive when people pay for them but don’t use them… duh! If you have a membership, then go!
Seriously, that’s the answer – don’t say you are too tired, or your legs are sore, etc. – I’ve learned the key to the gym is not to push 110% like some crazed Russian steroid freak every time you are there (because hey, people are WATCHING you!!) but to simply just go and do the work. In other words, if you’re not feeling motivated, then just go and bench 75% of your best weight or set the treadmill for 5 instead of 6 and run for 30 minutes; this way you get some exercise, as well as train your brain to accept the idea that exercising is something that you can always do – this is the best muscle of all to develop – the “can-do” muscle…
If you are crazy like us and cleansing or quitting booze for a while, I suggest you get started sooner, so you can (a) get in the habit fast, and (b) get these unnaturally conditions over with sooner than later! I’m on day 7 of no liquor, and well I’ve definitely thought about a beer once or twice (or ten times) I’m proud that I’m staying the course… apparently, so is my bank account! We’re prepping for our cleanse, and Friday is “D-Day” (or is that “C-Day”?) – All I know is at this point, I can’t wait for Saturday morning…
So there you have it; some great ways to beat out the January Blah’s by gettin’ busy and “kick starting” your 2015 goals! Stay focused on your various journeys; if you do, you’ll find the dingy days fly by, and in no time you’ll see the sunshine come out again! Remember, time flies quickly whenever we have a prize (or five) to keep our eyes on, and work toward achieving – which is really what we are trying to achieve here. I’ve learned that once such tasks become habitual, they become easier and easier – and before you know it, you’ll have actually fully achieve some of the goals you set out to accomplish!
So let’s “Re-Frame” January as a month of toughing through the early days of new beginnings by keeping busy, and working towards worthwhile goals. Remember to stay the course, and then regroup at the end of the month to check you progress. When February shows up, relish how far you’ve come, and all the good stuff you’ve brought forth into your life – I’m sure you’ll be proud of all you’ve accomplished.