Happy New Year? So about January.

“Happy New Year!” right? The problems with “Happy New Year!” this year are:

  1. Not much has changed since December 31, 2020. The virus is raging, a virus variant that’s emerged threatens to make this whole thing even worse. Kids are still remote learning and it’s winter, so many of us are giving new meaning to hibernation.
  2. It’s not so happy for folks who are dealing with being sick, supporting family and close friends who are sick or trying really hard to stay safe so they don’t get sick before we can all get this vaccine.
  3. Our country continues to respond to a violent mob overtaking one of our most sacred American spaces and symbols of our democracy.

While I’m typically a “glass-half-full” kind of gal, I believe in being real. What’s real now is that January 1st rolled around and the new year feels like a continuation of the hardship that 2020 brought us. What doesn’t feel real is treating this January like any other January. I started receiving emails and posts starting in December, offering an array of new years’ resolution workshops, chances to build new habits or to take control of my destiny with my morning routine, give up alcohol and fast from social media. I think there are typically 3 groups of people when it comes to January: 

  1. The “Yes! Sign me up!”, New Year new me, people
  2. The “I have goals on my own schedule” people 
  3. The “nope, I don’t do goals” people

Typically, I’m in the middle of groups one and two. January does turn a new page. I like the symbolism of that, and I work on my own schedule. But, this January feels quite different. I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but my goodness.

If you’re like me, you crawled with all your might over the 2020 finish line (physically and emotionally spent), perhaps you took a holiday breather in your pajamas with the fam, and now your back at it. This month like me, you may be experiencing a revulsion from deep in the pit of your stomach when you see offers to take control of your life and health, make a plan for your best year yet, and take 30 days to meditate your way into a new you. Don’t get me wrong, I geek out about personal growth, on most days, I even teach it.

What’s the reality right now though? My zoom eyes on January 4th looked so fresh. I was rested (kind of), alive, you could see my eyeballs on the screen. By Friday, the dark circles could have swallowed my eyes up whole.

If you’re someone like me, here’s what I want to say to us:

This is not a normal January.  The world is not okay, yet. It will get much better, but we’re still working on it. You do not need to reinvent yourself this month. In fact, take January off from personal growth activities. Know that whatever you are doing to keep yourself and your family going is very much enough. You are living and working and leading through a global pandemic and through some next-level social and political unrest. Let that sink in.

Instead of going after the “best you”, what would it look like to go after rest, breaks, and sleep? What would it look like to have a goal of sinking into the couch and just breathing for a few minutes, by yourself?

Sure, take in the offers. Let them simmer. Maybe sometime this year, you would like to drink more water, or set up professional growth goals, even read those leadership books. Maybe sometime this year you would like to try out some meditation or get your mornings together, take an online class or join a cause that matters. If that’s true, you go get it. But, please, not this month.

This month make your stretch goal, just thinking about what you might like to try, maybe. If you’re especially tired, think about a couple of very small things to try, maybe in February or March.  And, if you don’t “get after it” or take on any of those things from those offers this year and you still manage to keep yourself and your family going, you will have still accomplished a monumental feat. Keep reminding yourself of that.

Jen Margolis

About Jen Margolis

My passion is helping people find and use their strengths to move toward their biggest vision. My career began as a community organizer with refugees and grew to designing and facilitating programs for international professionals including grassroots women leaders in Egypt. These experiences led me to management consulting focusing on strategic planning, leadership development, community and education based program development and executive coaching.