Finish The Year Strong


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Can you believe we are already in the first week of December?  Just the other night my daughters were saying they feel like we just had Christmas.  Amazing how fast things come around again. 

It’s a busy time of year, isn’t it?  I've talked to so many folks in the last couple days who are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and challenged by the busyness of it all. Holiday Parties, check. Shopping, check. Kids’ events, check. Keep everything in control at work, check. End of year rush, check.

I get it. With three active kids, holiday performances and parties, clients, a business to run and a home to take care of, I know just how busy it can get! Yesterday started with a neighborhood pancake breakfast, followed by our family holiday decorating and finished with celebrating the first night of Hanukkah with friends (oh yes, with the power going out an hour before people were arriving).  With so much to do, it’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed. 

That’s why my challenge to you this month is to finish the year strong.  

Instead of using December as an excuse to NOT do all those things on your list, why not use it as a DEADLINE to get stuff done?!

Take control of the end of the year; don’t let the season sweep you into a shopping, party-filled, too-much-to-do frenzy; live this December with intention and a focused mindset.  You’ve put a lot of time effort and energy into this year already, and now’s your chance to reap the benefits and rewards.

My husband, who is in a sales role, talks to dozens of people a day.  You know what happens in December?  Yep, everyone says the same thing, “Call me in the New Year”.  I know it’s busy AND it’s also a great excuse… to procrastinate on that decision, you’ve been waiting to make, that thing you’ve been wanting to do, that commitment or goal you just haven’t gotten to yet. 

How many times have you thought this yourself in the past couple days?  I’ll just put that off until the New Year.  I’ll start that new exercise routine or diet in the New Year. I’ll look at my career in the New Year.  I’ll have that conversation in the New Year.  I’ll start that course in the New Year.  My guess is that most of those things you had on your list for this year, have now gone onto the list of “Things to do in the New Year”. 

But what if you could take a few of those things and cross them off your list now? What if you could finish strong and set yourself up for an even better 2019?  

Have you ever run a race or played in a sports game?  What happens towards the end of the game or the race?  Do you slow down, get overwhelmed or distracted and want to give up?  No, you do the exact opposite; you dig deep, garner all the energy you have and push to finish strong.  How many championships are won in the last 30 seconds with a crazy shot on goal, 3-point basket or sprint to the end? 

So are you ready to finish the year strong? 
Here are 8 ideas to help you finish strong and start 2019 on the right foot!

  1. Look at your goals from the beginning of the year.  Is there anything on that list that hasn’t happened yet, but you know you still have time to achieve?  Something important that you wanted to do or accomplish this year? You still have time. What can you do?

  2. Identify one thing you’ve been procrastinating on.  You know what it is.  For some reason you just keep pushing it off.  That website you wanted to finish? The article you wanted to write?  That call you need to make?  What’s the one thing you want to get OFF your list before you head into the New Year?  What would make you feel proud, excited (or maybe even relieved) to know you got it done as you head into 2019?

  3.   Imagine yourself on December 31st.  When you look back at the year, what will you wish you had done or accomplished?  This can be big or small.   Was it talking to your boss and asking for that raise or new project?  Getting that new haircut that’s been pinned on your wall?   Forgiving someone so you can enter the New Year with that off your chest?  Taking that painting class or online course you already purchased (my husband and I dove into one last night we bought months ago).  What do you need or want to do so you can look back and feel awesome about the year just gone, not with regret or disappointment about what didn’t happen.    

  4. Set yourself up for 2019.   What do you need to do to set yourself up for a great 2019?  Part of setting yourself up is finishing this year strong.  If you let go of everything, eat crap, stop exercising because you’re too busy, drink too much, eat too much and pile on the stress, how are you going to feel?  If you wake up January 1 hungover, 10 pounds overweight and exhausted, what impact will that have on your ‘fresh’ start?  Aim to finish this year strong.  Take control.  I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a glass of wine or a couple pigs in a blanket, I’m just saying that if you’re thoughtful about what you want in the New Year, you can start setting yourself up for success now.  Take that yoga class.  Start meditating.   Schedule that hike with a friend.  Start practicing daily rituals of gratitude. 

  5. Shift your mindset. Is there a negative attitude you want to shake; a limiting belief that keeps getting in your way; self-doubt or insecurities that prevent you from achieving your dreams.  Maybe you want to finish strong by going to see that therapist you’ve been meaning to see or booking an appointment with a coach you know can take you to the next level in your life or career.  I just booked an appointment for today with my coach to work on something I know is getting in my way. 

  6. What’s something that’s always in the back of your mind?  You know, that thing that is always nagging away in the background.  Putting extra money aside for savings?  Start now.    Reading that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand?  Read the first chapter.  Cleaning up the junk drawer in your room, or the closet you’ve been meaning to clean out?  Donate that stuff.  Booking that trip you’ve been talking about for years?  Do it.  There’s likely something you’ve been beating yourself up for not doing. There’s likely something hanging over your head.  Do that now. Get it off your list.   Or, make a decision NOT to do it and take it OFF the list.  That’s a powerful decision in and of itself. But letting it hang over you, stressed out that you haven’t done it or finished it is not healthy, drains your energy and just makes you feel bad. 

  7. Stop doing that.  Sometimes it’s as much about what we stop doing as it is about what we start doing.  What bad habit do you want to stop?  What would bring greater peace, joy, and ease to your life? Stop worrying so much. Stop beating yourself up and criticizing yourself.  Stop saying ‘yes’ when you really mean no.  Stop over-committing.  Stop complaining.  Is there something you want to stop doing? 

  8. Chill out.  Yes, amidst all of the suggestions of what you’re going to make happen, one of the things that you may need to make happen is to just relax.  Especially during this busy time, it’s especially important to take care of you.  Get that massage.  Go to bed early.  Take the yoga class you’ve been wondering about. Say ‘no’ to that party you really don’t want to go to.  Take the time to meditate, to self-reflect, to journal. In fact, winter is naturally a season when we start to wind down. In Ayurvedic tradition, this season is all about embracing stillness.

“Everywhere around you the natural world is withdrawing, going dormant, and embracing a long, dark, season of slumber. There is a particular stillness that characterizes winter, and with it comes a subtle invitation to redirect our own energies. The winter season holds the perfect antidote to the fast-paced mobility of the summer and fall. This is a time to rest, reflect, hold space, vision, hibernate, withdraw some of your outwardly-focused energy and redirect it inward.” [1]  

Use the natural rhythm of the season to ground, to connect to be still for a few moments. If you only practiced this, you’d start 2019 in a better mental space.

Pick One Thing

There’s a lot of suggestions here!  And they are only that, suggestions.  It’s about deciding what’s most important for you.  What will make the biggest difference to your health, your wellness, your happiness, your fulfillment, your success?   Pick just one thing (okay, maybe two).  What will make you feel accomplished? What will make you feel more in control, more confident, more relaxed or at peace as you finish this year?

Now What? 

There’s a saying,

“How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

Make December how you want to do everything.  Finishing the year strong will bring you strength and momentum.
Finish strong to start even stronger.  It’s the last 30 seconds of that game, the last 100 yards in that race. 
Now is your opportunity to push, to take advantage of all the work you’ve put in this year so far. 
Now is your time.
Let’s finish STRONG!!!!