How to Fight that Year-End Fatigue
Anyone who has gone to high school knows that during the last couple of weeks of senior year, you may be hit with something called “senioritis.” The symptoms include, but are not limited to feeling unmotivated, fatigued, unproductive, and overly self-critical. You want to do more but feel like you’re hitting roadblocks at every turn. Even long after senior year has passed, you may find yourself experiencing the same symptoms, especially in December. I call this event “year-end fatigue.” It is a feeling of mental, emotional, and physical burnout that occurs while trying to self-reflect on 2018 and set goals for 2019.
December is an incredibly jam-packed month. It is a month filled with holiday spirit and celebrating loved ones, but it is also a time where you start self-analyzing what you’ve accomplished over the past twelve months and what goals you want to set for yourself in the upcoming year. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Definitely sensory overload.
Why Year-End Fatigue Happens
It’s normal to feel out-of-sorts and unmotivated towards the end of the year. Why? First off, you start receiving out of office replies from colleagues or clients in your inbox, and you get a sense of envy. Why can’t you also be out of the office? Why aren’t you already on vacation? Feelings of envy lead to resentment towards yourself or the work environment. You ask yourself why you didn’t request time-off earlier or plan that vacation during the holidays? Or you may ask why your current work doesn’t encourage flex hours during the holidays? Lastly, you have worked so hard and are counting down the days for the year to be over. Maybe you had a great 2018 and are reminiscing about all the great times you’ve had, but like many of us, you are also itching for the ball to drop and 2019 to welcome and embrace you with new beginnings, opportunities, and a fresh start.
Personally, during the month of December, I beat myself up the most. I criticize myself for what I haven’t accomplished over the past year, what I could have done better, and why I’m not more successful and making more money. The list goes on and on. This blog definitely isn’t about a pity party and how critical I am about myself.
On the contrary, it is an opportunity to openly discuss why we beat ourselves up over not achieving a higher, overarching goal, and what steps you can take to continue moving forward and achieving small accomplishments, while still praising yourself. It’s changing your mindset from, “Man, I feel like I haven’t accomplished much this year,” to “Wow, I’ve done a lot of self-reflecting this year, have grown personally and professionally in many ways, and am looking forward to growing more in 2019!”
Let’s do this – Visualize, Write, Conceptualize, Achieve
Start visualizing what you want to accomplish. Make sure it’s practical. Sure, I’d love to be a CEO or famous actor and make 1 million dollars a month, but that would be really challenging to achieve especially if I don’t know how to act. Instead, set tangible goals like, “I would like to sign-up for a networking conference. I would like to run a 5K,” and so on and so forth.
Below, I have provided multiple worksheets that allow you to either:
1. Create a Vision Board (for the creative and artsy types),
2. Worksheet (for the writers and individuals who like to break down each element).
3. Questions Worksheet (for the self-aware and intuitive individuals).
“So for those of us who don’t have time to create a bullet journal from scratch, here are a few of the best productivity planners that you can buy today.”
We all want to be better and do more.
The majority of the individuals that I know state that they want to do more, achieve more, be better, keep growing, but there always seems to be a roadblock. This isn’t the moment when I say (like most self-help books might say), the roadblock is YOU. The truth is, it might be a lot of external factors. For example, you want to sign-up for a conference or training session, but that costs money – and you’re financial in a tight spot. You want to grow more in your current role at work, but your manager is not providing you the leverage to do so. Maybe it is self-doubt, maybe it’s not thinking you’re able to accomplish the task, or maybe the goal you set is so unattainable that nothing you do will get you closer to achieving it. So, what do you do?
1. Be Realistic.
Goal: I want to run a marathon, but I’ve never done it before. Well, that goal is achievable, but would be really challenging. Start by tweaking the goal to: I’d love to run more this year. You can easily research local 5K and 10K runs to get you motivated to start running in the first place. Then set a running schedule that works with your current work schedule and add it into your electronic calendar to send you reminders.
If you want to move to another state, break down how much it would cost, what you need to make, and start saving. It’s tangible and doable – you just have to be realistic on what can be achieved.
One of my goals for 2019 was to network more and find opportunities to meet individuals within my industry, so despite my discomfort of going to huge conferences solo, I pushed down that insecurity and signed up for a great conference in the new year.
2. Break it down.
This is where the planners and worksheets help. Create a call-to-action plan. I always work backward. For example, if you want to run a half marathon by November 2019, see how many 5K and 10K runs you need to sign up for in order to gain the confidence and physical stamina you need for the big event. Then start small and work your way up. Make it your goal to be comfortable running 3 – 5 miles a day and work toward 9 – 13 miles before the day of the race.
A personal goal of mine is to obtain more certifications in my industry. So I would need to research which certifications are available and work backward on how much time I need to study and which month I would like to take the test. This allows me to create a straightforward roadmap to achieving my goals.
3. Be gentle with yourself.
If you don’t meet your timeline, don’t beat yourself up. We all have slip-ups. Even when you’re on a “diet,” you still accidentally eat that double scoop mint chip ice cream in a waffle cone. Who cares? Instead of beating yourself up, give yourself a pat on the back for being human. I have set lots of goals for myself in 2018, and although I might have not achieved all of them, it doesn’t mean that they still can’t be accomplished. It just means my timeline has shifted, and things came up. Reset your priorities, and get back on track. See the year-end fatigue as a way to give yourself a break … a little breather before you hit the throttle again once January 1 starts.
Wow, that was a lot of information
The fact that you’re beating yourself up over not accomplishing all your 2018 resolutions means that you are a motivated goal-seeker! Blame it on the holiday cookies, like me, if you need to! But always remember to be kind to yourself, take a moment to write or visualize all that you have accomplished and how much you have grown compared to a few years ago. It's easy to dwell on that time you missed your goal or how you're not farther along, but you're wasting your energy on something that's in the past.
In reality, the new year doesn't really change anything but shifts our perspective and lets us put away events from the last year. We get to feel like one chapter is over and we're starting again. It reminds us that we always have another chance to start fresh. And that's what's important. To shift our perspective in order to start again and again.
Have any questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more!