Unlike many children and teenagers, I was always thrilled when back-to-school time rolled around again. For me, all new classes, fresh notebooks, and the lingering opportunity to make this year even better than the last inspired a sense of excitement -- rather than dread.
Off I'd go, with my new pencil case and trapper keeper in tow, ready to make the very most of the school year that stretched out in front of me.
Once I wrapped up my education and my life was no longer broken up by yearbooks and semesters, though, that excitement started to wane. I fell into the monotony of my daily life, with no defining moment indicating it was time to press the reset button.
But, recently, I had a thought: With youngsters preparing to head back into the classroom themselves, what's stopping me from using this time to refresh my focus and career? Why can't I leverage that thrilling back-to-school mentality and apply it to my own life -- even if I'm well past graduation?
Needless to say, that's exactly what I decided to do. Here are four strategies I'm using to capitalize on that back-to-school mindset and start fresh in both my personal and professional life.
1. Set new goals.
Forget New Year's resolutions -- now is the perfect time to outline some new objectives for yourself.
Whether you want to land a promotion, achieve a certain certification, or grow your business, figure out some specific things you want to accomplish in the next 10 months or so and develop an action plan to achieve them.
You've likely hit a slump with your resolutions by this point anyway (if not far earlier!), so there's nothing wrong with refreshing them right now.
2. Reorganize your workspace.
Remember how exciting it was to get a new locker, shiny school supplies, a different schedule, and all new classrooms? That revamped environment had a way of renewing your focus.
Fortunately, you can do that same thing for yourself. Take some time to clean through your computer files. Organize your workspace. Add a new desk decoration or two.
Do whatever you want to freshen up your desk area, and you'll feel far more likely to tackle your to-do list and career goals.
3. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Chances are, you didn't go through each and every school year doing the exact same thing. It was a time for exploration, and you likely challenged yourself to try some different activities and extracurriculars.
There's no reason you can't do that same thing now. Whether there's a work project you want to spearhead or a workout class you've been meaning to try, figure out what you can do to go beyond the safety of your daily routine and push your boundaries.
That alone is enough to reinvigorate your excitement and passion!
4. Drop your baggage.
The start of a new school year always seemed to signify a chance to reinvent yourself. You finally got to ditch and drop the things you didn't like about last year and swiftly replace them.
While you might not get that same clean break in your adult life, it's still a fitting time to cut loose the things that are no longer benefitting you.
Maybe it's a commitment that keeps dragging you down or an association you no longer want to be a part of. Or, perhaps it's something more major, such as starting to explore a total career change.
Either way, look at this as your opportunity to let go of the things that aren't bringing you value in order to open up space for things that will!
You may not be heading back to school anytime soon. But, that doesn't mean you can't capitalize on that exciting mentality. Use these tips and strategies, and you're sure to get a much-needed mid-year boost!