If the year is a marathon, most of us are crossing the finish line exhausted. But we're also gearing up for the next big race.
It's well known that entrepreneurs balance heightened stress year-round, so the added pressure of the holidays only adds to the risk of burnout. Despite the chaos, most founders are planning for big growth in the new year.
Here's the catch: none of your plans will work if you walk into the office in January, still totally fried from the stress of last year.
I know from past experience that I absolutely need to recharge if I want to be on my A-game in January. Combining my methods with those of other founders, here are the top strategies to recover from exhaustion and start the new year with renewed energy and intention.
1. Scrap the new year's resolution and reflect on 2018 with future journaling.
The science behind how the brain perceives information is pretty crazy. The more you align your mind with where you want to go, the more likely it is that you'll get there. One of the most effective ways I change my mindset is through future journaling. This is different from setting a new years resolution because you're not setting the intention, you're reflecting on the results of fulfilling your intention.
Grab your journal and start a new entry dated December 31st, 2018. Now imagine you're writing a journal entry at the end of next year. Ask your future self: What all have you accomplished personally and professionally in 2018? What are you grateful for? How do you feel now that you've accomplished everything you've set out to do?
You can also use this technique for short-term goals. Nervous about a big sales meeting coming up? Journal about how you closed the deal. Planning for a presentation? Journal about how well it went and what's changed as a result.
2. Power down your phone, laptop and other devices and go tech-free for a few days.
You're probably already familiar with the idea of the digital detox. There's plenty of research out there that a digital detox can benefit your relationships, sleep and health -- and, it forces you to take space and distance from work.
But what if you don't have extended time off for the holidays? Fit a mini digital detox into your work day. One great way to do this comes from Garrett Curry, founder of Raygun Workshop. "Leaving my phone in the car creates an entirely different experience when I meet a friend at a cafe," he said. "I get to stare out the window while I wait. I get to notice interior design, the song that's playing, people passing by and the trees and the sky."
We can't all fit in a week-long vacation to somewhere without cell service, but we can all survive a few hours (or days) without tech. Close your laptop and turn off your phone for as long as you can over the holidays. Your friends and family will thank you.
3. Prime your mindset for a successful year by reworking your gratitude practice.
Science says that practicing gratitude can make you happier. There are other ways to practice gratitude than writing down 3 things you're grateful for every night. If you're feeling stuck in a rut, try changing your gratitude practice.
One way is to practice gratitude during exercise or other daily activities. Robert Preville, CEO and founder of KWIPPED, thinks about one thing he's grateful for every flight of stairs he walks to the office. "That's 14 opportunities to be grateful for 14 wonderful things in my life before I even start my work day." From my experience, this can work extremely well, especially if you're also setting goals around physical activity.
Another habit I've formed is to not only reflect on the things I'm grateful for now, but also what I'll be grateful for in the future. This works especially well if I'm adopting a new habit or stopping an old one. Reflecting on how grateful I am that I've made the change makes it much easier to change.
Mix up your gratitude practice and reflect on what you're currently grateful for and what you will be grateful for in 2018. When you start priming your mindset for the changes you want to see in the new year, the battle's already half won.
These strategies have helped me reprogram my mindset and be my best self for my team. If you're feeling a little burned out, give these strategies a try to start the new year fresh.