Another trip around the sun begins. With it comes for many a new fiscal year or at the very least a laundry list of new goals, KPIs, and resolutions (personal or otherwise). Enthusiasm for a new year can get us out of the gate with gusto but keeping the momentum going past Valentine’s day takes dedication and often inspiration. Finding ways to inject this energy is essential as we try to tackle a challenges of 2022.
Before you get consumed with the rush of the year and caught beneath a stack of reports and meetings, have a look back at the year that was. This is a great place to start your journal for the year – a safe place to leave your honest thoughts. Taking stock of what worked and what didn’t in 2021 helps to squeeze the last drops of value out of the experiences from the last 12 months. Given that this is a space for only your ideas and musings, you can and must be honest. Review both the personal and professional lessons learned and the ways in which you aim to retain the strategies and tactics that won the day and the behaviours and elements that you will jettison.
With this in mind, set the stage for the next 52 weeks. What do you wish to accomplish and what kind of leader do you aim to be? Make record of this and have it in a place that can be easily revisited. This is a document that will keep you accountable.
In case you were wondering, this is you! Think for a moment about your energy level. After what I hope was a relaxing holiday and fuelled by eggnog and Netflix, tackling January with renewed energy may feel like an easy task. Prolonging this zest for the new year, however, can be a tricky proposition. Luckily there are tactics that can easily be employed in your jammed schedule to help you keep your batteries charged all year round.
Nature – A January 2020 article published by Jim Robbins via Yale titled “Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health” notes that 120 minutes of weekly exposure to nature can help build a sense of health and well-being. This doesn’t have to be completed in one session, but can be stretched across many instances and activities.
“These studies have shown that time in nature — as long as people feel safe — is an antidote for stress: It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood” reports Robbins. “Attention Deficit Disorder and aggression lessen in natural environments, which also help speed the rate of healing.”
Not sure where to start? How about your own backyard? Check out alltrails.com for a fantastic list of options regardless of your location.
Stretching – With temperatures dropping, so too can our activity levels. Many organizations are still in a work from home or blended approach that can leave us feeling even more tied to screens. Undoubtedly you have read any number of reports noting the ill effects of this sedentary lifestyle. Small steps added to your routine, allowing you to break free of the mousepad, can add up. Well known in the Crossfit community and author of “Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World”, Kelly Starrett offers many simple and affordable (if not free) tactics to keep your body working for you. One such resource, a 10 minute stretching routine can be found at thereadystate.com
Art – In her 2016 TedTalk, Stephanie Smith presents her arguments for considering art as an essential practice that can fuel personal growth. The peace that comes with painting or photograph is often accompanied by high levels of presence and concentration – all ingredients in a healthy mindfulness practice. Music and the immersion into one of your favourite songs can also bring comfort and energy. Not sure? Consider the joy and foot tapping energy in any one of Earth, Wind & Fire’s classics. Consider starting a go to energy boosting playlist of your own in Spotify or Apple music.
Throughout history, many have considered the role of the muse in capturing inspiration. A common theme amongst experts from Stephen Pressfield (“The War of Art”) to Stephen King (notably in “On Writing”) is the need to do the work. If you are looking for a bolt of ingenuity you must sit and put in the repetitions. Whether it is fiction or non-, comedy, entrepreneurial ideas or new strategies, one must find time each day dedicated to working on our ideas. This is a great way to start each day. If you are looking for a guide and practical tool for developing your work and thoughts, try the bestselling book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
Despite your current position and the successes you have achieved, the greats of this time and from history have much to teach you.
They say that you are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with most so why not try to surround yourself with the greats? Make the leaders of the yesteryear and today your personal advisory board. Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of Titans” and “Tribe of Mentors” offer up a fantastic array of business, community, and social leaders for examination. Also consider NPR’s “How I Built This” podcast hosted by Guy Raz or the popular online repository of learning Masterclass.
Don’t overlook those in our own community that you admire. Ask around and start creating your own list of leaders who your colleagues consider inspiring. Following their activities on LinkedIn or even picking their brain over a coffee is a way to get some home-grown inspiration.
Finally, after considering some of the tactics above and trying them out for yourself, create a daily routine designed to fit into your available time and aimed at keeping your inspiration and energy flowing all year round.