I was speaking to several very successful women at an event a few weeks ago, and as the conversation turned to the upcoming holidays and end of the year, every single one of them told me the same thing: they felt worn down, disappointed in their progress, and desperate to fit “just one more thing” in the year.
The truth is, I’ve been feeling like that too. Even though I know that the end of the year is just an intellectual construct, and that we’re just experiencing a change in season, I’ve been feeling the drive to push that last little bit, to drive myself and cram in as much as I can before the holidays start.
So why is it that we’re all getting this perception that time is speeding up and life is getting hard now?
We’re at that time of the year when we start to do a bit of a sum up. You know how it goes: you set yourself goals and targets at the beginning of the calendar year, and as that year draws to a close, you’ll naturally be checking your progress.
This is all fine — in fact, it’s good to review your year, especially as we go into this more feminine, inward-facing season. But what’s not good is the tendency to see a shortfall in your progress and to try to rectify it in an infinitesimally short period of time.
Now, intellectually, we all know that it’s impossible to squeeze six months of results into the last few weeks of the year. But emotionally and energetically, that’s exactly what your ego (that fear based, limbic part of your brain) wants to do. Combine that drive to do it all with the natural annual cycle of drawing in and doing less, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
So does this mean that you should just give up and coast for the last few weeks of the year? Absolutely not! You can still be incredibly fruitful during this short time, but only if you really lean into your soft power.
Step one: replenish your energy!
This is the first principle of soft power for a reason: if your energy is depleted, you can’t really do anything! So ask yourself, when’s the last time you had a soft play date? What about a moment of spontaneous luxury? If you’re like me, this is the time of year when those habits tend to go out the window, so make sure that you’re keeping up with them!
“But Jo,” you might say, “I’ve been doing all that and I’m still stressed!”
If you’re doing all of your self care habits and you’re still finding yourself worn down, the answer’s simple: do more self care! It just makes sense that you might need to do more to keep your energy topped up when things are so crazy, so try squeezing in a few more mini soft play dates, invest in an extra session with your coach, or do whatever else it takes to see yourself through this time. Which brings us to…
Step two: stop undermining yourself.
As you’re doing all this summing up, I’m guessing that you’re looking primarily at your shortfalls. While it is important to acknowledge them, it’s also crucial that you look at how far you’ve come. So try to reframe your summing up time into more of a celebratory acknowledgement phase. I bet you’ve come much further than you think!
If you’re struggling with this, make sure that you’re also looking at those less obvious things that you’ve achieved. So maybe you didn’t meet your financial goals, but you had a really great foundational year that’s going to set you up for incredible success in the years to come. Or maybe this has been a year where your Sorceress has been at work, drawing your attention to some huge breakthroughs in your inner wisdom. However your year was, whatever you did or didn’t tick off your to do list, I know you’ve done amazing things, so don’t discount them.
So over the next few weeks, here’s what I want you to do: either in your morning writing or as part of another exercise, make it a point to get present to what you have achieved this year.
And take the pressure off yourself! If you remove the deadline perspective and remember that it’s just another change in the seasons, you’ll find that you have the space to take better care of yourself and be grateful to yourself for how far you’ve come.
Now, time to implement. Tell me one thing that you’re really proud of accomplishing this year below in the comments. C’mon ladies, don’t be shy — let’s celebrate!
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