Overcoming the blahJanuary has never been my favorite month. The cold, blustery days seem shorter, and the cold is never ending. After the joy of the holidays, it can feel like January is a letdown, a disappointment, making it very easy to fall prey to a case of the blahs.
Making things even more stressful, we have developed the idea that we need to create resolutions, make promises to ourselves that we will improve and change. Creating a list of things we want to change can be overwhelming and cause us to fall off the wagon. Failing to complete our list will add to our feelings of blah.
Rather than making a list of resolutions, things we want to change about ourselves, what if we created a list of the things we are grateful for? What if we spent the month of January thanking our bodies for the hard work they do, for our muscles that carry us through the days? Rather than listing what needs to change, we could list what we love and work on making that better.
Years ago, when I started my leadership journey, I discovered the Gallup Institute. Rather than focusing on our weaknesses, what we need to improve, they taught us to focus on our strengths and learn how to better develop them. This idea appealed to me. I knew I would be much more successful working to improve my strengths than focusing on my weaknesses. The Gallup Institute taught me to know what my weaknesses are, to own them, and how to recognize them as strengths in other people. As a leader, the goal is to build a team whose strengths are your weaknesses. When done correctly, this process creates powerful teams who can accomplish anything.
I would like to challenge you to use this same thought process and apply it to your life. List your strengths. What skills, tasks come naturally to you? What can you do easily that for others is a challenge? What do people ask you for help with? Once you identify these skills, or strengths, you can work on developing them, making them your superpowers.
In the areas you would like to improve in, but that maybe are not your strong areas, focus on making small changes, set realistic goals. Rather than saying you will run a 5K, work on meeting a goal of 10,000 steps a day, then run your driveway, then a block, and so on. Create a plan which will empower you to be successful, not plans that will set you up for failure.
Most importantly, remember to celebrate your victories. As you meet your goals, as you move through your plan, take a minute to stop and enjoy your progress. Do something for you, recognize your achievement, and then while you are still basking in the glory of your accomplishment, start on the next step. Remember, doing what is hard today, will make it easier tomorrow.
Focusing on your strengths and working to achieve realistic goals will help you fight off the blahs. If you feel the blahs creeping back in, volunteer. Volunteering will always lift your spirits. Doing something kind for someone who cannot pay you back is a guaranteed fix for the blahs.