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Do you need this month to be Fresh Start February?

So often we enter the new year full of hopes and dreams, fueled by our goals and plans. We try to “hit the ground running” only to trip and fall flat on our faces.

If that sounds like you this year, give yourself some grace. Get up (or let someone help you up) and give yourself permission to start again. Give yourself permission to start slow. You don’t have to hit the ground running. Walking is just fine.

February is my birthday month, so it always feels like a fresh start for me. It’s like my own personal New Year. But you deserve a Fresh Start February too. Here’s how to give yourself the new beginning you need.

Reflect on Your Last 31 Days

Break out your journal and ask yourself two simple questions: What worked last month and what didn’t?

No matter how bad January may have seemed, you probably got something done. What helped you achieve that goal or complete that task? Or maybe you showed up for yourself or someone else or showed up as your authentic self in ways that surprised you. What gave you the courage to do so?

But also reflect on what didn’t work. If you were on the struggle bus in January, get honest with yourself and figure out why.

Reassess Your Goals

Take a moment to reassess your goals for the first quarter and the year. Are you trying to do too much? Are you tackling goals that don’t align with your vision for your life? Are you ignoring areas of your life that need more attention right now? Postpone or purge those goals that you determine shouldn’t be a priority right now and recommit to the ones that should. Spend some time journaling about why these are your goals. Stay focused on your why when the road gets bumpy.

Revamp Your Routine

You may need this month to be Fresh Start February because your schedule seems out of control. If so, you need to revamp your routine. Start by creating an Ideal Week (you can use this template from Day Designer). When doing so, make sure your ideal week includes time for writing and self-care and time to work on the goals that you’ve decided are your priorities this year. Then when you plan your week each Sunday, you can strive to make your plans as close to this ideal week as possible.

Reprioritize Your Self-Care

One thing about me — if I don’t prioritize self-care, my whole life will fall apart. I know that sounds dramatic but I’ve learned that being busy isn’t stressful for me. In fact, I thrive when my schedule is full. But if I’m so busy that I’m not making time to do things I enjoy, that’s when I start ranting about my life being in shambles. So I must make time to exercise, journal, pray, and hang out with my loved ones. What self-care activities nourish you most? How can you make more time for them?

It may seem counterintuitive to add more activities to your schedule when you’re already busy, but research has shown that adding hobbies or acts of self-care actually can help prevent burnout. These things help increase your capacity. Remember this: if you can’t take anything off your plate, make sure what’s on your plate fills you up.

Realign with Your Vision

You know that saying, Dress for the job you want not the one you have. I’m not sure that adage applies in our work-from-home era but the sentiment is worth holding on to. We need to act as if we are the writers we dream of being. Sometimes this is a mindset shift. Sometimes this is simply calling yourself a writer. But this may also mean you need to shift your priorities and how you spend your time. You say you want to be a best-selling author but you spend all your free time watching TV or scrolling social media instead of writing. I’m not saying you need to give up those things. I love me some Netflix and the ‘Gram. But what if we make catching up on our shows our reward after we’ve reached our word count goal for the week?

For me, this realignment means adjusting how I spend my work hours. As much as I love being a full-time freelance writer, that’s not why I quit my teaching job. I left the classroom so that I could grow See Jane Write. But I spend almost all of my time doing freelance writing work and See Jane Write gets my leftover energy. This must change. I need to act like the CEO I dream of being.

What are your plans for Fresh Start February?