January is here, and never are the winter doldrums and the winter blues more apparent than they are in January. I know I suffer from the winter blues every year, and I have found that having a few tips and tricks to beat the winter doldrums is key.
The truth is this. Both January and February can be such hard months, and in my neck of the woods, it’s not even the end of winter.
In January, the holidays just ended. In February, the newness of the new year has diminished, and this means that it can be really hard to stick to all of your best laid plans in the new year.
I think of January and February as the dog days of winter.
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I think when we welcome March, it’s a bit easier to feel a little extra pep in your step since spring is right around the corner. Just like the new year, this gives a feeling of all things new and almost a feeling of starting over. With all the new growth that will soon be happening outside, it is also pretty easy to feel a sense of new growth happening within as well. At least if you are anything like me.
So then, what is mid-January thru February?
To me, it is just this weird in between place, which is why I think it’s important to come up with a few ideas on how to keep the momentum from January going strong until March welcomes us into a new month.
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Write out one primary goal
Write out one specific and measurable goal you want to accomplish by the end of the month. Resist the urge to make it a goal that is easy. Put something out there that will challenge you, but make sure it is something you can measure. For instance, don’t say: exercise. Do say: spend three hours a week exercising every week in February. And, be sure to put it in writing.
Create three action steps toward that goal
With your goal in place, write three action steps that will make that goal happen. A goal is just an idea. It is the action steps that lead you there that really make it a goal.
Do something for just you every week
Do something that makes you feel good about yourself every week. For example, I love to read. I often read self help books or books that teach me about something I need or want to learn more about. But, I do also love to read fiction.
I love the escape that a really good inspirational fiction book can provide me. And, this is something I haven’t made the time for in the past few months. That escape makes me feel awesome while I am reading and for quite some time after I am done. I feel fulfilled, refreshed, and recharged even if I can only afford 15 minutes a day. But, this is on my list for February, and I picked up a few books from the library. I am so ready for this.
What refreshes you? Do this at least once a week in February. It could be a lifeline for you.
Plan something fun for the summer
We are planning a quick three day vacation for the summer this week. It is amazing how having these plans in place and written on the calendar can make the dog days of February seem not nearly as depressing.
I live in Michigan. Getting outside isn’t so nice quite often in February. But even when the weather is frigid, getting outside for a brisk 15 minute walk lifts my spirits and refreshes me. Sometimes it’s more refreshing than others. I’ll leave it at that 🙂
Make at least one new choice you can feel good about
Maybe you need to exercise a bit more, make healthier eating choices, or just spend more time with your kids. Whatever it is, make at least one choice you can feel good about every week.
February is usually the dreariest month here in Michigan, and it really makes the winter blues set in. But I can say, from personal experience, that these six things really do make a huge difference in getting through these tough weeks.