How to reset and refresh for the rest of the year
As we approach the second half of the year, now is a really great time to pause and take a moment to reset and refresh for the rest of the year. It can be so easy to get swept up in the busyness of life and fall into the trap of living on autopilot, where you’re going through the motions or feel like you’re on a treadmill, running for your life. You don’t look left and you don’t look right, because you think you’re going to fall off. But the truth is, slowing down and taking a moment to look around and consider the direction you’re headed and the pace you’re running at is exactly what’s needed to make sure you’re living a life that’s true to your values, and that you’re taking care of yourself so that you don’t burn out.
Here’s a simple 5-part process you can follow to reset and refresh for the rest of the year:
1. CREATE SPACE
One of the greatest challenges we see women facing is not having enough time, space, strategies or support to get off the never-ending treadmill and consider what is missing that would bring them more fulfillment and joy. But this is where we need to start. If you want to reset and refresh for the rest of the year, you need to create some space to reflect on what’s working, what’s not working, where you need to shift your energy and focus and what you need to let go of.
A gentle reminder here that you can start small. This isn’t about creating an enormous amount of space in an already full life. It’s about carving out an intentional window of time to reflect on your priorities for the rest of the year, decide what you can let go of, get clear on your needs and consider how you will make time for you and your wellbeing for the rest of 2023.
Take a moment now to block out some space in your calendar for this reflection. Do you have 30 mins available this week? If your schedule is looking incredibly packed, where else could you find the time? Could you switch off your phone an hour earlier one evening this week, pour yourself a cup of tea, and sit down with a notebook to work through this process? Could you set aside a small window of time this weekend to take yourself to a cafe and have some me-time?
Creating space is a beautiful act of self-care and something we often forget to do. It’s about finding those mini moments in your day and in your week just to be with yourself in quiet reflection. It’s about having the courage to get honest about where your time is actually going and establishing some healthy boundaries to protect what’s most important to you.
2. CLARIFY YOUR PRIORITIES
Once you’ve created a pocket of space for yourself, the next step is to clarify your priorities for the rest of the year. At the end of the day, what is it that’s really important to you? And when it comes to the rest of 2023, what are the things you’d like to make progress on?
It can be so easy to take on way too many things, particularly as women, and get caught up in feelings of overwhelm and trying to be everything to everyone. Pretty soon you’re running on empty and it doesn’t feel like you’re making headway on much, if anything. Clarifying your priorities is about taking a step back and getting honest about what’s important to you. It might feel like everything’s important, but the reality is, that’s simply not true. It’s time to let go of some of the things on your plate and be discerning.
If you’re feeling stuck with where to begin, here’s what I’d suggest. Take 2 pieces of paper and create 2 lists. On the first piece of paper, think about your career. Write a list of everything you’re currently working on and what’s on the agenda for the rest of 2023. Once you have it all written down, take a moment to pause and look at the list. What are the things on your list that are truly important? What are the things that really have to get done by the end of the year? What is going to move the needle the most when it comes to the projects you’re working on? What must be done by you, versus what could be delegated to someone else? What can come off the list altogether? If you’re finding these questions difficult to answer, or you’re unclear about what’s most important in your role this year, this is the perfect time to ask for that clarification from your manager or team.
On the second piece of paper, do a download for your personal life. What do you currently have on your plate? What goals or habits you’re working on? And what do you know is coming up before the end of the year? Think about your wellbeing, your social life, your relationships, your creativity, your home environment, your family commitments, your finances, your spirituality. Where do you want to focus your time and energy? Once you’ve created this master list, it’s time to be discerning and cut it back. When you look at your list, what matters the most to you? What do you want to be able to say you’ve done or achieved by the end of 2023? If you had to pick a maximum of 3 priorities, what would they be?
3. DECIDE WHAT TO LET GO OF
Following on from the last step, an important part of clarifying your priorities is about deciding what to let go of. Because the truth is, you can’t do it all. No one can. And if you want to reset and feel refreshed for the rest of the year, then chances are, you’ll need to let go of some things.
One of the most satisfying and powerful things you can do is create a different type of list. A stop-doing list.
Take a moment to look at those lists you created with the different things you have going on in your career and your personal life - the tasks, the events, the commitments, the goals, and the ways you’re currently spending your time and energy.
As you think about all of these things, reflect on where you can free up some time. What can come off the list? What can be delegated to someone else? What are the things you need to stop doing so you can feel more balanced and emotionally well?
There might be specific tasks, events or commitments you can take off your to-do list, or it might be that you need to change some habits and unhelpful behaviours.
Do you need to stop overcommitting? Stop compromising on your values? Stop working so late? Stop mindlessly scrolling on social media? Stop saying yes to everyone?
A stop-doing list is a simple but effective tool to help you let go of things and focus on what matters most to you.
4. FOCUS ON YOUR WELLBEING
Speaking of what matters most, it goes without saying that for you to feel refreshed for the rest of the year, you’ll need to make sure that you put some time aside to focus on your wellbeing. Creating and maintaining optimal wellbeing is a goal for the vast majority of women in our Women Rising community but it’s also one of the things they struggle with the most. When there are so many things we need to get done and so many people in our lives that are counting on us in some way, women will often push their own needs - including their wellbeing - to the bottom of the pile.
This is why being intentional about your wellbeing is so important - you want to be consciously creating your wellbeing with the actions that you take every single day, not just hoping for the best with random strategies. There’s a significant body of research showing that people who have high levels of wellbeing receive many positive outcomes: they are more resilient, have more energy, are healthier and happier. Wellbeing at its core is what makes it possible for us to be well, to do good things in the world, to show up how we want to show up and to make the contribution that we long to make.
When it comes to wellbeing, the key here is to get back to basics. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you nourishing and moving your body? Are you making time to relax and restore your energy frequently? If you need some tools to help you focus on wellbeing, here are 5 simple strategies for optimal wellbeing.
5. ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
Last but not least, the 5th step in this process to reset and refresh for the rest of the year is to ask for what you need. Again, this can be a real challenge for many women because of the stories we tell ourselves. As women we’ve been socialised to be nurturing and constantly give to others, which means it can often feel strange or uncomfortable to ask for our own needs to be met. Many women say they feel guilty, or worry they’ll be a burden if they ask for help and support, and they default to doing everything on their own. This is one of the reasons why we see such alarming rates of burnout amongst women.
We need to get better at expressing our needs and asking for help and support. If this is something you struggle with, just like anything, it gets easier with practice. You can build the muscle of asking for what you need by starting with small asks. Challenge yourself today to ask for one thing from someone and notice how it makes you feel. If you commit to doing this consistently, you’ll notice how your asking muscle grows stronger and you build confidence in this area.
You may find that you struggle to ask for what you need from others because you find it hard to identify and articulate your own needs in the first place. If this is the case for you, I encourage you to ask yourself the question “what do I need right now?” multiple times a day. Start to tune in and take those moments to pause and consider your needs.
Here are some other questions that are useful to reflect on:
- What do I need today? Can anyone help me to meet that need?
- What does support look like this week? Who do I need to communicate that to?
- What help do I need to be able to make progress on my priorities? Who can give me this help?
- What resources do I need to be able to achieve my priorities?
- How could things be easier?
- What would feel most helpful and supportive for the rest of 2023? Who can provide this support for me?