by Karen Lindwall-Bourg
…BUT why does this stress have to be so exacerbated during the holidays?
I love this time of year! Not only is everything beautifully decorated and oh-so romantic with lights, music, and the smells of the holiday season; it is also a time to look back on the year and evaluate successes and challenges and to look at accomplished goals and places where I fell short of my dreams.
During that self-evaluation process, I am sure not to judge myself too harshly—after all, life does happen, and even with my best intentions things just don’t always come together as planned. Fortunately for us, the Lord directs our steps. Proverbs 16:9 states,
“The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.”
God’s answer is the real power that shapes events and enables me to give the right answer and take the right steps.
Another part of my evaluation process involves looking at how I felt while accomplishing my goals. This might not seem relevant, but being frustrated, overwhelmed, or disorganized while trying to make things happen can actually keep them from happening!
One of the reasons I like looking at my goals around Christmas and New Year’s is because this is one of the busiest times of year. Having a lot to do in a little bit of time and the stresses that surround the season may lead to a renewal of those feelings that kept me from achieving my goals. So, when I start to feel that oh-so-familiar overwhelm and frustration, I can focus on solutions for my next set of goals.
When I look at my goals and the never-ending to-do list, I will do a few things differently this time to help soothe that sense of “oh-my-how-will-I-ever-get-this-done” panic.
Let’s work on these together this season!
Let’s Get Organized
Find something that works for you, and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. Use a spreadsheet or an online project management tool. Basecamp works for me, but there are many others available. Just keep it simple. Your time-organizing project should not take more time to construct than it takes to complete the items on your to-do list (talking to myself, here!).
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
This is one of the most underrated and under-observed skills. Create a quarter or a year’s worth of goals and put a realistic timeline on them. You can’t make your life and business dreams come true by wishing. There has to be a concrete plan. Part of that plan includes putting firm deadlines on your goals. Making those timelines and each action step concrete will be a huge help in limiting overwhelm while achieving your goals. After all, it is often procrastination that makes us feel pressure to complete things, which leads to stress, overwhelm, and frustration.
Work Through & Celebrate Your POWER-HOUR!
Blocking off 15, 30, 45 minutes or an hour to focus on one specific task has worked well for me. Set a time, power through the hour, and see how much you can accomplish! Celebrate what you have achieved rather than mourning over what you didn’t compete.
While it might seem weird to hire help during the holidays, it will help you keep up continuity in your business while you attend to all your holiday festivities. The absolute best way to achieve your goals is to get help. You can’t do it all by yourself. You need someone who can help shoulder the workload. You can outsource small stuff like research or reports. You can hire experts to manage your social media. You can contract with a freelance writer to keep up your blog posts and other writing. You can hire a virtual assistant to help with almost anything (thank you, Courtenay!). For busy moms, I suggest a housekeeper. You’d be surprised what a load that takes off (thanks, Lorena!).
Take some time to think about how you feel during this busy time of year and how those same feelings may carry over into other projects later in the year. Now, as you write your goals for the year, add in solutions for overcoming those difficult spots. Solutions may include:
- Taking a weekend retreat to pray, plan, and write your goals.
- Hiring help in the form of a VA, freelance writer, social media expert, or housekeeper.
- Setting realistic timelines on your goals, especially if you are working with a team.
- Planning on days off when you unplug and focus on things that are not your business.
Comment below with solutions you will write into your goals this next year to help you avoid overwhelm at the holidays and all year long!
The Lord’s certain purpose and His answers will stand in spite of and in the midst of my plans.
Don’t wait until you feel you are at the end of your rope!
Visit our website at rhemacounseling.com.
Call us at 214-491-1991.
At RHEMA, our Licensed or Pastoral Counselors can help you get back on track.
Ask for an “Entrepreneurial Discount” through the end of January 2015!
See also Proverbs 16:1-2, 9; 19:21; 20:24 and Psalm 37:23 and Jeremiah 10:23.
Karen Lindwall-Bourg is the Founder of RHEMA Counseling Associates, a Biblical Counseling, Coaching, and Training Center seeking to honor the Lord by leading others to the Sovereign God and the cross and Life of Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit and equipped with the Sufficient Word [Greek: rhema] of God for abundant life and ministry. Karen lives with her husband Fred in North Central Texas, and spends as much time as possible with their 6 children, 5 grandchildren, extended family, and menagerie of ranch animals. www.rhemacounseling.com.