How To Strategically Tackle Your New Year’s Goals – Without Burning Yourself Out

By Jes Averhart

Here we are, in Q1 of 2023, the time of year when we embrace new starts, clean slates and goals. It’s the time we strive to make good on New Year’s resolutions and toy with vision boards in the hopes that they will manifest into our wildest dreams.

Perhaps you spent New Year’s Day decorating a poster board with cutouts from old magazines creating your trusty old vision board. I get it! That’s been an annual ritual of mine for over a decade. And while I enjoy the time to open my mind to bigger and better aspirations, I’m often left wondering what sorcery is going to bring my vision board to life. Let’s be honest, yesterday I didn’t have a villa in Southern Spain and by some miracle I’m supposed to believe that I will be sipping wine on a veranda in Seville by the end of the year?

Right…no because it doesn’t work like that, and deep down we know it. And in today’s climate, with burnout rampant and cynicism high, we need something more concrete and practical to help us get from point A (dreaming) to point B (mission accomplished). 

Let’s face it: Vision boards are not a magic portal to your best life. Batteries are required. I’m talking about deliberate and intentional action that takes into consideration who you are as an individual.

What 2020-22 Taught Me

You see, I’ve worked in talent development for a while now, and I’m seeing something different this year—both with my clients, and myself personally. 

Here’s what I’ve discovered: Intentionality is key. In 2020, I along with the rest of the world learned that you have to be flexible and nimble because things change. Ways of work change. And ultimately, goals change. 

Because of this, we learned that having a five-year plan is a fool’s errand. That’s been the standard advice, but stop and consider: does it make sense anymore?

I’ve shifted my thoughts from long-term planning to intentional, short-term action plans. I love the idea that my goals can dance and bend along with a changing world, just like I do. So…I have more fun. I pay attention to what brings me joy. I’m in the moment.

That’s what led me to sprints. Because let’s face it, I’m not a marathon runner. Marathons are long and arduous. They take forever to train for. The distance is rigid and demanding.

But I *am* a sprinter. And sprints can be flexible; you can run in one direction one day and take a completely different trail the next. Likewise, 90-day sprints are flexible. They can be more fun. And they’re rewarding; you can reach a satisfying endpoint in a very short time. 

With everyone around us clamoring about burnout, maybe it’s time for them to step back and consider if the marathon they’re training for—that five-year plan or whatever it is—isn’t working. Maybe the intense-but-playful-and-oh-so-satisfying sprint is the way to go. 

And with this in mind, I began exploring 90-day sprints. In a handful of those sprints, I went from a full-time six-figure job to launching a successful business, and my business’s ability to quickly pivot with the climate and needs of my clients is one of my best strengths. 

All of these experiences culminated in a new process for assessing and scoping out my 2023. Here’s the roadmap I created to help people go from vision board to finish line (and it’s burnout-proof, too).

Stop #1: Start at Your Wellspring of Gratitude.

Before you can determine what you want next, it’s important to recognize what’s fueled you thus far. By spending time going inward and reflecting on the things you’re grateful for, you’ll get centered on what matters most to you—an essential ingredient in your ability to follow through.

Stop #2: Get Grounded.

Next you’ll want to honestly evaluate your finances, your health, your relationships, your career and so on. As you ask yourself “What’s working and what’s not?” you’ll get an idea of what needs attention and what can be set on cruise control. 

Stop #3: Set Your Sights.

This is where you identify your “BIG 3”. The three most important goals to start digging into. Remember, if everything is important, then nothing is. 

Stop #4: Go Stargazing.

Goals are one thing… motivation is another. We can all agree that life is distracting at times and overwhelming at others. Stop #4 is the place where you’ll identify a word or phrase that will serve as your North Star – guiding you along the way.

Stop #5: Map Your Morning.

With your goals in mind, set yourself up for daily progress and motivation by mapping out a morning routine that underlies your aspirations. Good ole’ behavioral science tells us that a powerful morning routine propels you into a successful day. Much better than the roll-outta-bed-just-in-time-for-your-first-meeting routine. 

Stop #6: Invest in Rest.

This stop is deeply rooted in our work on burnout this past year. Many of us live as if we need to earn the right to rest, instead of working from a place of rest that we already deserve. Figure out what forms of rest work best for you, and then build rest into your daily and weekly routines. 

Map Your 90-Day Sprint.

Once you’ve done the foundational work needed, you’ll want to map your next 90 days. 

  • Pull out your calendar and build in your rest and morning routines.
  • Then, lay out what you believe are the series of next right steps to accomplish your ‘BIG 3’ goals over the next 90 days.

I personally like to do all of this sort of work in one space, which is why I dropped all sixstops  and a 90-day calendar into a creative tool called Reinvention Roadmap®. It’s fun. It’s refreshing. And it’s the answer to the disappointment that often accompanies our New Year’s resolutions after the Eleventh day.

Jes Averhart is a 4th generation entrepreneur and creator of Reinvention Road Trip®. She advises high-performing individuals and corporate teams as a master certified life coach and professional leadership advisor. Her portfolio of Fortune 500 companies includes Google for Startups, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Fidelity Labs and United Way Worldwide just to name a few. Jes believes that the power of reinvention wins the day… because innovation is just not enough.