Turning the Clock Ahead: How to Stay Motivated and Inspired as the New Year Continues
in Emerging Leaders
By: Natalie Spangenberg, NJCUL Marketing and Communications Specialist

As we continue on “this thing called life in 2019, we can sometimes hit a point in time where we feel unmotivated or uninspired to continue on with the New Year’s resolutions we set back in January. Although it’s important to just focus on the now and what the future may hold, take a moment to reflect on what intentions you set for the New Year and how to accomplish those goals before we welcome 2020 into our lives—believe it or not, it’s coming fast! We’re already gearing up to turn our clocks ahead this weekend for Spring!

Here are a few tips to keep you going even if you feel like giving up!

Set at Least an Hour for Yourself in the Midst of Your Crazy Schedule
This is crucial for everyone to practice on a daily basis. I never realized how important self-care was until I stopped to look at my weekly schedule and realized I made no time for myself. A little bit about who I am: I am a full-time Graduate Student at Rutgers University and I work full-time as a Marketing and Communications Specialist for the New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL). Prior to working for NJCUL, I was a full-time student, worker, and intern! My life centered around work and school, and I took NO time for myself. Trust me when I tell you, you will burn out. Even if you guzzle Red Bull as much as I do.

As professionals on-the-go, burning out is simply not an option, but it can happen much quicker than we think. No matter how crazy your schedule is, take an hour. At least an hour. That time is for yourself to use however you very well desire… meditate, go to the gym, watch your favorite television show or Netflix Original you’ve been slacking on. Whatever it may be, this time is YOURS. Not only is this a significant benefit to you and your health, but this is also an opportunity for you to fit in one of those goals you want to accomplish this year. Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to work out more regularly? Then devote that hour to being active, whether you go to the gym, take a class, go on a walk, or do a quick YouTube workout, there are resources at your disposal to make those goals a reality. Not only will you feel more at peace throughout the crazy work week, but you’ll also feel accomplished after doing something productive for yourself.

Take Baby Steps…You Can Accomplish Your Goals Quicker Than You Think
Yes, I said it, you can accomplish your New Year’s resolutions NOW! There is no hidden secret to this either.

I just speak for myself, but oftentimes, we as humans look at a much larger picture rather than focusing on what we are already accomplishing. You are only bringing more unnecessary stress in where it isn’t needed.

I know at least for me, I will set these almost impossible, extreme goals for myself to complete in a year, and then feel like a failure when January rolls around again and I didn’t make a million dollars or travel across the world. If your New Year’s resolution is to have a million dollars in your bank account, you can still accomplish the goal of saving even if you only set aside 25 dollars every two weeks to a savings account. If your goal was to travel across the world, you can accomplish this resolution of travel even if you take a long weekend somewhere domestic. It all matters! 

I want this house, but I already have a roof over my head. I want this degree, but I already completed a semester and got good grades. Celebrate the journey!

Notice those accomplishments and give yourself more credit and know you’ve already made great strides in making those resolutions a reality. So, start planning your budget and take that weekend getaway you’ve been putting off for five years. You deserve it!

Leverage Your Resources
For certain goals we set, we sometimes think about why we can’t do something rather than focusing on how possible it really is, or we are too scared to ask for help when we need it. Leverage your resources! It is possible, and there is nothing wrong with asking for help.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am the type of person who wants to do things on her own. “I don’t need help!,” my mind always yells. Well, guess what? I do need help, and that’s my ego talking again. Remember when I told you to dedicate time for yourself or else you’ll burn out? This goes hand-in-hand with this step because it wasn’t until I was fully burnt out that I realized that I needed to ask for help, which led to the realization that I was working myself to the bone without taking a moment to breathe.

One way to leverage your resources is to keep in contact with your peers. Whether it be a classmate, professor, co-worker, or old manager, keep in touch with those around you and they might just be an important asset to you down the road. LinkedIn is a great networking tool to do this!

When I decided I wanted to go to Grad school to get my Master’s degree in Communication and Media Studies, I needed two recommendation letters to provide as part of the application process. Luckily for me, the professors I had during my undergraduate studies at Rutgers were more than willing to write me a recommendation. Not only did my one professor write me a letter of recommendation, but he also worked closely with the Director of the program and put in a good word for me. All it took was maintaining a connection and a simple email, asking if they would be willing to help, and they did.

If you feel like moving ahead in your career in the New Year, ask your manager what else you can be doing to help. That simple offer can not only help you grow, but it also shows your boss how willing you are to take on more, which can lead to future opportunities down the road. You can also inquire about training opportunities the company may offer, which will also help you excel in the position and company you are in. Your boss and your team in Human Resources is there to guide you and help you succeed. Not to mention, the New Jersey Credit Union League has a variety of contacts here to use at your disposal. Never feel bad sending an inquiry or asking for help. We are here for YOU.

Technology is also a powerful tool. If one of your goals is to save money or build your credit score, there are apps to assist you with whatever it is you need! Staying on top of your finances just got much easier with your friend, the smartphone. Wondering if you have enough in your account for dinner? You can check your balances or transfer money with the click of a button, and after hours too! Check in with your local credit union to see what resources they have to offer digitally so that you can get on the road and stay on top of your money.

Make 2019 your year! Just because it’s March doesn’t mean you can’t start a new goal or accomplish what you’ve set back in January. Today is a great day to start.

If one of your goals is to get more involved with the League and connected with industry issues, and/or move forward in your career, then we hope to see you next week for CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, DC. The New Jersey Credit Union League is excited to be present and ready to Hike-the-Hill! Not to mention, if you are a young professional in the State of New Jersey, next year might just be your year to Crash GAC! For more information on this year’s Crash the GAC, visit: https://www.cuna.org/Events/CUNA-Governmental-Affairs-Conference/Crash-the-GAC/

And look out for another blog post in the coming weeks that will highlight the 2019 Crasher, Amanda Meeker from Jersey Shore FCU!