Why “no burnout” is my #1 New Year’s resolution (and should be yours, too)

2020 is going to be packed. I have a number of aggressive writing goals. I have elaborate plans for overhauling my mental health, my physical health, my apartment, and my schedule.

New year, new decade, same me, but better. My husband and I are calling 2020 “the year that we make all other years easier.”

I know from experience that I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. I’m ambitious, I’m determined, and I have big ideas and only so much time. Last year, I had two specific situations (only partially my fault) that ultimately had me working harder for longer than was realistically sustainable. I fell face-first into December with no life left in me.

So at the top of all of my New Year’s resolutions, my “2020 writing goals” list, my “2020 freelancing projects” list (editing gigs are already rolling in), and all of my daily and weekly “to do” lists, item number one is “No burnout.” It is the top priority. All other goals bow to Item #1.

If I’m getting burned out, I need to stop.

If it’s too much, I need to:

  • Take lower-priority items off the list
  • Reconfigure self-imposed deadlines
  • Put other lists on the back-burner entirely to focus on immediate tasks
  • Schedule time for self care
  • Ask for extensions
  • Ask for help

It is important to fulfill promises and meet deadlines. I don’t endorse being a flake. But it is also important, so important, to take care of yourself. No matter what else is on your list, that should be number one. Preachy? Maybe. But I’ve learned from experience, and from my mistakes. 2019’s schedule wasn’t really foreseeable or avoidable, but I have past years when the burnout blame is squarely on my own head. This is less of a lecture and more of a plea: Please, please, please take care of yourself.