Attuned Leadership for Women Podcast
Rethinking New Year’s Resolutions: Less Pressure, More Balance
As a high-achieving professional woman, I’m guessing you’re no stranger to goal setting. When you decide to do something, you fully intend to do it and go ALL IN which is why in this episode of the Attuned Leadership for Women™ Podcast I’m hoping to inspire you to think differently about the “New Year, New You” hype.
What if this New Year’s you went about setting resolutions and goals differently? Instead of choosing something to add, decide what to take away so there’s more white space in your calendar to enjoy your life! Here are some shocking stats to back up this idea: 64% of women believe they ‘should’ set goals at New Year’s, but if we recognize that over 50% of women leaders are already in burnout it’s obvious that women need to rethink goal setting.
I’m really excited to share my ideas with you about how to go about things differently and create stress-free New Year’s intentions with less pressure and more balanced mental, emotional, and physical health this year.
Quotes from the Episode
“Women have been living at their growth edge in sustaining their businesses, keeping their organizations afloat, raising their children, caring for parents and elders, supporting their communities, and trying to manage their own sanity through it all. And that reality explains a lot. And like them, the pressure you may face every single day is already substantial. Why add another layer of complexity and pressure and expectation onto that by setting a New Year’s resolution?“
Dr. Crystal Frazee
“It’s kind of like being a bully to ourselves when we keep prodding ourselves to keep going without the recovery that we need.“
Dr. Crystal Frazee
“And here’s what I want you to know. You are whole and complete and worthy. You are important just as you are right now in this very second. You don’t have to achieve a single thing more to know that. I want to invite you to think about your 2024 intentions from this perspective. And to let your body lead the decision-making. What is your body calling you to do?“
Dr. Crystal Frazee
00:02:45 – The Repulsion of Traditional Goal Setting
00:04:10 – Strategic Goal Setting and Client Success
00:05:55 – Statistics on Women’s New Year’s Resolutions
00:07:30 – The Stress and Uncertainty for Women Executives
00:09:05 – The Need for Silence, Stillness, and Recovery
00:10:40 – Understanding Hormones and Stress
00:17:00 – Listening to Your Body for New Year’s Intentions
00:18:35 – Setting Simple and Achievable Goals
Mentioned In This Episode:
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FREE Leadership Resources from Crystal:
- Free PDF Training: Stress & Overwhelm Relief Game Plan
- Free Short Audio Training: How to Run Your Day Without It Running You
Get updates about Crystal’s upcoming book! REVIVE: The Working Woman’s Unexpected Guide to Recovering from Burnout
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Prefer to Read? Here’s the transcript!
*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.
I’m really excited to share my ideas with you about how to create stress-free New Year’s intentions, quite frankly, that don’t suck or end up pushing you into burnout. It’s 2024. We don’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done.
Dr. Crystal Frazee:
Where do established and aspiring women leaders go to get answers to their biggest challenges, like how to deal with double standards, break free from hustle and burnout, drive change without being bossy, and how to raise visibility by doing less, not more? I’m Dr. Crystal Frazee, your host and a women’s health and leadership expert and author. I’ve spent the past 15 years developing the answers to those questions. I believe that your body has all the wisdom you need and that without much effort, you can leverage it for things like faster, better decision-making, creating a magnetic presence for influence, and even navigating perimenopause so your performance goes up instead of down. In this show, I will teach you what traditional leadership approaches overlook, how to leverage your body wisdom to break free from time and energy traps, shatter barriers, dissolve the good woman programming that stops you from living on your terms, Level the playing field at home and work and be the most powerful leader you can be. Get ready to rewrite the rules of success and satisfaction using the practical strategies of attuned leadership for women.
Dr. Crystal Frazee:
Honestly, the thought of setting a New Year’s resolution for me personally is repulsive: a new vision board, word of the year, three action goals. They all just feel boring and kind of uninteresting to me this year. After having churned through continuous change over the past five years of my life, I don’t crave achieving new goals like I did in my 20s or even a decade ago. I’m very strategic, I have a few things that I’m really focused on, and I put my resources towards that. At this stage, I crave more mental and emotional well-being in my life, and I am seeing something similar in my executive women clients as well.
Women have been living at their growth edge in sustaining their businesses, keeping their organizations afloat, raising their children, caring for parents and elders, supporting their communities, and trying to manage their own sanity through it all. And that reality explains a lot. And like them, the pressure you may face every single day is already substantial. Why add another layer of complexity and pressure and expectation onto that by setting a New Year’s resolution?
Now let me clarify because I am a professional coach. So obviously, setting goals and intentions is the very foundation of what I do with my clients. But those goals are chosen because clients are ready to work towards them. They have scaffolding that we create in place so that they’re successful. I don’t let my clients set goals that they can only be reached by basically taking the crumbs of time and energy that’s left over after everything else at the end of the day to work towards them.
So before you set out to work towards a goal, it’s exactly the same way. You need to have the right resources so that you can succeed. You have to be able to have the time and the energy to focus on working towards the goal that you’ve set. Otherwise, it’s unfair to yourself. It’s just extra pressure. For example, if a client knows there’s a specific goal that if they reached it would change their life or their business. We still don’t set that goal until they have what’s needed in place in order to reach it. It’s a very strategic choice to set a goal. Because when we set a goal, we’re going to allocate the right resources towards it. And often instead of that big goal that someone thinks they should go for, instead we set a little baby goal. something that they really have the resources internally and externally, you know, in their calendar to do that doesn’t pose many barriers at all. Then when they achieve it, they’re motivated to keep going. One of my most favorite sayings, and I hope you borrow this for yourself, is “success breeds success.” We want to set ourselves up to win without it being really hard.
To set the stage here for this conversation, I want to share some recent stats published by Forbes about women setting New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know why it surprised me, but it did. 64% of women feel pressured to set a New Year’s resolution. To me, that’s a huge amount. 64% of women feel like they should be creating new goals every 12 months. 48% say that improving their fitness is a top priority. Well, that’s not a surprise given that over 48% of the media messages is that we should do that, right? The goals ranking next in order after fitness is improving finances and after that it’s improving mental health. It’s just really an interesting picture of the way that women feel like they need to use their time and energy in order to be happy or to be validated or accepted or whatever the reason might be that they’re setting these goals.
For many of the women executives that I work with, they have faced incredible amounts of stress and uncertainty over the past 12 months. And it’s still going, by the way. Just because the holidays are here doesn’t mean those uncertainties have pressed pause. You know, they work long weeks and fit in all of their other responsibilities on the fringes. They look around and they think, gosh, how did I get here? And they feel even more perplexed when asking themselves, how can I get out of this? When you feel like you’re on a treadmill that has no end, and if you step off, everything is going to come crashing down. That makes it very hard to want to put yourself in opportunities for silence and stillness and recovery. but you really do have to realize that you deserve that and you have to give yourself permission for white space in your life. I’m wondering if that sounds relative to what you have going on in your life.
Now, if we look at this from a fulfillment perspective, often what women crave in this season of life is more time to spend in silence or stillness or for recovery. With my clients, once we work through and kind of peel away the goals they think they should be working on, we can get to a place of really looking at what’s fulfilling. How do you want to spend your time and energy in a way that really gives you what you need, which is to feel more at peace, more grounded, more in control of yourself and your life? And if we just take a minute and ask your body right now with how you feel today in this very moment that you’re listening, What do you think would benefit you more? Is it a gentle, mindful walk in silence? Or is it something like a group high-intensity exercise class? If we let our body choose, my guess is that most women listening would raise their hand with, I would like a quiet, mindful walk. I want to be in quiet, in silence, and just with myself. I don’t want any pressure to do anything else. I don’t want to have to perform. I don’t want to have to push.
Here’s a quick biology lesson for you. Your body’s hormone production is really complex and it’s an interconnected system where changes in one hormone can influence the others. So you know we’ve got your stress hormones, your sex hormones for example, and chronically high levels of stress that demands that your body produces high levels of cortisol, your stress hormone, that can impact the way that your whole endocrine system works, including how it’s able to produce sex hormones. Now I don’t want to overly simplify how this happens, but if you’re in the reproductive years, then ongoing high levels of stress can cause an imbalance in your system that can negatively impact your reproductive health. And if you’re in the menopause transition or beyond, it can negatively impact your hormone levels. and increase the intensity and frequency of menopause symptoms, you know, like hot flashes and weight loss resistance, insomnia and sleep issues, food cravings and brain fog. This is important to point out because high intensity exercise is great for a lot of things. There’s certainly a place for it. My background is in healthcare, I know this. It’s great for bone density, for example, and building muscle, which is so important. And it can be an integral part in managing menopause symptoms when you’re in a healthy baseline state. But when you’re on the brink of burnout or dealing with long phases of anxiety, or you’re just feeling ongoing levels of high stress, then high intensity exercise physiologically is just another source of stress to your body. It doesn’t differentiate emotional stress, physical stress, psychological stress. it’s all the same thing. I guess what I want to say is that just because the magazine cover or the news or your friend is telling you that something is good for you doesn’t mean that it’s good for your body right now in this season of your life. In fact, what I tend to prescribe for executive clients who are facing the impact of long-term stress like burnout is what I call a staycation. One of my mentors is Dr. Jessica Drummond, and I learned this from her. A staycation is a three-day period where you literally live from bed. You can work in your bed if you have to, but it’s better to take it off. not have to work, but no going out, no doing anything arduous or having to think too hard. It’s a break from doing and it’s a chance to just recover. Eat from bed, sleep, nap, read, stretch, whatever, but you’re in bed. and it’s a change of your environment that’s significant enough that it can start to give your body the experience of recovery that most women have not had for decades or ever.
Think of it like being a professional athlete. You can’t just train, train, train. That translates into pushing yourself, right? You think of your favorite professional athlete woman, whoever she is, and she has reached this level of competition by pushing and breaking barriers, pushing, reaching new goals, right? But in order to be an athlete, you have to have adequate, and I mean, substantial recovery. There’s more recovery, and there’s more emphasis on what you eat, when you eat, and how much you rest, than the strategy for how to push and break through that new level. because the risk is that you injure yourself. And in some cases, it’s a permanent injury. You lose athleticism if you don’t get recovery. And the same is true for your well-being. So when you think of your past 12 months, 2023, how does that show up in your body when you think of what you’ve had to navigate? Has this past year felt like a sprint? Have you been in what feels like a marathon without recovery? As you look forward into 2024, does it also look full and busy with not a lot of recovery in sight? If so, then now, right now, New Year’s time, is when we want to try to set new sights and goals on recovery before you get into that next leg of the race, not on pushing yourself more. It’s kind of like being a bully to ourselves when we keep prodding ourselves to keep going and to keep going without the recovery that we need. And here’s what I want you to know. You are whole and complete and worthy. You are important just as you are right now in this very second. You don’t have to achieve a single thing more to know that. I am telling you. I want to invite you to think about your 2024 intentions from this perspective. And to let your body lead the decision making. What is your body calling you to do? So play along with me as long as you’re not driving. Close your eyes, feel the sensations in your body that you’re breathing. And listen to your body’s answer to this pretty simple question. “What do I need more of in my life?” And you may not get an answer right away. So you just simply inside your head, ask it again. And it may take a week or two or three or more. But you keep asking the question, “what do I need more of in my life?” Not from a cognitive perspective, because your brain is always ready to tell you what goal to work on next, and encouraging you to achieve more and more and more. But when you stop and listen to your body, maybe it wants something different. Maybe your body is calling you to schedule more baths, get more massages, get more sleep. have more downtime, experience what it’s like not to do what you’ve always been done.
In fact, what’s something that’s never been done? Never have I ever fill in the blank. As you listen to your body, your first instinct is going to be to go, no, no, no, we can’t do that. And to silence your body’s wisdom. Instead, I want to ask you to just sit with it and be curious, what’s the possible benefit? What do I stand to gain just by considering it? So I hope that as New Year’s approaches, you can remember these ideas and hear me prompting you, inviting you and giving you permission that if you are going to set goals for 2024, that you’re not just one of the 64% of women that feel pressured to do it, that you’re setting a goal because it sets you up for not just success professionally, but to feel more satisfied and fulfilled and to have more sustainable high performance. If you do settle on something that you want to set as an intention or a word or to make a goal, if that’s something that you want to do, then I want you to make it the most simple, smallest, and most achievable step possible. So if you’re wanting more white space in your life, start with the smallest amount that when you ask your body, can I do this even when I’m the most busy, when I’m sick, when my kids are sick, when things aren’t going well at work, when my plate’s overflowing, can I still succeed with this goal? You want the answer to be absolutely yes, even if that means you’re starting with setting a goal to have more white space of three minutes. Because remember, success breeds success. And if you set yourself up for a goal that’s unachievable from the beginning, then you’re going to be like most of Americans that by February, they’ve forgotten the goal. It’s gone. So if you decide there’s something important that you want to try that’s different for your well-being, then do it in such a way that you’re baking success right in. The needs of fulfilling that goal, the demand of time and energy and focus that it might take, are well within the supply that you currently have. And then from there, once you have that goal achieved, and you can sustain it for some period of time, then you can ask yourself, am I ready for more? And what feels completely 100% achievable? What support do I need to reach this new goal now? What barriers do I anticipate hitting on? And how can I problem solve ahead of time to have solutions for me to still succeed despite those barriers I might face? I want you to know that I am cheering for you. I am rooting you on as a professional woman, that you deserve to have white space and recovery in your life. And if somebody says, what’s your New Year’s resolution? It’s to say no more often. It’s to have more free weekends with nothing planned. It’s to be able to have days where you refuse to look at your to-do list. These are the goals that I want to hear about, that I am cheering you on, that I want you to know are there for you to claim.
So I hope that this is resonating and inspiring you to think about stress-free New Year’s resolutions, and I would really love to hear from you. If you want to share what this inspired for you or how you approached your New Year, New You vibe differently, send me a quick email. I would love to receive it at crystal at crystalfrazee.com. And if you’ve enjoyed Attuned Leadership for Women, nothing means more to me than having you rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts or on your favorite podcast player. As we look into 2024, I would love to hear from you. What is the challenge that you faced that you would move mountains if I could help you solve it? When you send me an email at crystal at crystalfrazee.com, tell me your answer to that question, because I’m building out the content for the year as we speak. The show notes and transcript for the show are available at crystalfrazee.com/podcast as well as a list of free resources that I’ve created for you, so definitely check them out. This show is written, edited, and produced by me, Dr. Crystal Frazee. It is a privilege to be in your earbuds every two weeks, and I thank you for listening. I hope that you continue to be well and to live attuned.