67 Days Until Beach House Eve!
When I worked in the tourism industry, we ran the business according to a fiscal year that began in July and ended the following June. When my husband and I bought our own business, we ran it according to the calendar year of January through December. But now, after sampling both of those methods, I've decided to run my life on a "Beach House" year.
The start of my "Beach House" year is defined by when we take our family vacation. Some years it falls in June, other years it's in July, and still other, more weary, years it has to wait until September. This year, my beach house year celebrations begin in late May and spill over into June with "Beach House Year's Eve" landing squarely on June 2nd. That means, my new year begins on June 3rd and will run through the last day of next year's family vacation.
It wasn't a difficult decision to rearrange my year according to the family vacation. I look forward to it, collect ideas to implement, set goals and objectives leading up to it and celebrate heartily at the culmination of the current, and start of the new, Beach House years.
You might expect it to be a challenge to my accounting. But no, it really didn't make any difference at all. I still have to pay bills and figure my taxes. The budget process didn't hiccup at the changeover and my calendar still offers twelve months in the year, although it's more challenging to find a wall calendar with the right stretch of months. But why, you may ask, would I tender such a decision? Let me explain.
It seems to me that New Year's Eve celebrations are "out with the old year and in with the new". I harbor a hope that people are celebrating the accomplishments and memories of the old year as it exits, and anticipating all the great stuff waiting for them on the other side of January first. But it always feels more like an exhausted finality to everything that has happened in the preceding year, and an anxious grasping at a slim hope for something better going forward.
I don't blame anyone for feeling that way. The New Year is conducted at the coldest time of year when daylight is weak and the weather is bleak. It's no wonder the whole celebration is a bit wistful. That may be why many people are, in the polite words of my civilized southern friends, "over-served" on New Year's Eve. You slog your way back to work after New Year's day feeling almost as exhausted as you were before the holidays began. The holiday season is so busy that we rarely get any significant rest, yet we are supposed to jump into our resolutions with fervor and charge forward.
This in mind, I wondered if it would be any more effective to launch my personal goals and resolutions after a truly restful vacation. I reasoned how important it is to make decisions and set goals when you are rested and refreshed. What better time to do that than after spending a week or two with people you love, at a place you feel relaxed and inspired? I needed to be on a "Beach House" year. Maybe you do too.
But changing to a Beach House year is only valid if you actually take your vacation time. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the family vacation has been under pressure for some time. In the report, The State of American Vacation 2017, many people did not take all of their vacation time, leaving their earned vacation time unused. It's no wonder so many feel burned out and their families frazzled. Rest, defragging your stressed brain, and refreshing your exhausted body takes a block of time. The report continues:
More than half (54%) of employees left vacation time unused—down from 55% last year—leading to 662 million unused vacation days.
Employees who forfeit vacation days and prescribe to the work martyr attitude are less likely to have received a recent raise, bonus, or promotion.
Men are more likely than women to use all their vacation time. This difference widens among Millennials.
By giving up this time off, Americans are effectively volunteering hundreds of millions of days of free work for their employers, which results in $66.4 billion in forfeited benefits. That means that last year employees effectively donated an average of $604 in work time to their employer. -The State of American Vacation 2017 REPORT May 23, 2017
But, there is cause for some optimism going forward. The report also states that, although we have a ways to go to get back to an average of 20-some used vacation days per worker, the statistics indicate a two-year growth from 16.0 days used in 2014 to 16.8 days used in 2016. For, what has been called America's Lost Week, the trend offers a glimpse into what might be a healthier attitude towards vacation.
"More Americans are planning their time off and planning continues to pay off. Workers who plan are more likely to use all their time off, take more time at once, and are happier with their relationships, health and well-being, company, and job." The State of American Vacation 2017 REPORT May 23, 2017
Your family vacation is not just time off, it's an essential part of healthy living. You need downtime to defrag your stressed mind, refresh your exhausted body, and renew the relationships that sustain you through the rest of the year.
Family vacation time that is used to rest, connect, and play, has more impact on you and your family's sense of well being than any other type of holiday. No stressful schedule to limit your playtime with the kids. There is time to watch sunsets with your spouse. Family mealtimes take on a relaxed and casual air. You go to sleep when you need to and wake up when you wake up - no alarm clocks. This is the character of a restful family vacation. It doesn't mean you can't plan special activities but it's important to keep a casual quality about this time to provide the healing you need. Once rested, and feeling whole you make better decisions. What better time to launch New Year's resolutions?
If you begin with a "Beach House Year" mentality, you might plan differently. For personal resolutions, a refreshing vacation gives them some incubation time with a good chance to turn resolutions into positive habits before the typical year-end madness. But a "Beach House Year" isn't just for personal resolutions. When you are rested and refreshed, you can more accurately assess your situation at work and identify areas for improvement. This assessment time makes you more intentional about how you will achieve your business goals by making mid-year adjustments to your performance strategy.
Not a beach house person? Maybe your family vacation is celebrated camping in the forest or at a lake cottage or a stay-cation in the backyard. The place itself doesn't really matter so long as it puts you at ease, allows you to rest, and surrounds you with the people you love.
So here's a little push... the family vacation trend is going in the right direction. Make a resolution to embrace the trend. Take your vacation. Plan on enjoying that time with your family, and away from work. While you're at it, why not consider it - at least secretly- to be the start of your new year?
Launch your new "Beach House Year" after a vacation immersed in enjoyable activities, good food, laid-back rest, and lots of family time. Spend time in advance to plan your "Beach House Year's" resolutions for your personal life as well as your work life. Then jump in, enjoy your vacation and emerge ready to implement your resolutions, clear-headed, rested and ready to go.
Your "beach house" year (or, whatever you would like to call it) will begin the day after your family vacation ends and will run until the last day of next year's family vacation. Take the vacation you have earned, and celebrate your decision to live on a "Beach House Year" calendar!