A few times a year, I sit down and reflect on where my business has been, where it is, and where it’s going. I do this at the beginning of the calendar year and again on my birthday in August.

This year, I realized I had a major problem that was stunting the growth of my business: I had too many goals. Because I was torn in so many directions, I wasn’t accomplishing much toward any of my goals.

What’s worse is that because I was spending so much time working, I stopped doing a lot of things I’m passionate about. That led to unhappiness with my business and feeling like my work wasn’t paying off.

For my mid-year analysis, I looked at the areas of my life and quickly saw if I didn’t take time to relax and recharge, my business would only suffer more as my creativity drained away and my passion burned out.

The first thing I decided to do was take a hard look at my goals and where my time was going. I quickly realized I had two types of goals:

1. Someone Else’s Goals.

These were goals someone else had given me – either by making them sound like something I should want to do or by asking me to help them with a project. Making six figures per year and self-publishing a business book were on this list.

2. My Goals.

These were goals that got me out of bed in the morning and kept me up late. They were the things I was truly excited about accomplishing, like being featured in Entrepreneur magazine and getting Sara Blakely (the creator of Spanx) to notice my new venture, ComfyEarrings.com.

It was hard to make progress on my goals because they were getting pushed aside to make time to work on someone else’s goals.

I decided I didn’t want to spend my time working toward a goal I wasn’t 100 percent in love with. It wasn’t easy, but within a few days, I had “resigned” from all of the goals that weren’t mine and freed up quite a bit of time.

Next, I decided to spend an hour every day doing something I used to enjoy. The only requirement was it had to be fun and get my creative juices flowing. I chose to read fiction books and get outside more. On the days when the weather is nice enough to read outside, I get a double dose of enjoyment.

So far, the results of my streamlined goals and doing more things I enjoy are:

  • My stress is almost completely gone.
  • I have more energy and passion for my projects.
  • I’ve read more books in two weeks than I did in the past six months.
  • My creativity is back and writing is much easier.
  • I’m not struggling for ideas because my brain isn’t exhausted or numb.

I’ve always thought reading is important, but after the past month, I truly believe reading fiction is essential to writers.

Just in case you won’t take my word for it, here is what some famous writers have to say:

    “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King

    “Be awesome! Be a book nut!” – Dr. Seuss

    “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Richard Steele

So what about you? How do you take time to recharge? Comment below to join the discussion …