The holiday season—roughly spanning the months of November through December—is fueled by messages of peace, love, comfort, and joy. And sugary sweets.
It’s like a 31-day period of calm before the storm. A time where we’re expected to vacation and given reasons not to diet. Only to be bombarded by messages preaching the complete opposite come January 1st.
The quick change in scenery can be a shock. How are you supposed to take off running (perhaps figuratively and literally) with a newfound zest for your desk job and salads when only last week you were lounging on the couch and crushing bonbons? Better yet, why should you?
Despite what every TV commercial and ad in your social feed might be preaching, it’s okay not to feel the urgency. Or to even set resolutions worth working towards.
The reality is that motivation around goals—whether they’re set at the beginning of the year or part-way through—doesn’t magically appear at the stroke of any trending societal clock.
You have to create it for yourself, sometimes from the ground up. And these tips should help guide you towards how.
Connect with Someone Who Inspires
As entrepreneurs, doing things ourselves comes naturally. We take hold of things—and if we don’t understand them, we figure them out.
When you’re feeling void of motivation to what it is you do best or think you could do best, there’s no rule book that says you have to go it alone. In fact, quite the opposite. Look to those around you for inspiration.
If you have a friend, colleague, or family member you look up to, reach out. Put some time on the calendar for a coffee or Google Hangout. Talk about your aspirations, their aspirations, barriers, and successes.
Simply vocalizing these aspects of life with someone you respect can be the starter fuel to accountability and forward momentum.
Revisit Your Goals, Break Them Down
Repeat after us: small, achievable goals. This is the name of the game.
You can’t jump from point A to Z without all of the letters in between. The same goes for your end-goal(s).
And honestly, of course your motivation would be lacking if day-in and day-out you wake up to non-achievement. Stop underestimating the time it takes to make your visions a reality—and how valuable all of the tiny steps you’ve taken so far are to the process.
Approach what lies ahead of you in the new year from the perspective of habit tracking. You’re not after change and change alone. You first have to understand how you operate.
If you’re fueled by rewards, create a system upon which you receive some kind of celebratory item at different milestones. Alternatively, if you’re fueled by the fear of failure, think through what could happen by not achieving your goals. Is the result you’re hoping to avoid worth taking action against?
Establish a Routine
Creating a routine can be a great catalyst for motivation. Even if it doesn’t pertain to any specific goals.
By waking up at the same time every morning, for example, and running through a set of daily ritual actions, you’re building a foundation of habits. Small steps you take every day to feel your best.
The more habits you build, the more potential you begin to see for application across other areas of your life. Think of it as a spark that can light the whole darn match.
Combat Negative Thoughts
When we’re bumming post-holiday season (or anytime really), it’s easy to sit in our heads and zero in on the negative.
The time off went by so fast.
I miss my family.
I wish I hadn’t brought up politics at dinner.
If you want to feel sad, feel sad. But don’t exacerbate the situation by hyper-focusing on the past.
Or, if you’re going to relive those moments over and over again, think about how you frame them. Find a positive spin that accentuates what lies ahead.
The time off went by so fast. Maybe it’s time to start planning my next vacation?
I miss my family. But I’ll see them again in a few months!
Note to self for next time: no talking politics at dinner.
You are in control of the story you tell and how you use it to move forward. This TED Talk by Daniel Kahneman on the riddle of experience vs. memory is a great place to start in reframing how you think about happiness—and, in turn, motivation.
When it’s motivation you’re after, it’s motivation you need to prioritize. Meaning it’s worth limiting the number of distractions vying for your attention at any given time.
More specifically, get off social media and stop comparing your efforts to those of others.
It takes discipline to get things done and create momentum that doesn’t currently exist. Be conscious of what you’re doing to stand in your own way.