Motivation tips to survive the 10 weeks of January

As we bid farewell to 2023 (how did that happen so quickly?) and welcome a new year filled with opportunities in 2024, January can often be a long and grey month for many. It can be tough to regain your focus after the holiday season. Perhaps you’ve bought a new calendar to kickstart the year or managed to cut down your Monday morning snoozes. Regardless, it’s crucial to recognise that the struggle for motivation is a common theme as we transition from Christmas celebrations and time off to the daily grind.

January motivation tips

Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation

Motivation is the driving force we all seek to propel us forward in our daily lives. People often discuss the interplay between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how it influences our inclination to revert to old habits, procrastinate on challenging tasks, and constantly chase rewards for our efforts.

Intrinsic motivation aims to bring about positive internal change, while extrinsic motivation may lead us back into old patterns. While seeking encouragement and rewards can be appealing, what good are accolades, grades, or money if you don’t feel fulfilled along the way?

Prioritising self-care

Regularly exerting yourself for the benefit of others can be draining. When trying to ignite motivation it’s important to ask some fundamental questions: ‘What do you want to achieve?’ ‘What do the new opportunities in the coming year truly mean?’ ‘How do you envision living and feeling in the months ahead?’

Placing your own needs and interests at the forefront can help to boost your intrinsic motivation. Engaging in activities that bring you joy is not only vital for personal growth and self-confidence but also for unlocking the potential to reach new goals. We often expend so much effort in making others happy that we forget about our own well-being. Let’s make 2024 the year when we prioritise ourselves and our health above all else.

Cultivating intrinsic motivation

So, just what can ignite intrinsic motivation? Whatever your New Year’s resolutions may be, involving others can make it harder to veer off course. By sharing your commitments and setting new personal goals, whether they are big or small, you will soon notice personal growth and an improved ability to tackle new challenges. Remember, it’s your determination and actions that will shape the upcoming year, whether it involves small tasks like making your bed, staying active daily, or eating healthily, or embarking on more significant endeavours like moving, pursuing higher education, or seeking a new job.

Balancing inner and outer motivation

Life is all about balance, and both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can fluctuate. Reflect on what truly ignites your passion and what may be driven by external expectations. This year, take the opportunity to get to know yourself better, as it is only through this self-awareness that you can truly make meaningful changes.

Allocate time for reflection

Set aside time to revisit tasks that may have been postponed during the holidays and now need prioritisation. Undoubtedly, there will be many unanswered emails awaiting your attention, and some items on your to-do list left unchecked from last year. Create space in your calendar to methodically address these tasks, allowing you to quickly regain a sense of control for the upcoming months.

Craft your vision

Visualise your desired work situation for the future. What are the goals you wish to accomplish in the coming year, whether they are substantial or minor? Make a list and rank the projects and tasks that require immediate attention, focusing on those with the highest priority. Additionally, consider what aspects of your job and work style you appreciate and what you may want to change.

Embrace the challenge

Sometimes, starting anew can feel daunting. However, accepting the challenge and pushing forward is often a matter of determination. The sooner you accept that the holiday break has ended and it’s time to return to work, the faster the joy in your work will rekindle. Or not.

Try to find moments of joy

Take your lunch outdoors (weather permitting), find solace on the nearest park bench (also weather permitting), and make time to soak in the sun (again, also weather permitting)… 

Okay, so January probably isn’t the best month for finding joy in the outdoors on your lunch break at work but there’s always the summer for that.

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