Starting the new year motivated can be difficult. And many of us can relate to a post-holiday comedown, which experts coin ‘The Blues.” This term is a psychological term that is often used to describe feelings of disappointment and deflation following returning to normal everyday routines after a period of holiday, partying and fewer responsibilities. Sound familiar? Thought so. Here’s how to cultivate and sustain motivation… especially when it feels like you have to dig (really) deep.
1. Power pose
It might seem strange but our body language can affect the way we feel. Research into confidence found that people who stand in the power pose for at least two minutes have increased levels of testosterone, a body producing chemical associated with confidence, and creates a reduction in the production of cortisol, our stress hormone. If you want to feel motivated from the inside out, stand up straight, chest out, lifts your arms above your head like a V and keep your legs hip distance apart.
2. Stay committed
While we all think motivation is the number one ingredient for success, the truth is commitment is the real foundation. Research into elite athletes found, that just like us, athletes have days when they are flat and motivation is at an all-time low, but the difference between successful, elite performers is that they maintain their commitment – however difficult it might be.
3. Routine and rituals
Incorporating a daily ritual or routine that creates calm and relaxation within your body and mind can help build a foundation of mental clarity. Motivation and focus occurs when we are relaxed and having a routine every day incorporates activities or rituals that help create calm. This morning walks, reading or cooking – these all help us gain clarity and calm down.
4. Goal setting
Goal setting is directly correlated to task performance and motivation. Research into the field of employee motivation found that when people create predetermined goals and are working towards them through fixed deadlines, motivation and performance increases. A way to cultivate motivation is through S.M.A.R.T goal setting. This acronym stands for goals that are Sustainable, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive. Pick resolutions or goals that are specific and not vague, that can be measured so that you can track your progress, attainable as well as realistic and that have a time frame or deadline associated with them.
5. Visualise goals
It’s important to define your goals, but also to visualise them physically. Yes, you’ve heard of mood boards, and it’s time to create one for 2018. Sitting down to physically collage your 2018 goals can help you find clarity around what you are wanting to achieve and manifest for the year ahead. Research into goal setting has shown that those who write down or collage their goals are more likely to achieve them than those who just think or talk about their goals.
6. Reward yourself
Yes, you heard us right! Rewarding yourself for achieving goals is singly one of the best ways to cultivate motivation. Studies into exercise and fitness programs found that those who had external reward incentives such as money for working out had higher attendance and motivation to finish the fitness program. This suggests that not only is it important to map out each goal and aspiration you have in 2018, you should also link them to a specific reward for once you’ve achieved it.
Be kind to yourself, it is normal to feel down after holidays. Holidays are a time to recharge, refocus and rest. It is often an opportunity to help us gain some space in our life to see whether there are things we want to change or add into our life to create more joy and less stress. When we come back to our everyday routine after having this period to recharge, we may feel a bit deflated as things have not changed and we are coming back to old habits and behaviours that we may want space from. Be aware that nothing happens instantly. We all have good days and bad days, and having compassion for yourself can help you bounce back from the bad days, faster.