Goodbye January Blues, Hello January Joys

‘5 ways to regain your cheer through a typically tough month of the year’F

Happy New Year you lovely lot… not so happy? Well let’s change that ?

  1. List what you want to achieve. These could be personal, professional, educational, anything really, but try not to let your thoughts at this point self-limit you. It’s easy to think ‘oh, I won’t write that down, it’s impossible’ but that immediately means you’ve deemed it unachievable, so it certainly will not be achieved. Whatever it is, add it to the list. If you’ve googled SMART targets, or already know of them, then now is the point to forget them. Sometimes what we want to achieve isn’t specific from the offset, in fact, our idea of a dream life is often vague, so a vague idea (to begin with) of what you want to achieve is fine, so long as you set to action to enable this to become more specific as you progress, after all learning and development is typically general to specific. Not everything is measurable (I think many in the education sector need reminding of this) and making things ‘time-bound’ or pressured can be counterproductive. So for now, number 1 tip: write down what you’d like to achieve, a list will suffice and keep this at the beginning of your 2019 diary or somewhere you’ll see daily to remind yourself of your goals, and motivate you to action.
Don’t hold back!

2. Enjoy reading about the psychology of positive thinking, the law of attraction, and growth mindset. Perhaps even investigate meditation (I’m looking to learn a little more about the science behind this).Take the time to look at both the advocating and criticising perspectives of these areas to help you decide your own opinions. Developing your own opinions will enable you to adopt practices (both in thought and action) that you truly ‘buy into’ and are likely to keep so there’s a genuine change in your outlook and productivity.

My personal favourite

3. Begin and stick to a gratitude journal. Think about the things each day you are grateful for such as smells, tastes, sights, people, events etc, and whereby you’ve been challenged, or the day hasn’t been good, think about the learning and change (for the better in you) that has occurred due to this negative happening. I’ve created some helpful templates and prompts to help you keep a gratitude journal, which offer reminders of many of the simple things we overlook

4. Avoid depriving yourself too much in January. January is a time of putting pressure on ourselves with resolutions and schemes to sign up to e.g. dry January, Veganuary etc but if these things are making you miserable, is it truly worth it? Making a few dietary swaps without becoming a vegan or tea total is beneficial, increasing physical activity for 20 minutes a day rather than daily 1 hour gym stints is kind to yourself. So maybe think moderation, not deprivation… believe me I tried the Veganuary challenge and this was wrong on so many levels for me, 2 days of actual torment and misery, no thanks.

5. Keep doing your favourite festive things. The things we love about Christmas are often the anticipation of the party period, decorations, acts of giving, indulgent food etc, and suddenly after a month or so of this, it stops abruptly. January ends up being the mother of all party poopers, so maybe we should keep the party going? Take time to think about what it is you enjoy about Christmas, and, how you can continue doing this in January. Maybe it’s seeing you friends and family more, so how can this be maintained? Maybe it’s the act of kindness and giving, so what can you gift to an unexpecting recipient? Perhaps it’s the roast turkey and trimmings, well why can’t one Sunday’s roast be a festive feast? For me, I’ve come to realise how much it’s the tree lights, so I’m currently after some battery-operated pretties to have in the living room in a vase or such like. Let’s not curtail the enjoyment of the festivities if we don’t have to.

A personal note from me, here’s why I wrote this blog:

I began a diary in 2015 that began with a spider diagram of things I wished to achieve (at some point) I released myself from the timebound pressure as this was causing a negative ‘energy’ for me, and by simply getting rid of that, I became freer to act and became more motivated and efficient, so much so, within 2 years out of 12 things I listed, I had achieved 10 of them – and these weren’t soft targets believe me.

January blues still get me, I’m not immune, and the come down from Christmas is a real thing. Equally, I’m not a multi-millionaire, but I believe in riches that aren’t monetary, what I deem as success and ‘rich’ isn’t what others would believe, so when listing goals and aspirations I’m not claiming, ‘I’m super successful and here’s how you do it…’ ? no doubt to some I’m totally unsuccessful, but target setting and mindset certainly can help you make a move on whatever it is that you deem ‘successful’ in 2019.

I’ve kept my 2015 diary, and when I’m feeling a bit low I read this as it’s a stark reminder of the power of our thoughts, and what we’re capable of when we set our minds to it. Within the diary I also kept a gratitude journal, and this is actually the pièce de résistance. It’s a practice I continue to this day, I think it is fundamental to happiness and motivation to appreciate and value the small things, the routine, wrapped up in the rat race things, as it is surprising what passes you by, and for me, achieving the 12 items of my list was passing me by as my gratitude had perhaps diminished somewhat (and I’m not ashamed to admit that). The gratitude journal helps me bail from agendas that don’t work for me, and better understand the things that make me happy. So why not give those 5 suggestions a try ?

What will be in yours?