How to Break Out of the Post-Holiday Funk
After weeks of holiday parties, break room snacks, and out-of-office replies, it can be hard to get back in the swing of day-to-day work life.
This is not unusual, Art Markman assures us in the Harvard Business Review. He offers advice to get out of that post-holiday funk.
While it’s healthy to look back at your accomplishments from the year, it can also lead to you spending too much time thinking about the challenges you faced.
“When you get back to work, it’s important to start looking forward to the new year rather than back on the past one,” Markman says. “Treat the goals you want to accomplish as new challenges and a source of energy, not a penance for things you didn’t get done last year.
“Focusing on the future—and seeing new opportunities to succeed—can help you to generate the energy to get started,” he says.
With a new year comes new resolutions, but don’t make your goals too abstract.
“Instead, turn your goal into specific actions that when added up lead to the desired outcome,” Markman advises.
Being specific has two main benefits.
“It requires you to think through what actually has to be done to achieve the goal. You may discover that you don’t know all the steps or that some of the steps are ones that involve skills you need to learn,” Markman explains.
“Being specific forces you to grapple with your densely packed schedule,” he adds.
Make the right social comparisons
Comparing yourself to other people isn’t inherently wrong, but it’s vital you don’t spend too much time on “upward social comparison” or “downward social comparison.”
“You can’t stop yourself from making social comparisons, but you can explicitly manage those comparisons to motivate you,” Markman says.
“You can find a close rival—someone who is doing slightly better than you are along some dimension, but whose performance is close enough to your own that you can see how you could take some actions to reach their level,” he recommends.
Or even better, look within for comparison.
“You can also make social comparisons to your past self,” Markman says. “Take a look at your trajectory.”
“Recognize that even if you haven’t achieved all of your goals, you have improved over time. Use that recognition of your own growth to spur you to keep working to reach new heights.”