No ‘New Year’ feeling? Starting a new year, when the old one won’t quit!
Starting a new year fresh and filled with energy is tough during normal times when you’re still hungover from the multitude of parties you have attended in December, bloated from the 100th cheese board you have just consumed, and still recovering from the highs and lows of the previous working year. But this ‘New Year’ has nothing obviously ‘New’ about it as the frustrations, pains, and uncertainty of 2020 roll on.
Knowing that the New Year will now begin with the same constrained living conditions as those that 2020 ended with, and no obvious end in sight, may be muting your hopes and aspirations for 2021 and destroying any motivation for the year ahead.
So, what can you do for yourself, and for those you lead, to ensure that 2021 begins optimistically, productively, and in a way that enables you all to feel helpfully hopeful to ensure a great year for all?
Let’s all start as we mean to go on…
1. First, Acknowledge How You Feel
Recognising and acknowledging your own feelings puts you in control of your emotional state to give you strength to support those around you more effectively. To help and support others, you have to start with yourself, and not forget that you too are human and important.
Sharing how you feel openly demonstrates vulnerability and invites those around you to do the same; building trust and strengthening connections to support a productive team.
2. Start with the End in Mind
Knowing and understanding where you are headed, why, and how, can grow hope and optimism to give energy during the tougher times. But determining end of year goals when things feel impossible right now can be hard to grasp. Inspire and motivate thinking for yourself and your team by trying the following visualisation exercise (complete together):
Make space to think uninterrupted
Close your eyes
Move all thoughts aside
Think ahead to December 2021. Christmas has passed and your enjoying the break before the New Year begins
You are reflecting on the successes of the year –
o What have you achieved?
o What are you most proud of?
o What have you learnt?
o How do you feel?
o What can you see around you?
o What can you hear?
Ask each individual, including yourself, to share your answers to each question
Capture all answers and use to determine both team and individual goals for the year; revisit regularly to check-in with progress and how everyone is feeling
3. Make It Possible
Once you have defined the end point you are wanting to reach, return your thinking to the here and now to determine what can be progressed, and achieved, in the first few months of the year.
It is normal to feel helpless and not in control during these current restrictions but consider all that you can do, and what is in your control to change, to help compile a list of what is possible and formulate real actions.
Break the months down into weeks and set smaller targets or goals for each one. Encourage individuals to create weekly goals for themselves which connect to both their personal aspirations as well as those of the team and business. This will increase motivation through generating purpose and personal gain.
4. Celebrate the Small Wins
‘Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated’ – Robert McNamara, former American Secretary of Defence
As we continue to work away from one another, and many of us alone remotely at home, we continue to not be able to see one another to personally acknowledge the work we are each doing, the contributions we are making, and the challenges we are experiencing – and critically overcoming.
Recognition is important now, more than ever, and it is about highlighting and celebrating the small wins every day, week and month. Highlight individuals on team calls, encourage peer to peer celebration, and give small gifts which make a big impact during these simpler times – coffee vouchers, takeaways, shopping vouchers, books, e-learning investment support to give you a few ideas.
5. Create Space to Not Be Ok
Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s all about being positive all of the time. It’s not. It’s about being real, and authentically optimistic and hopeful - not displaying false disingenuous positivity. No one will engage or connect with you if they think you are being unempathetic to them and what they’re going through – or what is actually happening in the world they live in.
It’s ok to not be ok. It’s important to let yourself, and encourage those around you, to feel what you are feeling to process it, and so move on from it to a more helpful head space.
I wish you, your peers, your teams, your friends, and your families a happier, healthier, sociable and MORE FUN 2021!