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With the Christmas holidays well and truly behind us, Ellina Webb looks at how to motivate yourself for the year ahead. 

Whether you work for yourself, a small business or a large corporation, going back to work is hard. If you’re lucky enough to have not worked over the Christmas period, this means you probably enjoyed about 9 late nights and 10 lay ins – completely messing up your sleeping pattern (but enjoyable none the less). 

But alas the reality has probably just about set in that you're back into your standard daily routine, so it might be worth looking at ways to motivate yourself through the hump of the next 11 months – or at least until summer.

Of course many people enjoy their jobs and have entered the New Year bright eyed and bushy tailed, with ambitious goals and excitement. But if you haven’t, I hope these following (realistic) suggestions can help you get back to you – a normal working human being who has good days, bad days, creative slumps and productive highs!

Create a new playlist for your journey to work

If like me you find that music has a big effect on your mood, creating a new playlist for the new year will not only give you that well needed 'feel good' feeling, it can also help pep you up for the day. Many of my friends who are keen runners and gym goers find that exercising to music is the only way to help them push through the lows, and I think that has the same effect with work. A good playlist for the journey and if you’re lucky enough to be able to listen to music throughout the day, a good power ballad always helps me regain focus. 

Go out for lunch with a colleague

Now that you’ve got over the initial shock of being back at work, I always find spending one-on-one time with that colleague you enjoy engaging with most can help spark some motivation. Whether it’s an hour long gossip over your sandwiches or a laugh over a TV show from the previous night, it always helps me feel better in one way or another.

Even talking through your thoughts on the year ahead such as progression in your role, where the industry you work in might be heading or what opportunities could come up in the new few months, can help to motivate you and you’ll feel as though (at least two of you) are on the same page.

Make or buy a good meal

I envy those who eat healthy at the beginning of the year, but for me personally, lunchtimes are where I can stop what I’m doing and actually enjoy a break. For some of my colleagues that break means going out for a run, heading to the local shopping centre for a browse or time to complete life's admin tasks. For me, lunchtime is about enjoying what I’m eating and what I’m doing whether that’s sitting alone browsing the internet or with colleagues. But overall, just make sure you spend your lunchtime doing what you enjoy – and whether you use a half an hour or a full hour, doing something different will help you come back refreshed and refocused to the task in hand.

Meet with your manager to discuss your direction

If meeting with your manager isn’t a daunting task, I always find that discussing where I see my role progressing to or even getting some intel on the company’s vision over the year will at least inspire me to visualise the next 12 months.

Everyone has their own motivations, so whether it’s more money, progression or just knowing that your role will remain safe and static, it can either pump you up or at least minimise any concerns you might have over-thought about the night before the first day back.

Book something to look forward to

Booking an exciting event for the end of the month doesn’t have to be expensive – as much as I’m sure we’d all love to book a holiday. If you have spare annual leave, sometimes it’s nice to know a duvet day is just a few weeks away. Or if you have time at the weekend, booking a restaurant or tickets to the cinema will give you something to look forward to – and a new event to countdown towards (only 6 more sleeps!).

Find a new series on TV

One of the most common things I’ve overheared people talking about in the New Year is what new TV series (or seasons) are coming out. Whether you’re a fan of Doctor Who (new season due Autumn), Alan Partridge (new series due at some point in the year) or Netflix shows like House of Cards and Making a Murderer – all of which will have new seasons in 2018, having something to look forward to watching when you get home is great.

If you can’t wait for new seasons to air, there are a lot of great TV shows already waiting to be discovered, some of my favourites are The AO, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black and Narcos, all of which are available on Netflix now. 

Evaluate the bigger picture

So many people wake up on New Year’s Day wanting to make a positive impact on their bodies and while making those kinds of changes doesn’t really motivate me, what does is evaluating the bigger picture. This can be a personal journey (like changing your body) or, as it is for me, it can be looking at your impact on the world around you.

At the start of the year it was reported that China had put an import ban on plastic from Britain. We currently ship around 500,000 tonnes of plastic a year to China for recycling and now questions are being asked about what will happen to this.

Plastic consumption is a big issue around the world and on The Hub we’ve spoken a lot about plastic in the ocean which was a big topic for everyone in 2017. Evaluating the bigger picture can be finding just one issue where you can make a small impact – like cutting your plastic usage. This impact could be as simple as making a few changes to your daily life and mind-set, such as these 9 ways to reduce your plastic use on Greenpeace.

Other bigger picture issues could even be your impact on carbon emissions. Being mindful of your energy consumption at home or at work will hopefully have an impact on your energy bills. The bigger picture is that if more and more people make these changes it will have an impact on overall carbon emissions, a target which everyone in the UK should be aiming for.   

Ellina Webb is a Senior Marketing Executive at Mitsubishi Electric.