Usually I quite enjoy getting back into work in January. It’s often tricky for the first day or two but by day three I am generally ok and by the time the second week comes around I am fully back to business.

This year though I don’t mind telling you that I’ve had full-on ‘Jan-ancholy’. Just can’t shake it; I am hopeful that February brings much more joy.

Why this year more than other years? I don’t know – perhaps a mixture of bugs and viruses, the cold and wet weather, weariness with the politics of the world, another year into my 40s.

This is good fodder for many a tabloid feature and has also piqued the interest of Academics at the University of Exeter. Their summation is that

“Depressed mood is often exacerbated by a perception of a gap between how someone wants things to be and how they actually are. These actual-ideal discrepancies are highlighted at this time of year”.

So identifying a need for self-improvement and/or a need to change our current situation is what drives us towards Jan-guish? This should be a healthy and important process but it’s adjacence to the fun and indulgence of December means it’s often forced onto us and so less welcome.

The spike in Google searches for ‘gym’ comes as little surprise but it is interesting that interest in gyms appears to be growing over the last decade or so. Google Trends can also tell us all sorts of interesting things about the growing interest in HIIT (high intensity interval training), the huge spike in people searching for ‘tennis club’ in the UK coinciding with Wimbledon and the relative interest in ‘mindfulness’ compared to ‘buddhism’.

If I was going to assign myself to a segmentation based around self-help, I would suggest I am a ‘self-help keeno’ rather than a ‘junkie’. My self-improvement journey over the last few years has included HIIT, mindfulness, Yoga with Tim, listening to all manner of podcasts and video-blogs (this even included subscribing to Marie Forleo) and, naturally, the odd TED talk.

However – and here’s an insight based on a sample of one but which feels like it might be more universal – I either quickly give up on the things which don’t offer instant results (more often exercise and things which require me to change my routine) or the inspiration sought from the wisdom and success of others leaves me feeling more flat than before I started.

More here on how personality type and our environment affect our ability to change and improve.

I think surrounding ourselves with too much ‘inspiration’ of this kind can just make us feel worse about our own situation. I am not alone in this thought. And, hopefully like you, my situation isn’t really that bad at all; it’s actually pretty good. So what am I trying to fix?! I think I have fallen into a trap where I have succumb to the notion that I must seek some kind of personal and career nirvana otherwise my life will be unfulfilled. Nonsense.

And so, I am giving up. Quitting. I’m going to stop seeking out what, until now, I have perceived to be the benefits of listening to others and I am going to try some self-inspiration. Simply noting down the things I am proud of having achieved and some ideas – generated by me – as to how I can improve my offering to clients. Marginal gains, incremental changes, one step at a time. Go me.

I think the point of this week’s blog relates to our attitudes and focus at work and in business. We should stop ourselves from rolling from one new thinker to another new trend to another new book and take some time to internalise, strategise and self-inspire. Mark Ritson says it far better than me. His advice is definitely worth taking note of.

Here’s to a self-inspiring 2018… y’all! (Marie says y’all).

Jan-ancholy 🙁

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