The New Year is here, the family time and parties are over, and for many, me included, January feels like an anti-climax following a busy and exciting December. To combat this, I have come up with some great ways to make January that little bit better.

Appreciate what you have!

Ok, so you haven’t won the Christmas lottery, you have another year of work ahead of you and it is a long time until the summer but just take a moment to appreciate what you do have. You’ve had a great Christmas you have spent time with people that you love and vice versa, you have a job to go back to and you are alive and well. Some people are not so lucky, is it really that bad?

If you are still struggling, every week in January write down 3 things you are thankful for that week, at the end of January you will have 12 things to look back at and smile about.

Fake it till you make it…

Most people feel down in January but moaning together in the office will only make it worse, you will bring each other down which will in turn make you all feel worse. Try smiling every morning when you walk into the office and trick your brain into believing you are happy to be at work. The feel-good chemicals that smiling releases will make you feel better instantly, keep repeating this daily and your mood will naturally lift and you feel start to feel better instantly.

Pretend the sun is shining!

No one wants to get out of bed when it is dark and cold outside. We live in the UK so unfortunately we can’t change the weather but what we can do is fake it! There are some great sunrise alarm clocks out there and these are great for mimicking a lovely summers morning. Subconsciously it will trick your mind into thinking it is summer making it easier to get up feeling motivated and refreshed.

Set short term goals

Goals provide our energy, they are what get us through the day, however we often set long term goals without looking at short term achievements, and when we do, we tend to think of things in a negative way. “I just need to get through the week” “I just need to make it to my next holiday” This type of self-talk is not helpful and will make you ultimately feel worse.

Instead try to think of your goals in a positive way “I will enjoy this week and be grateful for all the experiences that I will have” “I will work hard and my reward will be my holiday”. Thinking in this way will give you the energy and motivation to enjoy life and not wish it away. If it is something serious then yes, you are allowed to feel down but anything else, deal with it and be positive while you do.

Stop unhelpful self-talk

We all talk to ourselves every day, HOW we talk to ourselves impacts on our behaviour. A wise man called Lou Tice once said to me, “you act as the truth as you believe it to be”. Put simply, if you tell yourself you are unhappy, you believe it so you will act in that way.

A good measure of how negative your self-talk is, ask yourself “if a friend spoke to me in the way I spoke to myself, would I still be their friend” If the answer is no, something needs to change.

Every time you catch yourself being negative in your head, stop and replace those thoughts with positive thoughts. For example, if you find yourself saying “I am useless at this job”, change that to “I am great at my job, I can do this, I am just having a bad day, and that is ok, I am human, everybody has bad days”.

Exercise… yes you read that right!!

I don’t need to tell you that exercise releases feel-good endorphin’s, you know that, but getting to the gym can seem like a step too far. Start with a 20-minute walk after work, once a week, then build that up to twice a week and so on. The fresh air will make you feel instantly better and the walking will kick start your new year health kick (mentally as well as physically). Feel amazing – minus the effort.

Get planning!

Instead of feeling down and frustrated, use the dark and miserable evenings to plan on how you’re going to actually achieve those new year resolutions. Small achievable steps are a great way to start (think about the walking to kick start your health kick, easily achievable, costs nothing) Then whenever you’re feeling down you can take a look at the list and look forward to everything you’ve planned.

Remember the 90/10 principle!

This rule states that 10% of your happiness depends on things that happen to you while a 90% depends on how you react to these events. Make a conscious choice this year to think and act positive – Good luck and have a happy and positive 2017.