I’d never heard of Blue Monday until yesterday when someone in my family mentioned it to me for the first time.  As I look around, I can definitely see exactly where this term came from.  As I write this, I’m on my way back from a client meeting, riding home on the Tube during rush hour.  No one here looks happy.  I mean no one.  Compared to most other days, I see fewer people surfing their phones and more staring patiently into the distance.  Across from me, I see a man staring blankly at the ground, loosely holding his work bag.  Another man has his head buried in his hand, nodding off.  Another woman, looks up intermittently at the Tube map, sighing heavily at each stop, as if every pause becomes a more excruciating barrier to her making it back to the comfort of her home.  The only person I can see smiling on the train is a young woman who perhaps had a friend just send her a funny message on her phone, a woman who moments ago, had been leaning against the side of the train, hands in her pockets, with her eyes staring at the ceiling with a glint of longing and sadness.

The first Monday back to work sees more divorces and miserable tweets than any other day of the year. –The Independent, 6 Jan 2014.

This article in today’s Independent states the first Monday after the New Year’s holiday is one of the most dreadful days of the year for those of us returning to work.  Ahh yes, it’s the contrasting moments in life that really get us. One moment, you’re spending time relaxing with family & friends.  The next, you’re back at work, staring at a backlog of emails and trying to muster up enough motivation to continue working on that PowerPoint deck you had happily forgotten about over the Christmas holiday.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like your job, you may be feeling a bit more negative today compared to most other days.  Perhaps the holidays gave you a chance to reflect on what you really want.  Perhaps you had a chance to finally realise how frustrated you are.  Perhaps you have just come to realise it’s time for a change with the start of a new year.

The good news is that the beginning of a new year is a perfect time to make a change, whether related to your career or your life.  Another way of saying it’s time for new year’s resolutions.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the best track record with new year’s resolutions.  I’ve been telling myself to go to bed earlier for over a decade now, and I still can’t seem to do it.  However, I’ve found that when I force myself to be selective about exactly what I will aspire to do during year, I’m more successful at actually making a change.

When it comes to resolutions, I just don’t think the long bulleted lists work.  My recommendation is to focus on prioritising & maximising impact.  Focus on the three goals you aspire to achieve this year.  Then prioritise them in terms of potential impact and payoff in your life.  Jump ahead to Dec 31, 2014 when you’re reflecting back on the highlights from your year.  What do you want appearing in your Top 3 Highlights Reel?

This article in today’s Fast Company about keeping your new resolutions is a wonderful one to reference if you want more tips on how to keep your resolutions.  And if you haven’t read the concept of the 20 Mile March in Jim Collin’s book Great By Choice, it will clearly demonstrate the power of making consistent, incremental steps toward your goals.

What change will you make to deliver the most meaningful impact to your life in the year ahead?  And what will you do today to make that change a reality?

Here’s to a productive, aspirational, and rewarding year ahead for all of us.  If you begin to take steps toward making the changes you desire, perhaps you won’t be someone who suffers from Blue Monday blues.

About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu helps aspiring professionals relaunch their careers to do work that matters. As a keynote speaker, career & personal branding consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, his passion is helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands.

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