How to Keep Festive Cheer for a Happy and Motivating New Year
Do you want to start the new year full of positivity? Keen to keep your class motivated and happy as we head into 2021? Victoria Maitland reckons Christmas can give us plenty of positive lessons and so she’s got some ideas to help you.
2020 has been difficult - probably the understatement of the year! But then long-term goals always are. It’s hard to track progress. Plans often become vague and optimistic, as counting is done in months rather than days.
And that’s not accounting for the motivation vacuum that occurs when there really is no end in sight - thanks COVID!
However, with Christmas coming, it does seem there are attainable end points in sight – to the term, to the year and to the latest round of restrictions. Accompanied by some twinkling lights, mulled wine and the recognisable tones of Wham and Mariah Carey coming from every car window, the festive season brings some much-needed familiarity to an otherwise alien year.
Short Term Goals
You see, short term goals and immediate satisfaction reap rewards. A quick dopamine hit can leave us realising what we want and striving for more of the same. Achievements feel good and we can tick box our way to success through a ladder of measurable goals.
If we know, then, that short term success fires our brain with a lovely buzz of achievement and helps us feel good, can this help us with our overall motivation? Can we take these short-term Christmas-centric methods through to 2021 to create a sustainable toolkit of motivation for the classroom?
I say yes! So here are some ideas to help you take that festive cheer from Christmas and use it to your advantage.
Recognise the Journey
We may not know how long it will continue into 2021, but we have been on this journey for 9 months - a huge achievement. Try and see those markers. Make a list of the things that you have already done to get to now - including affording the gifts you’re giving. Can you come up with 20 positive things that happened in 2020?
Don’t wait for motivation to come to you. Motivation actually comes after starting a new behaviour or regime, and not before. Once a task is started it is easier to continue - just hold that in mind when you think about wrapping presents or washing up after the Christmas meal.
Create a Ritual Around Your Tasks
By planning a schedule that you stick to, you give yourself focus. Creating habits and routines is the best way to motivate your brain and your body. Not only will it help you feel more positive and in control, it will also calm the children when Christmas excitement is in overdrive.
Avoid Succumbing to Fear
When nagging doubts surface, we can feel overwhelmed and out of control. A quick blast of music, doing physical activity or laughing with a friend releases endorphins, asserts our authority and helps us feel impactful. Feed your brain some external positivity - especially when cooking Christmas dinner!
Think about Thinking
If we believe the journey will be hard, it will be - particularly if it involves the mother-in-law. Recognise that you can do it and that it will make an impact. Your work as a teacher serves so many - the children, the parents and the community. It truly is important. If the journey does feel hard, reflect on a time when you’ve faced something similar and consider how you were successful.
Get those happy hormones released by recognising and celebrating your achievements - a lovely Christmas dinner, time spent with family etc. Put your feet up and reflect on the positives - it will make you want to do it all over again, I promise.
So take any festive lessons you’ve learned, like the ideas above, and think about how you can maintain them as you move into 2021. After all, they are definitely lessons for your class to learn too, right? Together you can continue that sense of festive cheer and achievement well into the new year.