With the holiday festivities looming, it's common for professional motivation to peter out toward the end of the year. But rather than allow your career to lose out to holiday parties and cookie decorating, Dan Ariely, Duke University professor and author of the best-selling book Predictably Irrational, has some motivational rituals to set yourself up for success come 2017. Feeling skeptical? Consider the fact that motivation predicts career success better than intelligence, ability, or salary, according to a study published in the International Journal of Business and Social Science. In Ariely's own words, here's how to reignite your motivation ahead of the new year:
Find meaning in what you do
"The things that give us deep happiness are inherently things that take longer and have a big element of meaning in them," explains Ariely to Time. "If we are feeling bored and unmotivated, we can ask ourselves, 'How is the work I’m doing helping someone down the road? What meaning can I find here?' With this type of mind-set, chances are that we will be able to find a positive answer."
Make it your own
When we're able to add personal touches to a project, we can connect ourselves to what we're doing and derive motivation in the process. "Giving people some sovereignty over what they do, when they do it, how they do it, where they do it, who they do it with, [serves as a source of motivation]," says Ariely. He recommends making small tweaks to work projects to engender a sense of autonomy.
Focus on the positive
Finding motivation can be as simple as shifting your focus from the negative to the positive aspects of an activity. Ariely gives the example of exercising: "People underestimate how much they enjoy exercise because of a myopic focus on the unpleasant beginning of exercise," he explains. If you instead focus on the endorphin-fueled middle of a workout, or the sense of accomplishment you feel at the end, you can find motivation to work out.
Need more motivation tips? Take notes from Olympians and share your own techniques below!