Are you guilty of returning to work after the Christmas holidays and feeling disappointed that your break is over? Perhaps you’ve been a negative nancy in the office or you have just jumped straight into job-seeking because you’ve realised just how much you hate it here.

In this episode I’m sharing a few common mindset challenges experienced in the new year, along with some tips to make sure you remain in control of your own destiny.

Links I mentioned in this episode:

36. Don’t let the new year ruin your career – Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi, there I’m Bec McFarland the host of the Pop Your Career Podcast. As a career coach, I’m most passionate about helping my clients to discover their own personal flavour of career fulfillment. In this podcast, we are going to be exploring ways that you too can feel more fulfilled by your work. So strap yourself in, get ready for the ride. The tips around here are fast and in abundance.

[00:00:33] Hello. Hello. It is Bec McFarland here helping you do better and be better in your career. And my gosh, it has been a little time since I’ve been behind the podcasting mic. I’m hoping that today I remember how to do it, and now to show up. And today I’m here to talk to you all about why you shouldn’t let the New Year ruin your career.[00:01:00]

[00:01:00] Before I dive in and talk to you about a few tips to prevent the new year from ruining your career, I just wanted to share with you three different new year mindsets that I often see from clients who are booking themselves in for career coaching throughout the first few months of a new year.

[00:01:22] The first mindset is one that I know you are familiar with, maybe not necessarily in relation to your career, but we’ve all heard about New Year, new You, and this is where we see the beginning of the new year as an opportunity to completely change who we are. And for most of us when we do this, we set near resolutions and create loads of unrealistic expectations. We are constantly setting goals that are out of our reach and even that we might not necessarily be that committed to anyway. I see a lot of people setting [00:02:00]goals that they think they should set, not necessarily goals that they really strive for. So what I found is New Year, new you affects us in all areas of our lives.

[00:02:12] This is why the gyms are packed at the beginning of the new year because everyone thinks they’re gonna lose a few pounds, shed that Chrissy weight and we see it in other areas as well. You know, the house decluttering or whatever other goals or ideas that we’ve had kind of floating around in the back of our mind.

[00:02:34] We use this time to bring them to the forefront, and I’m telling you, it’s just not always a great idea. It can be a really good, positive time to set goals. But it can also be quite dangerous because a lot of people think New Year, new you quick. It’s time to get a new job.

[00:02:59] The [00:03:00] second mindset is what I’ve always called the New Year’s suckies, and I know this feeling only too well. What happens is, particularly here in Australia, a lot of people end up taking off a bit of time over that Christmas holiday, the kind of summer break, and it’s understandable, right? Whenever we go back to work, it can be a little bit difficult to settle back in.

[00:03:27] I know that I have always had this problem when I had a job, and for me, my birthday is on the 17th of January, so it’s always been really tricky to kind of snap back into work mode before my birthday when I kind of see it as part of this big month long celebration. So what I’ve always tried to do when I had a job was to make sure that I took off the time between that Christmas New Year and my birthday, [00:04:00] and I had my own little bit of a shutdown.

[00:04:02] I still do this now that I’m working full-time in my business. I usually take a full month off over Christmas every year where I do do a little bit of work while I’m on holidays, but I don’t see clients, so it allows me to fully immerse myself in my own creativity.

[00:04:20] Even for myself now, I love my job, right? I am so stoked that I get to do what I do every single day. But coming back to work after that month off can be really, really tricky. And this year I have actually had a bit of a false start. I was due to come back to work last week and I have been quite ill since just before I came back to work. So I actually had to cancel a lot of my clients last week, which means that now my return from holidays has kind of been postponed [00:05:00] this week and it’s drawn out and it just feels so hard. As much as I love what I do, I also really love lounging around watching television and just chilling out. So whether you own your own business or you are in a traditional career, you can probably relate to this.

[00:05:23] It’s so, oh, draining, having to return back to your job after a little bit of holidays, and so this is this feeling that I, I call the New Year’s suckies, right? You go back to work. Everyone’s talking about what an amazing time they had over the holidays and you are probably just wishing that you could go back home. Do the doona burrito thing, but you can’t.

[00:05:56] And so what happens is a lot of people end [00:06:00] up going, ‘do you know what? Like, I, I’m not feeling happy. Um, you know, I, in fact, I feel quite crappy. It must be my job. It’s probably time for me to get another job.’ When really maybe we just need to acknowledge that this time of the year is a little bit challenging for everybody. Even those of us who are really super stoked by the work they do.

[00:06:25] Now, the third mindset that I wanna share is one that’s fairly unique to certain behavioural styles, but this one is all about change. Now, some of my clients absolutely live for change, and they are looking for any excuse to change things up.

[00:06:45] Now, with these change seekers, it only takes a little tiny trigger to set that desire for change in motion. And of course, the beginning of a new year is a pretty substantial [00:07:00] trigger. So again, what I find is people are booking in for coaching with me and saying, I need a new job. It’s time for a change when really they might be changing just for the sake of change.

[00:07:17] I’m definitely not that kind of girl. I don’t respond to change that well, so I’m definitely not going to be changing jobs as often as I change my underwear just because it gives me a little thrill. No, no, no. But I do appreciate that some people really do enjoy changing things up.

[00:07:38] This episode is brought to you by the Career Clarity Quest, my absolutely free, seven day program, which is designed to support you in getting so much clearer about your next steps. Find it at

[00:07:58] So what can we do about [00:08:00] it? I think you’ve got the hint that I’m kind of saying that you probably shouldn’t just jump straight onto the job boards and start looking for other opportunities. Instead, I am recommending a few different actions that you can take beforehand just to make sure that you are properly taking care of yourself, that you’re doing the thing, and that if you do decide that a change is in the air, then you can feel really good about it.

[00:08:29] So the first step is to recognize and acknowledge your feelings and your behaviour. So we want to have a look like what’s been happening. Ask yourself some questions. If you find that you have been feeling a little bit agro or feeling a little bit agitated by the things that have been going on at work, it’s a really good opportunity for you to reflect on that and just ask yourself the question, you know, have I been agro lately? Have I been agitated?

[00:08:58] I then advise you to [00:09:00] go ahead and admit it to yourself. This is always really hard. When we do talk about DISC behavioural profiling, you’ll find that there is a few things that I tell you about each of the different behavioural styles.

[00:09:11] And whenever I’m working with one of those styles and I tell them this part of their profile, their response is always like, ‘I’m not like that. I don’t get nasty. I don’t get bitchy. I don’t get like aggressive’. And it’s like, hang on a second, honey. Just take a minute to reflect. And usually then a few minutes later they’re like, ‘oh yeah, I, I see what you might mean’. So admit it to yourself. If you’ve been a bit of a turd, then take the behaviour, like take responsibility for it.

[00:09:45] The next step is to explore it. And this is the part that I really enjoy. And I guess the part that I’ve been more focused on since I’ve moved into the coaching world, and this is really that point where we start to dive in and ask ourselves some [00:10:00] questions to get to the bottom of where the behaviour’s coming from.

[00:10:02] We can start with like, I wonder what’s gotten into me? why am I feeling like this? For me personally, I really enjoy journaling, these kinds of things, and I will actually write down in my journal questions that I would ask myself if I was my coach. So it could be a question like, why have I been feeling agitated lately? What has triggered these feelings? Maybe I don’t know. But if I were to know, what would the answer? And then finally you have the opportunity to go ahead and make a change. You know, if you find that your mood hasn’t been that great, you can take steps to actually make more of an effort to not let your mood affect others, but also, not let your mood affect yourself, right?

[00:10:53] So taking these four steps to recognize and acknowledge your feelings and behaviour, reflecting on it, admitting it to [00:11:00] yourself, exploring it, and changing it. And what you’ll often find is that by the time you’ve gone through this little process, you may not necessarily feel like you need a change after all, and you are also not going to be driving your colleagues mad either with your crappy behaviour.

[00:11:21] Tip number two is to cut yourself some slack. And look, I’m talking about this all the time because I really do believe that most people don’t give themselves enough self compassion. What I would say is acknowledge the fact that you have got unrealistic and stressful expectations that you’re setting for yourself, and that that’s just not okay anymore.

[00:11:43] You are human. You’re not perfect because hey, there’s no such thing. Now, this can be a lot harder than it sounds, particularly if you are really driven or you are really results oriented. It means that you are inherently [00:12:00]created to go after whatever it is that you want. And often throughout this process we can find that we expend more energy than we have and we can start to burnout.

[00:12:13] My advice to you would be to consider how things might change if you were to move a little slower? This was a hard concept for me to grasp because when I think about slowing down, I think about stopping, and that to me feels really awful. It feels stagnant and boring, and a little bit too peaceful for my liking.

[00:12:39] But what I have learned is that slowing down doesn’t necessarily mean stopping. You can actually lower the pace, but still achieve momentum and have some fluidity in your life. If you need some help with this, it might mean that you bail up a friend or a family member, book a session with a coach, but get the [00:13:00] perspective of somebody who you respect so that you can learn to increase that self-compassion. That is really gonna create a little bit more space for you.

[00:13:11] My third tip is to work out what you actually want. And I say actually, because so many times I meet people who don’t really know what it is that’s driving them. You know, they tell me they wanna make more money, but they wanna work less hours and have flexible working conditions.

[00:13:32] But they also wanna have the opportunity to climb the ladder. They want public recognition that they also wanna work autonomously and they wanna work from home, but they also want an office with a view. Now what this is, is a whole lot of contradictions and conflicting answers, and usually this happens because these clients haven’t taken the time to think about what is most important to them.

[00:13:57] So instead they create this bucket of [00:14:00] goals of, again, things that they should be striving for and then all they have is conflict. Now you can imagine that if you had this bucket of goals or ideals that you were working towards and they’re all conflicting with each other, you are in a position where you will never be fully happy.

[00:14:20] So instead, I really encourage people to sit down and work out what they actually want how they actually want to feel so that they can then have realistic opportunities to go after what they really want. Now, if you’re keen to explore this for yourself, you can definitely do this through the values exercise that we’ve talked about in some of our previous episodes, or even start to sit down and have a little bit of a think about, you know, what are those non-negotiables? What boundaries do you need to set in work to feel more fulfilled by the work that you’re doing and by the place that you’re working?[00:15:00]

[00:15:02] I hope that these three tips have helped you today, that they give you a little bit of food for thought and help you to recognize if you are sitting in any of those new year mindsets. Don’t let the new year ruin your career. Take control. Set yourself up for success and then celebrate your wins. If there’s anything that I can do to help you, please feel free to reach out and of course, I’m very happy for you to book yourself a free 15 minute consult with me so that we can have a chat about what you are striving for in your career and how I might be able to help.

[00:15:41] Have a beautiful week and I will see you in the next episode.

[00:15:45] Thanks so much for listening to the Pop Your Career podcast. I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s tips and that you found value in what I’ve shared with you. If you like your career advice quick and entertaining, I would [00:16:00]love for you to subscribe. Also leave me a rating and a review. If you wanna continue the conversation, come and join me over on social media. You can find me everywhere at Pop Your Career. I’ll see you soon.


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About the author 


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.