How to beat the January blues! Sales professionals and managers read on…


No matter how hard we try, there’s just something about the post-Christmas period that (if we let it) can mess with our head’s and bring us down into a place where all that seems to be in focus is how grey the sky is, how much festive weight we have gained and just how far away our Summer holiday seems to be!


Not the best place for sales professionals to be, especially when facing challenging targets and bosses who, even though they are probably feeling the same (but can’t show it), will be keen to ensure that those targets are still met. So, for sales professionals who are actively selling and sales managers who invariably sell as well as manage sales teams, how do we avoid this situation and ensure that we stay motivated?


Well the first thing to do is forgive yourself! The fact is that at least two of the three things above are probably true and don’t just exist in your imagination. We can trust that for at least some of January the sky will probably be grey and of course the summer break is a long way in the distance. Whether you have over indulged to the point of weight gain is a matter for each individual but it’s certainly not uncommon for any of us to do so. The situation is quite normal to feel a little low when faced with not much sunshine around, the beach a distant vision and the potential need to move out at least one hole on your belt.


One of the first things we can do is acknowledge that, as normal as this predicament is, no one else is going to get us out of the situation, we must assume that responsibility and act for ourselves. This will give us control of what we do next. Our perceived lack of motivation may well be affected by outside influences seemingly out of our control, but as Abraham Lincoln famously remarked, “People are about as happy as they make their minds up to be”. So, let’s get to it.


Only recently, whilst enjoying a drink in a local pub with friends, someone was introduced into the conversation by one of our group. He was a sales manager for a large company in the brewing industry and as he talked, I was struck by his total conviction that the post-Christmas period should not be a time for doom and gloom. Yes, it was always a busy period leading up to Christmas as you would expect but, he posited, but there was plenty to be done now in the New Year and myriad of things on the horizon that would boost sales. He refused to succumb to the view that January is a ‘dead month’ because of Christmas. 


He demonstrated that attitude was everything and it occurred to me that simply being in his company made me feel better and more positive about upcoming challenges. Therefore, whenever you can, surround yourself with positive and successful people. They are a far better antidote to feeling negative than the prophets of doom will ever be for you.


Keep focussed on the most positive aspects of your life and develop a mantra that you can use whenever a negative influence occurs that says, “No, not today, delete that thought” and move swiftly on. To put it in terms we all understand, ‘Carborundum illegitimi ne’.


A colleague I worked with many years ago always used to say that in January and January only, she would try something new (I’m not sure she could keep it up all year round). But it was to ‘cheer myself up a bit’ as she would put it. I remember that she tried loads of different things from yoga classes and Pilates to learning how to bake and crochet. However, what was evident was that her demeanour noticeably changed as she felt a new enthusiasm for her new hobby. It didn’t matter that she may have given it up in February (which she often had) as it allowed her to focus on something different and new rather than the three negative and miserable influences mentioned above. So, maybe try something different and see what it does for you? There’s nothing to lose and much to be gained.


If we accept that attitude really is everything, and I firmly believe that it is. Then a number of these strategies fall into the category of ‘If I think I can do it, then I can’. Consequently, if we bring a large dose of ‘doing’ rather that simply talking about it then the sense of achievement to be had is exponentially beneficial. Set yourself a realistic target for whatever you decide to embark on and do everything in power to ensure that you hit that target. As Yoda said to a struggling Luke, “No! Try not! Do… or do not. There is no try.”


That said, don’t overextend yourself with too many new activities or projects. Do just enough to change your focus away from the negatives around you. Also, don’t worry if the result is not perfect as in many cases it doesn’t need to be. Sometimes reaching 95% or even 98% percent perfection is good enough. Trying to get something 100% takes a great deal of effort usually and you can often spend more time on the last few percent than you did on the first 95. Simply achieving a good level of excellence is often a great target to aim for (unless of course you are a Brain Surgeon or Pilot then only 100% right is good enough!).


Just because something isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it won’t work or you have failed in some way. It may well be fully fit for purpose. However, if you do try and fail then don’t sweat the small stuff as the saying goes. At least you tried something new or different and if it didn’t work, then try again with a fresh approach. Learn from it and move on.


Beating the January blues can sometimes be done by simply reframing or changing our attitude to those things around us. But there are times we all need positive outside influences to help us on our way. Whether you are a sales professional on the phone or out in the field or a sales manager influencing your team to success, being motivated improves performance and that is what leads to success.


Here at Maguire Training we have classroom-based courses and programmes that can help you with staying motivated. We are also proud to offer a versatile and intuitive suite of over a hundred e-learning modules on our website which covers a range of business management, strategy and related topics. Have a look at our elearning module ‘motivating Others’ which would be the prefect complement to our classroom-based programmes.


If you need further information then you could always call us of course on 0333 5777 144 for a no obligation discussion about your training requirements. Alternatively, simply hit the ‘Contact Us’ on any page of our website at and we’ll get right back to you.


Either way it would be great to hear from you.

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