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Kiwis struggling to find motivation but keen to do more next year


New research from Microsoft ANZ shows many New Zealanders and Australians have been struggling to find motivation and joy in the things they love during the last 18 months but would like to achieve more in the year ahead. 

Commissioned by Microsoft ANZ for the release of Windows 11, YouGov conducted a survey of over 1,000 New Zealanders and 1,000 Australians to understand the impact prolonged uncertainty and lockdowns have had on feelings of connectivity, creativity, productivity, and enjoyment.

Looking ahead to the next year, the survey also uncovered top aspirations held by New Zealanders and Australians and the support they need to reach their goals. 

On average, New Zealanders rated their motivation over the past 18 months at 5.9 out of 10. This is compared to 7.2 before the start of the pandemic. Their counterparts in Australia, which has seen even longer periods of lockdown, fared worse, slipping from a rating of 7.1 to 5.2 out of 10. 

When rating their levels of connectivity, creativity, productivity, and having fun or finding joy in things they love, New Zealanders reported struggling to achieve the goals they set themselves before the pandemic, with ratings of between 5.6 and 6. 

In this environment, it comes as little surprise that more than half of respondents (54 per cent of New Zealanders and 53 per cent of Australians) reported an appetite to achieve more as they look ahead to the future. 

Kiwis’ aspirations revealed 

This research was conducted to coincide with the release of Windows 11, which became available across the globe in October 2021. Windows has been the platform for millions of people around the world to work, connect with others or pursue their hobbies. 

The research revealed Kiwis are keen to keep up new hobbies and skills picked up or rediscovered during lockdown. When asked which skills or activities they will look to continue or explore over the next 12 months: 

  • • 36 per cent of Kiwis said cooking a new dish or cuisine 
  • • 34 per cent of Kiwis said baking 
  • • 24 per cent of Kiwis said playing video games 
  • • 12 per cent of Kiwis said photography 
  • • 14 per cent of Kiwis said attending an online skills course 
  • • 16 per cent of Kiwis said painting or drawing 
  • • 10 per cent of Kiwis said learning a new language 
  • • 13 per cent of Kiwis said learning to use new software 

Still, 1 in 10 Kiwis reported not knowing what steps to take to realise their aspirations. 

The top three areas where respondents wanted support were learning or improving on new skills (58 per cent New Zealand; 59 per cent Australia), subject matter knowledge (52 per cent New Zealand; 58 per cent Australia) and having the most up-to-date tools (39 per cent New Zealand; 43 per cent Australia). 

Tips for visualising the future 

The survey also revealed people turn to trusted authorities for inspiration to achieve their goals.

Microsoft has partnered with mindset coach Mark Dobson, an Olympic coach and leadership advisor, on an 11/10 campaign to help people on both sides of the Tasman imagine the future and how to reach it once lockdowns lift. 

Dobson’s top five tips are: 

  1. Admit your sincere ambition – It doesn’t have to be awe inspiring by anyone else’s measure, but something that, if achieved or attempted, would feel wonderful to you. Pay attention to that warm feeling of possibility.

  2. Use uncommon strategy – Extraordinary achievement does not require you to just work harder, it requires a strategy that makes your ambition feel within reach. Identify what it takes to reach your 11/10 and use this as your path.

  3. Commit – Embrace the resourcefulness that comes with locking yourself into an event, deadline, promise, contact or whatever is a commitment in your field or endeavour. Don’t fear the pressure.

  4. A new peer group – There is a generally accpeted thinking in performance that you are the average of the five people you hang out with. Looking to people you admire or who are high achievers in your area will help you get there.

  5. Risk failure – To hit 11/10 requires an element of desperation. Welcome the emotions that come with being at risk of failure. They are not to be feared. These are the sensation of getting high on life! They are the experience of being fully engaged in the task at hand. Do you miss out on these emotions.
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