It’s that time of year again — the holiday season. A time for togetherness and self-reflection as the year winds down into the next one. I hope you have had a successful year with many accomplishments. I did in many ways, but that doesn’t mean this year didn’t have its fair share of hardships as well.
Throughout 2021, people have come in and out of my life, opportunities have come and gone, and life threw curveballs that drastically altered the path I have been going down. I imagine you also have faced challenges and changes. It can become stressful and defeating at times, but it’s important to remember to keep ourselves in check and understand that some things are out of our control.
That’s life. Nonetheless, here are a couple of ways I deal with the turmoil and prepare for the year ahead.
Three Strategies for Having Merrier Holidays and a Happier New Year
1. Stop. Take a Deep Breath. And Don’t Panic.
Just as COVID changed most of our lives in 2020, external factors this year have led to a lot of “what if” scenarios and uncertainties for me. I expect that you’ve faced some challenges as well. The stress of it all can build up and anxiety can get the best of us when we don’t feel like we have control over what’s happening in our lives. It’s scary, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy on our own terms regardless of how things play out.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath, and realize that sometimes we simply aren’t going to have control over what happens. In my experience, things tend to work themselves out. Caring about a situation and its outcomes doesn’t have to be a recipe for letting yourself crumble. Even when the odds are stacked against you, don’t give up. Keep doing your best and moving forward. The value of hard work is tried and true. If you keep at it, some good will come from it eventually.
2. Take the Time to Reflect and Plan.
You’re probably your biggest critic. That’s normal — and sometimes beneficial. It’s what keeps you on top of your game, and it’s important to hold yourself to the highest standard possible. However, it’s also crucial to reflect on the wins you’ve achieved this year and the paths that brought you to those successes. Cut yourself some slack and give yourself a pat on the back!
To recall my victories, I type out a general overview of what I’ve accomplished and when I’ve missed the mark. I encourage you to try it. As you complete it, you may notice patterns of behavior that were beneficial and those that were not. Perhaps there is an area or two you feel you should hone next year. Think of it as a New Year’s resolution to achieve a new and improved you, with all the best parts still intact!
3. Surround Yourself with the Right People.
I believe that who you surround yourself with is vital for your well-being. The people you associate with dictate the outlook you have, whether you realize it or not. This applies to friends, partners, co-workers, and whoever else takes up most of your time each day.
Don’t be afraid to cut off negative or toxic people from your life. If you’re around people with bad attitudes and who say things to bring you down rather than lift you up, re-assess your inner circle. Never settle for behaviors that make you feel less about yourself. We deal with enough stress already, and there’s no need to add more chaos by having negative people around us.
I find myself most motivated by my friends who work every day to be better than they were yesterday. It keeps me going and inspired to be the very best that I can be.
Some people say we shouldn’t look at the upcoming year as a clean slate. They say we shouldn’t center our efforts to improve around a certain day of the year, nor should we wait to make changes until last year’s calendar is replaced with a new one. I see nothing wrong with that mindset, and I applaud those who can make changes quickly at any time.
However, the symbolism in the turning of the new year helps me feel settled into a new era of living. It facilitates the shift of my lifestyle and mindset. I enjoy seeing the year wind down, knowing that I did my best to make it as good as it could be — even with the curveballs coming and going. There’s nothing wrong with taking time to reflect, relax, and prepare to start things on a new leaf.
Regardless of whether you share my viewpoint, here’s to a 2022 filled with new opportunities!
Your turn! What was your greatest achievement in 2021? What will you try to achieve in 2022?