Making 2021 your best year ever
Forbes recently published an article on 10 tips to being happier and making 2021 your best year ever. We thought they were very useful tips and answering the question at the end of each tip allows you to pause and reflect and gain some perspective on the year that was.
- Focus on the upside of a downside situation. When there are so many incidences of devastation, fear and heartbreak, it’s natural to focus on the downside of the pandemic. But we can balance that out with how it’s brought people together, volunteering and helping one another and strengthening the whole idea of collective selflessness. What upsides can you name?
- Pinpoint the opportunity in the difficulty. Ask, “How can I make this situation work to my advantage? Can I find something positive in it? What can I manage or overcome in this instance?” During the pandemic, for example, we can use times of self-isolation for self-reflection and think about the direction we want to take in the new year. What opportunities do you see?
- Frame 2020 as a lesson to learn, not misery to endure. Ask what you can learn from the difficulties of 2020 and use them as stepping-stones, instead of roadblocks. Think of the adversities of 2020 as happening for you instead of to you. If you consider this perspective less taken, what has 2020 taught you that you can take into 2021?
- Practice gratitude. Look beyond the fear, loss and disappointment at the big picture. Take an inventory of your life and include all the things the pandemic prevented you from doing that you once took for granted. And consider all the people and things in your life that you’re grateful for, letting gratitude steer you beyond the gloom and doom. What are you grateful for?
- Be chancy. Take small risks in new situations instead of predicting negative outcomes before giving them a try. “If I ask for a shot at the promotion, my boss might laugh in my face” becomes “If I ask for a shot at the promotion, my boss might think I have guts and ambition.” How can you stick your neck out at work in the new year?
- Avoid blowing a situation out of proportion. Don’t let one negative experience rule your whole outlook: “I was supposed to get a promotion until the pandemic; now that everything’s on hold, I’ll never advance in my career” becomes “Things are on hold for a while, but nothing lasts forever and there will be other pathways to success.” What limiting situations can you minimise and overcome in 2021?
- Focus on the solution, not the problem. You’ll feel more empowered to cope with pandemic curve balls when you step back from the problem and brainstorm a wide range of possibilities. Your negativity bias will direct you to zoom in and focus on the problem. But when you broaden your perspective, your wide-angle lens will help you see potential in the big picture. What possibilities do you see for 2021?
- Practice positive self-talk. During tough times, be as kind to yourself as you would your best friend. Underscore your triumphs. Replace bludgeoning yourself and using put-downs and criticisms with the practice of self-compassion. Affirm positive feedback instead of letting it roll over your head. Give yourself “atta-boys” or “atta-girls.” Throw modesty out the window and remind yourself of all your personal resources. What are your strengths?
- Practice Solitude. Solitude is good for the soul. It takes you out of the rat race for a while, gives you a bird’s-eye view of your daily life and replaces chaos with serenity. Spend a minimum of five minutes a day alone. Meditate, pray, practice yoga or contemplate nature and connect with something larger than yourself for inspiration and peace of mind. What type of solitude can you practice?
- See a fresh start contained in loss. Every loss contains a gain, but you have to look for it. Every time you get up just one more time than you fall, you increase the likelihood of scaling hard times. Baseball great Babe Ruth said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” What endings in 2020 contain new beginnings in 2021?