2021 is certainly a year many of us will not forget for a long time. It is a time which will go down in history as the world continued to struggle with the impact of COVID-19.

The year of lockdowns. The year of border closures. The year of job losses. The year (for some) of extreme illness or grief. The year our resilience, patience, adaptability, perseverance and strength were stretched beyond belief.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. I am certain that everyone has some gems they can take with them as we welcome in the new year. Perhaps for some, these gems may be a little far from the surface, but they are there if we spend the time searching for them.

These gems will empower us to keep going; they will help us to flourish and reach new heights. These gems will be the foundation for a successful and meaningful 2022.

So, let us take a moment to find your gems! I would recommend you set aside 30 minutes to self-reflect on the below questions. Write your responses down. Give yourself the space to be authentic and reflective

What is one thing this year who’ve done which surprised you?

What did you learn about yourself from this experience?

How can this lesson be carried forwards, across other life domains?

What is an achievement you are proud of?

What does this mean to you?

Did you take the time to celebrate this accomplishment? If not, there is still time!

Who did you share this moment with? What difference did this make? We all need to feel more comfortable sharing our ‘wins’ with ourselves and others.

What healthy new rituals or routines did you start in 2021?

Which rituals are the ones which have stuck and you are confident you’ll continue with in 2022?

What difference will this make, if so?

Is there a relationship you are particularly proud of this year?

Why are you proud? What happened?

What does this relationship mean to you?

What next steps are you going to make to continue nurturing this relationship?

Have your values shifted? Are there things which seem more important to you now?

If so, what are they?

Have you started to make movement towards living a life in line with these values?

How can you be accountable to these values, to ensure that you are living a life which is meaningful?

What else can you do to enhance your wellbeing in 2022?

Resolutions can be a great catalyst for change, however many of us set unrealistic goals for the new year. The focus should be on making small changes which can help cultivate positivity and improve overall mental health.

Leading expert on happiness and positive psychology Shawn Achor believes that small changes which impact on how we positively engage with others, or how we nurture and cultivate our inner world can lead to big wins across the board.

When we maintain a positive outlook our brains experience an increase in performance. Achor elaborates further: “When we’re hopeful and appreciative, dopamine floods into the body. This not only improves our mood and triggers feelings of happiness, but it also turns on all of the learning centers in the brain, enabling us to be more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient and productive”.

So let us take this gem with us into the new year – let us pledge to maintain positivity, maintain hope, show appreciation, and express gratitude. Each of us deserves an abundance of happiness! What brings you joy is different to others, so take the time to reflect and identify those things which makes you feel happy.

Below are 10 achievable resolutions which support a positive life and better mental health. Be realistic when implementing change – map it out, be sensible with planning, choose practices which are in line with your values and fit with your lifestyle. Ensure that you embrace self-compassion and kindness to set yourself up for success.

1. Practice gratitude

2. Engage in a writing practice, such as journaling

3. Prioritize and nurture good relationships

4. Be present, practice mindfulness

5. Prioritize your sleep, ensuring you reach 7-9 hours of sleep/night

6. Get active – move your body

7. Reduce your screen time – unplug from technology and social media

8. Engage in regular breathing exercises to enhance relaxation and a calm state of being

9. Turn inwards, listen to your body and your mind

10. Be kind to yourself; increase moments of self-compassion

Enjoy your journey of self-reflection and finding those gems!

Yours in wellness,

Libby McLean

EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer

Positive MIND Consulting