Welcome to January 2022.

It’s human nature to begin the year with a clean slate mentality — let’s sweep 2021 under the rug and start fresh.

The problem with this approach is that you begin your year with no points on the leaderboard.

Rather than focus on the new goals you need to achieve and start from the beginning, how would you feel about tackling them with a head start? You can begin the year from a position of strength rather than being on the back foot.

Here are three things you can do to kick-start your new year from a place of strength with a positive mindset:

1. Acknowledge your wins.

Before you create a list of new goals for 2022, take a moment and reflect on 2021:

  • What did you achieve?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What was your biggest challenge, and what did it teach you?

The point of this exercise is to stop and honour your wins. We are always in a hurry to get to the next goal that we barely pay attention to our achievements.

If you don’t recognise your wins, you cannot integrate them. This lack of recognition is why you continue to feel like an imposter despite your successes. By acknowledging each milestone, you incorporate the growth of who you have become because of it.

No matter how small, every achievement from 2021 proves that you are more than capable of achieving this year’s goals. It is the tangible evidence to make the case that you have the resources to tackle anything.

Perhaps you feel you never achieved significant success in 2021 but recognise that you overcame tremendous challenges. This is how resilience is created; it is not only about getting up again but having the courage and tenacity to keep moving forward.

The ultimate benefit of the process of acknowledging your wins is that it gives you confidence that you can do it again and again despite the external circumstances.

2. Ground with gratitude.

Gratitude has also become a cliché of sorts. It’s one of those tools you know about but don’t always practice it in the moments you need it most. Gratitude is a tool that can instantly ground you when you are feeling overwhelmed about what you think you should have achieved by now.

When creating your 2022 goal list, remember what you already have before you zone in on what still needs to happen or what is missing.

Gratitude for what you have catapults you into a more resourceful state. So let’s try it out together. Here are just a few things you can be grateful for right now:

  • Your healthy mind and body reading this article
  • Your device you are reading this on
  • The safe and comfortable roof over your head
  • The coffee you are probably drinking
  • The people around you who love you
  • Your skills and abilities
  • The breath you just took

You cannot be angry and grateful simultaneously, so ground with gratitude when you find yourself slipping into a fearful emotional state.

No matter the challenge, gratitude reminds you that you are already ten steps ahead. You have more than enough resources available to you right now to begin, no matter how small the first step is.

3. Choose contentment.

As you think about your new goals for 2022, you tend to gravitate to what you would like to stop doing. Perhaps you want to stop procrastinating, avoid checking your phone first thing or cut out fizzy drinks.

How about cultivating a new habit that doesn’t cost you anything, and you don’t need willpower or motivation to succeed at it.

Cultivate the habit of contentment.

The beginning of a new year can be a mixed bag of emotions. You are excited to start the year fresh, but there is a lingering apprehension about what is to come. 

We have had such an emotional roller coaster the last two years that we are approaching 2022 with a sense of dread of what is to come.

Despite all this, what if you chose to do today in happiness? Just because. If you need a reason, how about it’s Tuesday?

You can make this choice every day, even if you are going through a challenging time.

It is always accepted when you share your sadness or disappointment with someone. People want to understand why but never judge your sadness because there is a reason attached.

Have you ever felt happy for no reason and shared that with someone? The response is one of confusion or disbelief — how can you be happy for no reason?

Human beings don’t question sad feelings, but if you say you’re happy, they think something is going on.

Contentment is the ultimate new year’s resolution — I will choose joy every day. I will choose happiness every day.

This is not positive thinking hype; you can be going through the most demanding challenge and still make this choice. Your alternative is to do today in overwhelm, sadness or anger. Option 1 will give you more resilience, strength and determination while the latter leaves you depleted.

Of course, you are entitled to the days where you feel angry, sad or overwhelmed, but don’t stay there. Come back to joy.

Happiness is not conditional unless you place external conditions around it. You don’t need the bank balance, the promotion or the next holiday to be happy. You can be happy and still go after all those things but choose to strive from a place of joy.

Final thoughts.

Even if 2021 wasn’t your favourite year, I encourage you to reflect on what you can take from it. If you faced a tremendous challenge, then see it as a tool you can add to your toolkit for the next challenge.

Courage supersedes confidence. You don’t take action because you’re confident; you’re confident because you took action.

When you acknowledge the action taken despite your fear and stress, you show yourself that you can do It again. Incremental nudges over time in the direction of your goal facilitates the path to success.

It’s hard to see how far you have come if you don’t acknowledge where you started. Create a positive mindset and start the year ahead of the game:

· Acknowledge your wins.

· Ground with gratitude.

· Choose contentment.

Here’s to a fantastic 2022,

Warm wishes,