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Fostering wellbeing in the new year

We’re well into the new year, making it the ideal time for honest introspection and setting new priorities and goals, ready to be contoured into the shapes of our expectations.

As we wishfully embrace a fresh start, 2022 finds us at a point where our way of working is undergoing a revolution. With the remote work model established as a viable and necessary new way to conduct business, the digital transformation boosting and paving the way to more data-driven decision making, or the pursuit to increase diversity within organizations and design an inclusive workplace, we steadily adopt transformative trends that are here to grow.

While still a highly debated topic, we are also at a point of heightened interest in prioritizing mental wellness and overall wellbeing in the workplace. If the last two years have shown us anything, taking steps to maintain a healthy mental state is fundamental for our development. For some, this might mean moving on to something new. For others, it could be a question of finding fresh motivation or balance.

Now, as we make our way out of the January blues, we’re left with a daunting challenge: the objectives and resolutions that we project onto the new year. Some we managed to accomplish, others come with a promising start and most just need a little more work.

So, is making New Year’s resolutions beneficial to our wellbeing? The pressure to attain them often becomes a source of stress. But with a few adjustments, our well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions can become sources of fulfilment rather than concern.

Let’s focus on mental comfort in 2022, and take positive steps to support our wellbeing. Here are some simple and useful guidelines that we can remind ourselves of as we set our personal and professional goals for the new year:

Reflect on your growth

To set realistic goals, we need to look back at where we were at this time last year, what we have achieved and the challenges we have encountered. These reflections can help us assess the pace of progress and expected milestones. If you have a firm grasp on your career journey, taking time to review your goals will help you set or update them as the new year begins and will make it less likely that you will get discouraged and give up.

Aim for progress rather than perfection

Most of us may think that being perfect would lead us closer to our career goals. However, the more we stumble, the greater our fear of achieving the perfection that we want. It makes us feel upset about ourselves, which often leads us to feel unmotivated and insufficient. We need to reset our focus. Mistakes are part of the journey and they are essential for your growth. Slowly but surely, as they said. We need to remember to move forward and know that small progress matters in realizing our goals.

Explore your “Why”

Finding our purpose is the fuel that drives us towards doing something consistently. Let’s say your goal is to advance in your role this year. What urges you to do so? Perhaps you want to prove your capabilities, or maybe you’re looking for more responsibility on top of an increased income. Our ‘why’ helps us determine the depth of our reasons behind an ambition or intention and it could help us sustain our actions towards a goal.

Take that win

Small victories are still victories. They keep us going and help us achieve the results we’re looking for. If your goal is to run a marathon, start out by running a mile, then build yourself up. If you run that marathon, reward yourself by treating yourself to new running shoes for all of the hard work you put in. Setting short-term goals with long-term rewards adds to our motivation and willpower to progress.

Make time for yourself

It’s easy to get caught up in work and lose sight of what’s important, but making time for ourselves is a crucial part of our health. A good start is reassessing the extra hours you put into work. Or finding a hobby or activity that you enjoy and establishing a goal relating to it: make it a point to read a certain number of books this year, to solve a certain number of jigsaw puzzles with your kids or to have regular meet-ups with your friends – you name it! Setting aside time to read, to work out, and to be with friends and family will help us feel better both mentally and physically.

Identify and set boundaries

Being hard workers does not make us immune to the stress of feeling overwhelmed at work. Balancing workload is difficult, especially when taking on extra projects out of a sense of obligation or just to please everyone. Just saying “no” to extra assignments might be easier said than done – you risk setting yourself up for being viewed as uncooperative. At other times, even if you say “yes,” your workload becomes too much to handle, and your productivity drops. Constantly communicating with our colleagues about what we are working on and how much more work we can reasonably accept is essential in keeping our workload under control and avoiding burning out.

Pace yourself

It’s tempting to want that dream job now or to want to be successful right away, but it’s important to remember that everything worth achieving takes time. When we rush things, we get stressed out and anxious. When we approach our career with an attitude of patience and perseverance, we’ll be better able to appreciate the journey. You may even find that before you know it, the thing you’ve been working toward has become part of your life. More often than we think, we need to take it easy and enjoy the ride.

 

It’s important to have career goals, but we need to be sure not to lose sight of what it means to live. It’s an integral, but not a whole, part of a happy life. Being aware of our thinking patterns, of our choices, and being intentional in our actions will lead to positive wellbeing.

Let’s stop worrying about getting back to normal and reach for the next thing instead – making small tweaks, rewarding ourselves for our progress, taking small steps, and changing some of our habits. We might just find that we can reach our goals with a lot less stress.

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