Setting Yourself Up for a Year of Success – Advice from an Organisational Psychologist
Author: Amy Bands
The urge to take advantage of this time of year to come up with new goals, identify your purpose, set resolutions and start fresh with the clean slate of a new year is real. However, the reality is that just because the calendar has ticked over into a new year does not automatically mean we will feel refreshed and rejuvenated. In fact, you may even feel disappointed that this refreshed feeling does not automatically happen.
More than that, we often dive into unhealthy ways of behaving and acting over the December period and overnight wish to change our habits in favour of strict and healthy alternatives come January 1st. We have high hopes that we will be our best selves in the new year – often referred to as “new year, new you”. However, it’s important to remember we are coming out of an end of year slump, a challenging 2022 characterised by readjusting after a pandemic, unemployment, economic woes, load shedding and readjustment to the office after working from home. In December we are making our money stretch further as we spend on gifts, feasts, holidays and sales. We renege on our boundaries as we spend time with family and friends, feel pressure and some may even feel lonely or disconnected.
What has the era of Covid-19 taught us?
One thing we have learned from the pandemic we faced and are still coming out of is that life is more uncertain than we ever thought it could be. For some of us the new year period could coincide with some misfortune, grief, hardship and despondency. We may have a rule of thumb that the new year is a time to refresh, reset and build for a year ahead. And so when the reality of our lives does not mirror that expectation, we can feel bad, disappointed or confused. Having self-compassion in these moments will assist us in managing and coping with the disconnect we may be feeling. Speak to yourself like you would to a friend or loved one to combat these feelings.
Rejuvenating for 2023, like most things in life, is not a quick fix. It is worthwhile to prioritise rejuvenation as a form of well-being that will set you up for success in 2023, and through intentional practices of rejuvenation, it will be possible to cope better with the challenges you inevitably will face.
Success-focused habits to take with you into 2023 and beyond
1. Reflect often
We can engage in this activity where we look inward to learn about ourselves and build our self-awareness. It is important to look back at the year that was and see what worked (and what didn’t) so that we can take these learnings with us into the new year.
2. Examine your strengths
Wisdom from positive psychology encourages us to focus on and build on our strengths as opposed to agonising on and rectifying our weaknesses. Where do your strengths and talents lie and how can you enhance them?
3. Journal more
When we put pen to paper real transformation happens. We can look back on our writing and get a deeper sense of ourselves, our struggles and our hopes for the future. These writings act as a catharsis – where we can let go of what has been on our minds or as a record where we find messages from ourselves, written to ourselves.
4. Clarify your values
Shining the light on our values regularly assists us in streamlining and sharply defining what matters to us and provides a clear compass with which we can make our decisions. Take time to zoom in on 3 to 5 values that will guide your actions, decisions and plans for the year ahead.
5. Consider a theme for the year
Maybe it’s growth, to be a role model, or adventure. Consider how this theme will guide you in multiple aspects of your life – relationships, work, hobbies and health as some examples.
6. Create a vision board
Making your purpose, vision and goals visual to consistently remind you of what you are setting your intention towards will provide you with regular reminders of why you are putting in effort and what you are striving towards. Choose a visual, a song, a passage, a poem, a photograph or a quote to capture the entirety of your vision that you can constantly hang onto – even when your energy wanes.
7. Take breaks
Be intentional with scheduling your breaks, whether these will be during your work day where you regularly get up from your desk or requesting leave. Look at your calendar to ensure you are intentional with your time this year and look at the public holidays that you can take advantage of to schedule your time off – this way you will have more time without using as many leave days.
8. Dive into something today that your future self will thank you for
Plan something that is just for you, that scares you or that meets your deepest desires. When we do something today that our future self will thank us for we are sure to shape our lives in ways that wow us! Write a journal entry imagining you are reflecting in January 2024 – what is that thing you did in 2023 that you are grateful for – add this to your intention for 2023. The year will pass by regardless of whether you have the experience, enrol in the course or make a move or not. If you choose to engage you will be left with more than just another year crossed off on a calendar.
How can you apply this in the workplace?
Now, more than ever employees are prioritizing their mental well-being and considering what they want to do with their lives. Organisations need to prioritise the holistic well-being of their employees if they wish to remain competitive and relevant in the war for talent. Organisations can ensure ongoing rejuvenation and mental health for the employees by:
- Empowering employees with mental health tools – training, practice and investing in these tools are crucial. P.S. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see how Wellbe and our mental health team can support you and your organisation.
- Take action towards improving the work-life balance of their employees – many organisations are experimenting with the 4-day work week and we could take the lead from European countries who are legislated against contacting employees outside of strict working hours.
- Carefully consider hybrid working policies – consulting employees is crucial as employees no longer see the relevance of working in the office meaning that organisations need to lead the charge in redefining what it means to work in-office.
- Employers would do well to recognize that it is no longer hours worked and input into work that needs to be monitored, rewarded, and micro-managed but rather the impact and output of work that needs to be recognised and encouraged.
Partner with Wellbe today to empower you and to shape a healthy organisation.