Happy New Year and Welcome to 2022!
By now, you’ve hopefully had some time to rest, reflect on 2021, and set your intentions for the month or year ahead. As many of you return to work, begin school, or step into a new chapter of life, you might be feeling a mixture of emotions – excited, energized, hopeful, or maybe uncertain, anxious, and hopeless. If you’re having a hard time feeling hopeful at the start of a new year, this newsletter is for you.
What Exactly Is Hope?
We all exist somewhere on the spectrum of a pessimist to an optimist. Still, our brains are wired with a negativity bias, making it challenging to be optimistic, even in the best of circumstances. Yet HOPE is the belief that your future can be brighter than your past and that you have a role to play in making it better. And the good news – hope can be learned. We can all overcome the people and experiences that might have robbed us of hope.
Hope is measurable and attainable. It is not wishful thinking or just a pleasant feeling. Instead, it is empowering. It gives us confidence that if we try, we can succeed. Once we understand hope, we can believe in it and work for it.
How Does Hope Benefit Me?
Hope is the single best predictor of well-being.
Hope gives you confidence. It is an essential resource when facing the inevitable pain life brings from time to time. When we face difficulty with a sense that there’s something we can do about it, life becomes more manageable. Challenges become easier to approach and overcome.
Hope aids with mental illness. For those with depression or anxiety, cultivating hope can be vital to managing symptoms. A persistent feeling of hopelessness is a defining symptom of depression. In the case of anxiety, fear is the driving factor. However, both imply that things are out of our control and aren’t going to work out. Finding a way to become more hopeful, even—or especially—when life is difficult, can buffer the effects of adversity. Hope fuels healthy thoughts and behaviors.
Hope builds resilience; resilience builds optimism; optimism fuels more hope. Resilience is the ability to either recover quickly from challenges or be relatively unaffected by these events. Resilience is also the ability to gain knowledge from adversity so you can cope in healthier ways in the future. If you succeed in managing difficult situations, you become more optimistic about how you’ll do in the future.
How To Cultivate Hope
- Set an intention or goal and imagine it happening. Get curious and creative about your plans for 2022. Then get specific; are your goals about health and wellness, your romantic life, or work and school? Then imagine what you hope for and jot these things down too. You must see it before you can be it. You need to dream it before you can do it. See goals worksheet attached below!
- Track your negativity bias. What you think determines how you feel, which creates what you perceive. Are your thoughts fearful and shaming, or encouraging and comforting? Catch negative thoughts and change the narrative you tell yourself daily.
- Determine your pathways. Pathways are the actions you have in your mind that will allow you to begin the journey toward your future goals. Setting and sticking to small pathways builds self-confidence, which is crucial for hopefulness.
- Cultivate agency. Agency is the ability to direct the willpower needed to begin and sustain the journey toward your goals.
- Focus on your strengths. It’s so easy to name everything that is wrong with you; how many things can you name that are right with you? Take this quick and free assessment to learn about your unique strengths, then use those strengths to create your micro-goals!
Need Help Setting & Keeping Goals?
Download the attached Personal and Professional Goals Worksheet. This short exercise will help you think through the goals you set so that you can succeed in reaching them.
May this year bring you new opportunities in work, life, and love. May you have the courage to cultivate HOPE and open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people. I hope you travel, explore, learn, create, express, and find ways to share yourself with the world—you’re still here for a reason, and there’s so much more in store for you and your life than you think. I hope you allow those words to sink in.
THE BEST IS YET TO COME! Happy New Year!