‘Tis the season for New Year resolutions. As you reflect on the past year and define your resolutions for 2022, don’t forget an essential ingredient to turning resolutions into a reality– OPTIMISM!
Optimism is defined as “a belief in a positive future.” It involves being able to see challenges as opportunities and believing that good things will happen.
Optimists reach their goals and stick with their resolutions because they trust in their abilities. They cope with stress effectively because they know things can change for the better. They are cheerful people who develop quality relationships and reliable support systems. Optimists persevere through challenges and work to achieve their goals, but they are also comfortable asking for help.
The good news is you can learn to be optimistic! You can develop optimistic skills and, with intentional practice, a solid optimistic outlook will soon become automatic.
Skills of an Optimist
The first step to cultivating optimism is understanding the skills of an optimist. As you read the list, consider how you practice these skills and where you may be able to put a little more energy and focus.
- Are able to objectively identify problems or obstacles
- Trust in their ability to solve problems or overcome obstacles (this includes seeking support from others)
- Are aware of what is in their control and what they can change
- Are proactive and approach challenges, rather than turn from them
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Another important step to cultivating optimism is understanding your inner strengths and talents, and using them to move toward the future you imagine. Identify your unique skills and talents. Consider what the people in your life appreciate about you. Think about optimistic actions that match your inner qualities. For example, if you identify as a creative person, you might recognize that creativity can be used to come up with innovative solutions to problems. Each of your unique skills and talents can be channeled into helpful actions that build optimism.
Put Optimism into Practice!
Think of your resolution or goals for 2022.
- As you consider what it is going to take to achieve them, identify what you can control, influence, or leverage and what is out of your control. Commit to focusing only on what you can control and let go of what you cannot.
- As you focus on what you can control, make decisions about how you use your time and energy and which of your inner gifts can drive action. Plan for how to be proactive when challenges arise.
- Be honest with yourself about the support you will need, and ask for it. Most importantly, be intentional in your thinking. When a dark cloud of negativity blows through your mind, shine a positive thought on it.
- Always circle back to the questions: What is in my control? What can I let go of? How can my natural abilities help me? What are my next best steps? This last step is critical because negative thinking can easily squash optimism and zap motivation. But when you believe that you have what it takes to make your resolution and goals a reality, envision the best possible outcome, source the support you need, and take mindful action, good things will happen.