Gloomy January has never felt like the best time to have a fresh start. Even so, we are provided with an opportunity to grow into better humans. Instead of pontificating on the end of the world and how awful 2016 was, let’s focus on the year ahead! And then, when we reflect on 2017 a year from now, we can say “we accomplished so much,” instead of just pointing out our inevitable mistakes.
This type of positive psychology isn’t a new concept, yet it seems that in our age of technology, negativity can shout louder — online, everyone’s a critic. Nevertheless, looking at the coming year through rose-tinted glasses can make a big difference.
According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Centre, “[positive psychology] is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work and play.”
In an era of terror politics and Trumpian rule, this may be a hard concept to hold on to, but with a few reminders, you can have a great 2017. So, to put yourself at ease for this new school semester and for this whole year ahead, here are few things to focus on as January unfolds.
1. Remember, we’re always learning—be easy on yourself
Maybe the election didn’t go as planned, maybe your sister got married before you did, or maybe you didn’t get that promotion. Instead of remarking on how those events suck, it’s better to just reflect on where things went wrong, and to try not do it again. [Insert basketball coach voice here] There are no mistakes in life, only lessons to be learned.
2. Focus on your own life
Most of the detrimental political and cultural events that have people placing 2016 in the same camp as the height of the Second World War have been largely out of our control. Sure, in some small ways we may have contributed to the media reaction, but for the most part, there wasn’t a whole lot we could have done! Learn to let go! Focus on what you can control, and events directly impacting your life will go your way a lot more often.
3. Please get off social media
Just one click down the rabbit hole and before you know it, you’re in a comment war with someone you don’t even know about a meme that doesn’t affect anything. Your heart is racing, you know you’re completely right, and this person is just a troll, or are you? While it can be tempting to voice your opinions and call garbage people out online, it’s honestly not worth the time, and in most cases it won’t do anything but diminish your faith in humanity. Instead, analyze what you’re posting, make sure it’s fact-checked, and that it’s ultimately being posted because it will help others. Then log off and try to cut out online time as much as possible.
4. Anticipate happy life events
It’s important to anticipate and plan for important milestones and events in your life. For every work-related event, make sure you plan something fun in there too. And in 2017, there are a lot of highly anticipated arts events around Victoria to check out. Here are just a few in the coming weeks:
Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker at Alix Goolden Performance Hall
Feb. 9 & 12; doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30; all ages
One Way or Another by Megan Dickie at Open Space
Jan. 13–18, 12–5 p.m. Admission by donation; all ages
Gracie, by Joan MacLeod, at the Belfry Theatre
Jan. 20–Feb. 19, 8–10 p.m. Tickets are $25–35; all ages
So remember, 2017 can be the year we get rid of the word “suck,” where we take control of our own futures. Alternatively, you could just keep complaining about how shitty the year is on Twitter. It’s up to you, really.
Pilot your own life, and all that.