Starting the year positively

Par Nafissah Fakun O commentaire
Starting the year positively

Leaving 2017 behind, we have already embraced 2018. If you are still lamenting that you did not achieve all your goals or still depressing over the exams you fail in 2017, then you are on the right track. Make 2018 your year, take a leap of faith and jump in with much strength to achieve your goals. Our experts have some guidelines for you.

Dr Anjali Bungaleea, psychologist, explains that to be positive, it is all a matter of willpower and motivation. She reveals that the first question to ask yourself is: What would you personally like to change if there were no pressure from anyone else?

Dr Anjali Bungaleea

“Draft a short term and a long term planning for your familial, social and professional aspirations. Start by being honest about how you feel, with yourself and with others. Connect to your network, acquaintances, family or friends. Identify and give your support to someone else by volunteering with an organization or a cause. Get 7-8 hours of sleep but avoid staying inside and get enough sunlight and fresh air daily. Do things that make you laugh, Join a yoga class and practice meditation to know yourself inside out.  Recognize your strengths and ask yourself, ‘How have you grown from your experiences?’ Finally, do not be afraid to ask for help, seek professional guidance.”

Moreover, scholar in Personal Development and Freelance Coach, Ismael Essackjee indicates that the turn of the year is in itself full of positivity with celebrations or exchange of gifts and best wishes.

“People talk about and share their New Year’s resolutions on numerous social media platforms and are quite pumped into realizing them. However, only a few weeks later, the hard reality of life kicks in. Having resolutions is a great way to approach the New Year, but statistics show that in 2017, approximately 80% of resolutions fail within the first 50 days of the year. According to research by the University of Scranton, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. It is easy to start the year with positivity, but the hard part is to sustain this positivity. Fortunately, there are some proven methods that can be used to help us join this 8% group.”

Overcoming grief and sadness

For those people who are engulfed in sadness, Dr Anjali Bungaleea lists the following the guidelines to work through grief over the loss of a loved one:

  • Allow and express the emotions.
  • Allow and seek support from your network, family members, friends or therapists.
  • Allow the grieving process. It's important to know that every person has their own way of coping with loss. You cannot put a time limit on your grief. You must allow yourself to experience the stages of grief as they come along. There are five stages of grief. Each stage is unique and they are: Denial phase, anger phase, bargaining/negotiating phase, depression phase and finally, the acceptance phase.
  • Allow yourself to embrace life again by accepting death as a reality to be able to move forward.

A kick to depression

If you have been in a depressive mood last year, it is high time that you kick off that attitude. Depression is one of the major causes for various diseases. The psychologist recommends that you need to start by asking yourself if you're really ready to make a change and start the year afresh with firm, specific and realistic resolutions. Making use of a small example, she says, “Instead of saying, ‘I'm joining a gym to get into shape,’ it’s better to say, ‘I'm joining a gym three times a week.’”

She underlines that it is important to redefine one’s experience to failure and depression. “Depressed people tend to hold a negative view about many experiences in life. For example, ‘Things will never improve in my life.’ Instead, shifting mind-sets to more positive and open-ended self-talk like ‘It's just a temporary derailment’ will keep you moving forward both at a personal and a professional level.”

Positive attitude for students

Karuna Rajiah

Every year, it is a new challenge for students. While some students are on their first day at college, it may the final year for others. Some students will be going for national exams while others may be repeating a class. Whatever your status at school, it is imperative to be positive. Psychologist Karuna Rajiah elaborates on the ways you can adopt a positive attitude throughout the year.

First and foremost, she explains that some children will be making vertical, horizontal or internal transitions in the New Year and this implies new challenges to deal with.

“When you show confidence in dealing with new challenges, it helps you become a better adult. Life is full of challenges. As you grow up, you will become aware of life's many challenges that are present in the workplace, home, among friends and colleagues, in society in general. Be glad that you have the opportunity to meet new challenges as practice makes perfect.”

She feels that the mistakes that school children do nowadays is living life in the fast lane and ignoring what is developmentally appropriate for them. “They fail to understand that school time ends like all good things come to an end. And once that time elapses, it never comes back. Students should pay heed to the fact that the age at which they are in school and the moments that could be cherished do not come back, as time and tide wait for none.”

She highlights the following points for students joining a new class or a new school:

  • A new school with new environment and new people - learn to adjust. This process will help you get ready for your future experiences in life.
  • Enjoy your school now. Once that time is gone, you won't live that time again.
  • Learn as much as you can when you can. Experience will teach you how to live but knowledge will support you in life
  • School experience is what you make of it. So make the most of school.  Seek advice from your parents when you have doubts.  Never hesitate or shy away from seeking advice or asking questions.  Even your parents were once your age and were clueless, too. They will be glad to explain what they did not know. At the same time, you will have the right guidance through your school life if you get close to your parents.
  • Education starts in the womb and ends in the tomb. Get used to it. No matter what happens in life, you will keep on learning. There will be always new ventures, new beginnings and life is full of surprises.

 Ismael Essackjee: “Failing to plan is tantamount to planning to fail”

Ismael Essackjee

To kick off the year, the main issue that Ismael Essackjee focuses on is planning. He wonders about the exact number of  people who have been planning ahead the 52 weeks of 2018. “Failing to plan is tantamount to planning to fail. If we do not plan, we will be at the mercy of what fate has planned for us. We will achieve what we have always been achieving; same as this year, same as the previous years. If we want to achieve more success, we need to plan for it and work towards it. Hope is not a viable strategy. For things to change, we need to change. Change starts with us.”

He believes that it is time to revisit ourselves inside out through a complete personal SWOT analysis:

  • Strengths – characteristics that we have and which can work in our favour towards achieving our goals
  • Weaknesses – those characteristics which can be detrimental to achieving of our goals
  • Opportunities – scan the environment for new things, developments, prospects or improvements which can work in our favour
  • Threats – scan the environment to identify risks to our goals

He advises everyone to dedicate about 80% of their time working on their strength zone, geared towards exploring opportunities and bracing for threats; while allocating the remaining 20% of the time to working on some weaknesses.

Big goals are to be sliced into smaller, easily achievable goals to maintain a progressive approach and for ease of tracking. An amazing tool that can be used for tracking is journaling. This technique helps us to re-assess whether we are on track and whether we need to re-adjust.

“Based on this personal analysis, we can set our own goals with their associated timelines. Big goals are to be sliced into smaller, easily achievable goals to maintain a progressive approach and for ease of tracking. An amazing tool that can be used for tracking is journaling. This technique helps us to re-assess whether we are on track and whether we need to re-adjust. It is important to celebrate the achievement of any goals, even as minor as it can be. Celebrations help in developing a success mindset and keep the motivation engine on with the release of dopamine as a feel-good factor.”


Besides setting goals and achieving them, another way to keep the positivity spirit high is by having the right attitude, states the coach.

“It is very important to maintain positive thoughts. According to the Law of Attraction, we attract what we are, not what we want. Problems are bound to occur. The most important aspect is how we see them and tackle them. Problems must not be seen as difficulties but as challenges. We need to get out of the comfort zone to handle these challenges. A challenge is a solution in itself. The mind is here to find creative solutions and not to hold negative devastating thoughts or doubts.”

He further adds that another ingredient to keeping the right attitude is to develop a passion of being grateful and appreciative instead of constantly complaining or blaming. “Practice gratitude and kindness to others and it will boomerang back to us. Everybody loves it when a person is kind to him. Be generous in expressing your appreciation for others. A positive attitude is indeed contagious.”