Jessica Hickman is an award-winning thought leader and founder of anti workplace bullying organisation Bullyology, which she created after experiencing bullying herself in her corporate job.
Jessica has dedicated her time and energy to helping both people and organisations change their perspectives on the way we interact and communicate with ourselves and others, and here she explains the ten things that you can do to start thriving in 2021. Drawing on the negatives and positives of 2020, Jessica shares what she believes we should all be focussing on this year.
1) Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a great practice to start this year, allowing you to reflect on your emotions and actions and learn from them in a calm and meaningful way. Avoiding regret and dwelling and embracing positivity is the goal essentially. If 2020 has taught us anything it is to be kinder to ourselves and others – especially in stressful environments. Bullyology’s guide to Mindful Living can help guide you through the process of learning to be more mindful in your everyday life.
2) Recognising the necessity of connection
Isolation and loneliness were big themes from last year, so what can we learn from them for this year’s benefit? The importance of connection isn’t recognised until it is taken away from us, particularly that physical connection that we as humans need to thrive. Take this year as an opportunity to strengthen the relationships you do have and build new ones. Whilst social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family – it doesn’t provide the physical and emotional connection that genuine meet ups can. When safe to do so, make time to socialise with those you love and cherish that time. Make 2021 the year you re-connect with your friends and family and re-connect with yourself – though it may seem silly – 2020 for many of us will have caused great stress and allowed us to neglect the love, care and time we should show ourselves.
2020 took it out of us all – tired, beat down and close to throwing it in. Whether it’s work, a hobby or any other goal you may have had, 2020 probably caused you to come close to giving up. It is time now to pick it back up with a new mindset and the grit you gained from 2020 and try again. Resilience should be the greatest thing we have all taken from last year and one of the greatest things we can learn in life as it takes us through our best and worst times. New job? It because you worked hard and were determined to get there. Missed that PR at the gym? At least you tried and you will try again. Grit is the fundamental thing we can learn from and take into 2021 to thrive. Whether it be in work, hobbies or relationships, resilience and determination will always pay off in time and the reward will feel that much sweeter.
4) Remain hopeful but prepared – don’t self-sabotage
The goal is to thrive this year – find your best you and achieve your dreams or begin the journey to achieving them. However, the crises of 2020 have not been left behind and will possibly continue to affect us far into 2021. So, this is where we put into place our mindfulness and create a balance between our rest and work that allows us to mediate our emotions. Remaining hopeful and driven is all well and good but of course set backs can be upsetting and uninspiring. However, we can move past these obstacles by making sure we are prepared emotionally; continue to show gratitude and take care your holistic health to ensure that you a mentally prepared to push through these obstacles and continue to pursue your goals. As with everything, balance is key. Hope should not overcome reality to the point that we have unrealistic goals that we are unprepared to cope with, but in the same way, we should not let our fears of failure overcome our determination.
5) Moderate the use of technology
Yes, technology had saved us from loneliness last year but take this year to moderate your use of it and not become too attached to it. Cherish the connections you can have in your immediate surroundings and make new ones. Whilst lockdown made it easy to sit down for hours watching Netflix or scrolling through Tik Tok – and it did indeed pass some time – we all know the negative effects that it can have. By moderating our use this year, we can enjoy its uses by connecting with friends and family at a distance but also enjoy the quality time away from our phones.
6) Show love
What goes around come back around. Over said? Yes. True? Yes. Ever noticed that your super whiney, negative friend always has something to complain about? Ever noticed how that super positive, super kind friend never complains? That’s because you attract what you send out. Positivity and love bring in friends, opportunities and peace, and negativity and anger just bring in more suffering emotionally and situationally. Self- sabotage. You didn’t have a bad day; you had a bad moment that annoyed you and you allowed the rest of the day to be ruined. Saying that, of course bad days do exist, but for the most part, your attitude and love that you put out into the world, no matter the situation, will come back to you. So spread love and receive love.
7) Reach for your goals
With the positivity that you manifest within yourself, you may find it helps in achieving you goals this year. Small or big – make an effort to achieve things you have always wanted to this year. The likelihood is we will still be affected by COIVD-19 this year and so lockdowns and isolation are possible but don’t allow these to prevent you from reaching your goals – make them opportunities. Working from home? Do a yoga session in your break. Read a book. Research current politics and economics. Make the time to do things that will allow you to move forward in your dreams and don’t make excuses that stop you.
8) Take up a new goal
This year I decided to take up a fitness challenge to cycle 200km over 6 weeks. Early mornings and sore legs feel like success – I know I’m doing something good for me, physically, mentally and socially (I have taken up the challenge alongside a friend). Your goal may be to learn something new or put yourself out there more often. It can small, it can be huge, it can be life-changing, it can be simply deciding the make your bed every morning. 2021 may not be your year to change the world but it can be the year you start to change yourself for the better. Set yourself a simple goal to start with and once you have achieved it, set another one and work towards it for yourself and your own gratification. Sometimes it’s healthy to be a little selfish.
9) Understand your limits
Whilst pursuing your dreams and reaching for new goals is a great way to thrive in 2021 and encourages you to grow, like everything it requires balance. Take this year to push yourself but also respect and understand your limits. Recognise the symptoms of your stress and fatigue and rest when you need to – you can find more information on caring for yourself in Bullyology’s Guide to Mindful Living. We cannot complete our goals if we don’t rest and recuperate when we need to – mentally or physically.
10) Be an upstander
Make a change to yourself and your immediate surroundings will be affected by it – ever seen the butterfly effect? Take this year to become an upstander; not only in cases of bullying but for your other beliefs and values too. Be proactive in your efforts towards environmental sustainability, equality and mental health awareness. What do you want help and support to benefit society and how can you do this?