With a new year, we can conjure up a new attitude

Every year we get a chance for a symbolic fresh start and new beginning. The year 2022 is no different, but then again, it is.

We are still living with COVID-19, which changes a lot of things. This is our new-normal new year, and it is far from what we have been used to, even if you don’t want to believe COVID-19 is here for the indefinite future. That being said, my job is to learn to cope and share what I’ve learned with those who are interested. Here are a few things that come to mind.

1. Maintain health protocols. Many are currently mandated in some places and shunned in others. Look, masks just make sense; no one likes them (except maybe Spider-Man), but it’s now a regular part of the wardrobe. Remember, it’s also flu season, and last year we had very few infections and fatalities compared to years before. Let’s do that again.

2. Stay in the game in terms of your work. I’m not looking to hit it out of the park this year, but I do have plans. Last year was more than busy enough; sometimes you just can’t say no. This year I hope to find more creative opportunities. Gone are the days when just having a good location and website were enough. Now reputation and great service are everything.

3. Be prepared to spend more money this year, and maybe later on. Luckily I have always been one to save for a rainy day. It took $99 to fill the gas tank in our compact SUV, and we will be going electric as soon as we can find one to buy. My father taught me this business tactic about life: Once something goes up, it will probably stay there.

4. Work a little smarter. If you don’t have a side hustle, now may be the time to start one. If you already do, then now is the time to expand. If you can make some extra money, then you won’t feel the pinch of inflation as much. Maybe it’s time to ask for a raise or take that other offer if you have one. Many places are hiring, so it’s a good time to look for another gig.

5. Be up for trying something new. With the housing shortage, building a guest house, converting your garage to a granny flat or even renting out your RV can really add to your income and comfort level. You can also try turning your hobby into a business. My wife is now selling recipes from her cooking blog, and even though it’s very small right now, her sales will grow. And speaking of growing and food, planting a garden has so many benefits that it deserves its own column.

Perhaps one of these ideas will make your 2022 a little easier. An easier year is my hope for all of us. We need life to be a little less harsh — and that starts from within, even when you are dealing with a negative outside force. You can prosper and live well if you plan, are a little patient, and are willing to take a slightly different path.

Goldsmith holds a doctorate and is a columnist, author, therapist and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com. He may be contacted at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com.