Thursday, January 6, 2022

Fifteen ways to have a more positive 2022

 Fifteen ways to have a more positive 2022

Darrel L. Hammon with help from lots of friends in the world

Our 2021 was filled with both challenges and positives. None of us can deny the craziness of 2021 and the many challenges that so many have suffered. Yes, it has been a tough year for all of us in some minute or grand way. Consequently, I asked myself: How can I help make 2022 more positive than 2021? Answer: I asked my Facebook and Instagram friends to send me their thoughts and suggestions about how they are going to make 2022 a more positive year.

I collected their comments, thoughts, and suggestions and organized them thematically into fifteen categories to read, contemplate, reflect, incorporate into your own lives, and share with others. They are not in any hierarchical list. It is a list that can be shuffled in any way you desire.

Show more respect, love, and compassion
Last year was one of the most challenging years I have seen. Many, many people experienced challenging things. One of the major challenges was that people rose up and were vicious and disrespectful to each other, their families, and people they didn’t even know. When that type of hatred roams the streets and social media, no wonder people are feeling a bit skittish. Ken Aird (Utah) wrote just three words: “Respect, Love, Compassion” to describe what he is going to do. Amy Dyer (Utah) wrote, “Something that I want to do this year is be more prayerful and thoughtful about how I’m treating those around me!”

Sonja Diaz (Chile) wishes to show “love and understanding for every person and have compassion for even the most defenseless so they do not suffer.” She also wants peace and love.

For any of us, showing respect, compassion, peace, and love for those in our own lives will help us become more positive and kinder. I think if we were more thoughtful and compassionate about those around us, we would feel better about who we are.

Use writing to help
Lots of people suggested that they were going to use writing as a way to become more positive and see things in a positive light. Writing can be so therapeutic. Cynthia Egbert (Colorado) said, “I have a plan to spend at least the first two weeks of January journaling about what I have learned over the past two years. This may end up taking all the month of January but I feel the need to clearly see the gains I and my family have made in the most trying of circumstances. I believe this will strengthen us to face what is still coming.”

Another journal writer, Marian C Hobson (South Carolina), wants to “regularly use my spiritual thoughts journal to remind me of the way God is working in my life and teaching me.”

Stephen Lowry (Idaho) told me via a telephone call that he is going to “post something positive in my journal every day like acts by someone else that made my day brighter. I want to watch for good things that people do, not necessarily the bad things that I normally do.”

Lohany Smith (Texas) wrote that “I want to enjoy more the present moment instead of thinking about what’s next. And journaling more about the things I learn throughout the year.”

Being able to focus on the good things and not the bad will definitely help us climb out of any negative abyss.

Elevate your life by small moments and steps
The state of Utah has a tagline “Life Elevated.” What a great tagline. In our mission, we converted that tagline into “Mission Elevated.” Perhaps, each of us can determine how we can elevate our lives through a variety of means.

For example, Anne Marie Winters Harmon (Utah) offered up what she is going to do to elevate her life: “I have a goal to make time for the Lord every day. I have taken this challenge from President Russell M. Nelson and want to continue this. Ways that I plan to do this is to set aside time to meditate and know God is there. I also plan to elevate my scripture study for the preparation of weekly temple attendance. I look back and remember to elevate my life even by small moments and steps. I also have other goals of keeping my mind strong as well as my physical body. I strive every day to take time to exercise and push myself to a physical limit. Sometimes those limits we think we have, only exist in our minds. Overall I want to feel God's love and spirit continually.”

Elevating our lives, even by small or incremental steps, will allow us to see the bigger picture.

Center yourself on Christ
For many people who commented on how they are going to make 2022 a more positive year, they want to turn to or center on Christ. Tyson Crowther now going to college in Idaho stated, “I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to center myself on Christ and make him a bigger part of my family’s life.”

When you center yourself on a higher power, we learn as Kristen Vance Larsen (Utah) has recognized over the years that “learning requires experiences and challenges. This has scared me in the past and undoubtedly will continue to be overwhelming at times. Hopefully, the Lord will be compassionate, and I will be teachable; otherwise, the challenges will need to be greater or repeated in order for me to truly learn. I trust that these things will all be for my good.”

Marlene Shirley (Utah) understands where true joy comes from: “When there are hard days I am going to try harder to remember that true joy comes from living the Gospel and being a disciple of Jesus Christ. No one can take away my relationship with the Savior.”

Christian Nkwocha, a young man from Nigeria who lost both his father and mother within a few months of each other in 2021 from illness and COVID offered this counsel: “I encourage my beloved brothers and sisters as we are about to enter 2022 we need to increase our faith and regular studying in our scriptures use the same opportunity to invite friends and families to come unto Christ.” Even though he and his two sisters have gone through much tribulation, he said, “ Let not our hearts be troubled. Let's increase our faith and invite the Lord to be the finisher of our faith.”

Whatever your religious beliefs are, centering on Christ or a higher power may strengthen your faith and hope in positive things.

Think of tender mercies and blessings and look for the good in our lives
Often the big things in our lives do not appear readily, if at all, but the little things do. Tana Thorley Whicker (Montana) wrote: “I mentally review my day and look for “tender mercies” (the little blessings in life). Without fail, they’re there, but I often miss them if I don’t consciously look for them in my day.” Perhaps, Diane Hall (Utah) has a purpose in 2022 that we should all adopt: “I’m going to purposely look for the good.”

Sandy Mellows Pallesen Davis (Nevada) just went through a challenging yet positive 2021, including the death of her father. Sandy wholeheartedly believes that 2022 will be positive “if we focus on family and what we do have. In 2022, we will strive to enjoy every day and be thankful for God’s blessings. We will be exploring the USA in our RV and just enjoying life.”

Looking for the tender mercies or the good in our lives will help us chase away the negativity in our lives.

Be more positive in thoughts and actions
Coupled with compassion is being more positive in thoughts and actions. Myrna Newman Williams (Idaho) wrote about what she is going to do to be more positive: “I am challenging myself, every day to make it through that day without saying one negative thing about me or anyone else or life.

Josh Baker (West Virginia) is including his family in his suggestion: “Our family will be doing a gratitude and positivity journal. Friends that visit will also contribute to the book.” How exciting is this?

Personally, I think talking about and demonstrating positivity helps dissipate some of the negativity. One of the things I would like to do this year is to create a podcast that highlights positive people, positive adventures, positive philosophy, etc. Of course, I know I will need help and hope to reach out to those who can help me.

Remember who you are and what you represent
I truly believe that if people would remember who they are and try to represent themselves in positive and healthy ways, their lives would change for the better. Erika Y Martinez’s (Texas) suggestion is a phenomenal one: “I genuinely forget, at times, who I truly am. I get disappointed, frustrated, and mad at myself! So, my goal for this next year is to remind myself every time a thought comes into mind that I am a daughter of God! If the thought is negative in any way, it's going to be replaced with an elevating phrase!”

Follow through on your goals
Many of us set goals on January 1 of every year and then cheerfully begin. Within a week or two or even a month or two, our motivation to complete our goals diminishes, and our annual goals fall to the wayside. Corrin Adams from Utah offered a potential solution: “I think for me I'm using the new year to really focus on my current goals and start new goals.” Part of focusing on and starting the goals is a re-evaluation period every month or week or however long your goals are. We must be diligent in this assessment and just not quit doing them.

Even as far away as the Dominican Republic, Federico Rosario wants to become an entrepreneur and “sell household items.” Plus, Federico’s other goal is to “follow Christ and continue to go forward with the help of God who will give me wisdom.”

Continue what you begin!

Do fun family projects and family history
Many of us have family members who live fairly close to us. Others are not so lucky. Fortunately, because of the pandemic, we have all learned how to use a variety of video conferencing programs. Colleen Hammon Poole (Utah) whose children and grandchildren live all over offered a great solution to connect families in a positive way: “For Christmas, we received a question-a-week family history project. At the end of the year, we get a hardcover book of what we submitted. Fun idea—we are giving it a green light in 2022.” Marianne Christensen (Idaho) said she was going to finish her life history and her family albums, “both fun family projects.”

The old adage “families that play and learn together” stay together.

Change our attitude

Jackie ZoBell Chan (Canada) a unique way to help us to think about attitude: “People could have had the exact same experiences and someone had a great year and the other person had a miserable year. The difference is in the attitude. I had a great year by the way.” Jackie also mentioned laughing definitely changes her attitude more than most things: “I’m going to make 2022 even better by laughing more. When something doesn’t go my way, when the kids are being annoying, I’m going to laugh more. It will make 2022 lots of fun!”

Marlene Shirley (Utah) said, “I am going to try harder to not let the circumstances of life prevent me from feeling joy.”

Changing our attitudes will cause us to see the real joy in our lives.

Be more grateful and thankful for everything, even the small things
Probably one of the most prolific suggestions was to be grateful for what you have. People tend to only moan and groan about what they do not have or wish they had. Carl Harris (California) offered a suggestion to all of us: “Have a greater attitude of gratitude for blessings both seen and unseen towards our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ!”

Robin Jergins, an Idahoan now living in Utah, was similarly succinct: “Focus on gratitude and serving others.”

Diana L. Kramer (California) was adamant about showing gratitude in 2022: “I want to show gratitude in physical and spoken ways. Giving a sincere compliment, noting someone’s efforts in challenges they may face, sending birthday cards, (yep, good old paper and stamps), greeting people I meet while out & about, sending notes to someone I’m thinking about, telling my family I LOVE YOU, whenever we talk. That should keep me busy.”

Carl, Robin, and Diane are absolutely correct. The more we focus on gratitude, we will place a priority on being thankful for what we have.

Serve others and practice charity
Serving others and practicing charity will definitely keep us off the “Woe is me” scale. David Hansen (California) had two keen insights into how to serve and help others: 1) Never let others I come in contact with go unnoticed. 2. Never suppress a charitable thought.” For him, it is about letting others know how important they are. Marianne Christensen (Idaho) also believes that “service weekly or even daily if I can” will enhance her 2022.

When we do things for others, we begin to forget about ourselves. We begin to see outward, not inward.

Be healthy
We all know that being healthy leads to a more positive life and lifestyle. Merrill McCracken (Idaho) was very pragmatic about his suggestion for a more positive 2022: “Take more precautions against COVID-like vaccines. That will help prevent the spread and save lives. Also will make life easier for everyone.” Josh Baker (West Virginia) commented that “personally, it is time for me to cut out some junk food from my diet.”

Most of us can probably think of just doing or not doing one thing that will enhance our overall health happiness.

Let learning become a more active part of my life
Learning new things often creates a newness that realigns our life more positively and fully. Kristen Vance Larsen (Utah) said one of her main goals was to ask, “What can I learn?” and “What more can I learn?” She went on to say that “Learning excites me and brings me joy, as well as delivers understanding and purpose to what I do. Even when everything falls apart or I fail miserably—if I ask, ‘what can I learn’? then everything will work for my good.”

Nathan Chase (Florida) loves the idea of learning new things. His counsel for us and himself is fairly robust: “I think I’m going to try new hobbies and activities I haven’t tried before. There’s so much to explore.”

One of the things that Eulalie Christensen (Idaho) wants to study deeply and practice “how to use conflict to create rather than contend. I have become aware of how we need to not fear or avoid conflict but embrace it and use it as our Father in Heaven does to build, but it’s something I have not practiced or seen done much so I am very interested in learning how to achieve this.”

Exploring and learning will always occupy our time and our minds with so many new and invigorating things that we will not have time to be negative.

Wallow and moan for a bit, then move forward in the best way

Dede Meredith Dyer (Utah) received some incredible advice from a wise woman years ago that she wants to share with us: “When you’re having a hard time, set a time limit, think about it, wallow in self-pity, beat yourself up about a bad decision, etc., whatever you need to do (cry, scream), then after your five, ten, fifteen minutes (or whatever time limit but not too long), your focus should be on how to move forward in the best way and what you are grateful for that is currently helping and supporting you and those you love.”

Conversely, Tamy Rogers (Alaska) does not believe in wallowing and moaning for a bit. Rather, she says, “Don’t go back and think, what should I have done? Why didn't I do that? or Why did I do that and what if I did or didn't do? or Why didn’t I listen to the Spirit when He was telling me what to do? And as the day ends count your blessings instead of your sheep.”

Thus, wallowing and moaning for a brief time may be okay to do. Just do not linger longer than you should. Move forward quickly, always looking forward to completing your goals and tasks.


As you read these suggestions carefully, you will discover that many people are making changes in their lives and the lives of their families. They want to feel different than they did last year. They want to be different and make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

As you contemplate your 2022, I sincerely hope you will be wise in making your goals and keeping them. Perhaps, your assessment is to tell someone about your goals, hire or engage a mentor or a coach to keep you on task. Whatever you decide to do, keep doing it, no matter how challenging it might be, and you will feel more positive and motivated than you ever have. Promise!

Thanks to everyone who participated by sharing with me your goals. I know there are many others who are sharing their thoughts and goals with others. I would love to hear how you are doing with your goals.

Happy 2022!