Professional Development

What to do if your year starts off terribly

Written by Eric Titner

Most of us have high hopes every time we ring in a new year—we imagine that new opportunities, better luck, and greater fortune are just waiting for us as we end one year and start fresh in a new one.

However, for many of us these high hopes are quickly met by a different reality when our year gets off to a bad start and we start to get the sinking feeling that maybe things haven’t changed all that much. Perhaps it’s a resolution that you set up for yourself that you’ve already dropped the ball on, or maybe it’s a goal that’s already starting to seem more and more unattainable as the days wear on, or maybe you’ve just hit a wall of plain bad luck.

If any of this sounds familiar and you’re feeling as if your year is already off to a bad start, that doesn’t mean you have to give up or accept the grim fate that you’re inevitably going to have a bad year. There are effective strategies for turning things around if your new year has gotten off to a bad start. The Muse published an article about what to do if your year gets off to a bad start, and the following tips can help you make your next move a smart one!

Regroup and start over.

One unfortunate side effect of having a bad start to a new year is that it can set you up with a negative mindset for the rest of the year, which can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. You assume things are going to go bad, so you approach new opportunities and goals with the expectation that they won’t pan out. And guess what? You’re setting yourself up for failure to happen. Not a great way to face a new year!

Instead of letting early failures or unfortunate occurrences derail you completely, take a moment to stop, regroup, and reset your head to a more positive, focused, and optimistic mindset. This way, you’re setting yourself up for a healthy pivot—away from bad luck and misfortune and towards ensuring that you approach each opportunity in a positive and productive manner, which will help set you up for future success.

Learn from mistakes.

More often than not, we’re the architects of our own misfortune. This means that when our year gets off to a bad start, there’s likely a reason behind it—and it’s one that stares us right in the face whenever we look in the mirror. Rather than accept defeat when our year gets off to a bad start, try and turn unfortunate events into learning experiences and figure out what we did wrong.

Take time for some serious self-reflection when you hit a bad patch and determine what happened. Could you have done something differently to improve an outcome? Are there lessons that you can take with you as you encounter new experiences and opportunities throughout the year? If so, then turn these experiences into something valuable that can help set you up for a reversal of fortune as the year unfolds.

Create a new path.

The simple truth is that sometimes the grand plans we set for ourselves don’t work out—whether it’s due to something we did wrong or something completely out of our control, life happens and sometimes our goals simply fall out of reach. Also, sometimes the things we want simply change. A goal you set for yourself at the end of last year may no longer reflect what you want in the new year as time goes on. That’s okay! The key takeaway here is to allow yourself to move away from a goal you set for yourself and embrace a new one, provided it makes sense to do so and it’s not just the result of you giving up.

There you have it—some proven strategies for getting your year back on track if it starts off on the wrong foot. Use these tips to help ensure that you’re setting yourself up for a happy and successful year!

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.