‘New Year, New Leaf’


The goal of living a healthier and more fulfilling life is something many of us strive to achieve; and this article answers the question: what practices, tools and techniques have been proven to work? The five approaches discussed in this article have helped hundreds of people to achieve their physical and mental wellbeing goals.

1.   Incorporate the five ways to wellbeing into everyday life

The five ways to wellbeing include simple elements that, when incorporated into your life, can make you feel more positive, motivated and more in control of your wellbeing. These five steps include:

  • Staying connected
  • Being active
  • Continued learning
  • Taking notice (or being more mindful); and
  • Giving

To incorporate these into your everyday life think small. Telephone a friend, go for a walk, read about something you enjoy, take a break, breathe deeply and help your neighbour.

2.   Use self-management tools to reach your goals

Self-management is about using tools and techniques to empower yourself, take responsibility and make your own decisions. Self-management techniques can help you feel more in control of your wellbeing and make it easier to achieve your health and wellbeing goals; for example by reducing stress, manging anxiety, looking for opportunities and overcoming obstacles. Tools to help you self-manage can include using checklists, reminders, affirmations, alarms and tracking systems. Try using different sources like books, apps and videos to learn, and use reflection techniques to understand yourself, your values and your goals.

3.   Learn about the recovery approach and how it can help

Personal recovery is about building a life that is satisfying and enjoyable, even with limitations. It includes having hope, personal autonomy and developing purpose as well as building resilience. It also involves developing the ability to overcome obstacles and build resilience; as well as being resourceful to embrace opportunities.

Recovery for wellbeing and mental health is unique to each person and there are many tools available. Wellness Recovery Action Plans (WRAPS) can be used to identify resources available to keep you well as well as plan for when problems occur. Reflection techniques can bring clarity for achieving your health goals and carving a life that is meaningful to you.

4.   Build opportunities to increase your confidence

Opportunity, like recovery, isn’t a straight journey. It sometimes requires taking many different directions, learning from experiences, seeking out what is available and then moving on again. Build your confidence and increase your motivation and sense of hope by having clear goals, meeting people and hearing how others have achieved their dreams. Having a clear understanding of your goals, taking risks, meeting people and staying positive can all play a role in building your own opportunities too.

5.   Use creativity to overcome obstacles, and learn why you don’t have to be an artist!

Amabile, 1990 cites that creativity is a “Generation of ideas, insights, or solutions that are both novel and potentially useful”.

Just as continued learning helps to keep you motivated and improves your mental health; creative expression has a powerful impact on health and wellbeing. It can also help you overcome obstacles and find solutions to meet your health and wellbeing goals. You can build your creative confidence, whether you think you are creative or not. There are many books about increasing your creative thinking, you can dive in at home or you can join a class to increase your confidence.


If you would like support or to learn more about the things in this article, contact the College by emailing info@newleafcollege.co.uk