As we near the end of 2021, we close the chapter to another year of struggle, challenges and disappointments. We also close the chapter on new achievements, cleared goals and celebrated hurdles. Soon, we will have another new year to consider resolutions, analyze past mistakes and raise the bar for personal objectives.

Now consider this: When was the last time you took a moment for you?

Dealing with the events happening across our nation and managing our own crises has not been easy. So, how are you doing? We check on everyone else, but seldom ask the question of ourselves. We push through, accepting the negatives of our situations until it becomes a normal thing. That’s just life, some would say. Things will be better tomorrow, others would agree.

I dispute that mindset.

You should be assessing yourself every day. “Checking in” is part of our mental preparation for the daily grind. If something is off, you need to identify it and address it. More often than not, when people continue to lie to themselves repeatedly about being “OK” they reach a breaking point. You can surmise what tends to happen at that juncture.

It’s not unusual for us to see co-workers self-sabotage their careers or their personal lives. Sometimes, those same individuals will then blame everyone else for their choices. Did they let things get too far? When does personal accountability come into effect?

“Loyalty to you” is one of the most important things we tend to overlook. You can have all the friends and supporters in the world, but if you don’t believe you can do it, then you won’t. If you don’t believe you can meet your goals, then they will be unachieved. The question becomes rather simple after a moment of pondering.

Are you in your own corner?

I had a friend once who was a hard worker and loved his family. He was a pleasure to be around and he was highly dependable. Then, I began to watch as he did some questionable actions. A shortcut here, an eyebrow raising comment there. Asking him if he was alright was moot, because everything was always “fine.” But it wasn’t. I watched my friend eventually make a horrible decision that had costly consequences. In the end, it was all because he wasn’t in his own corner.

Folks, take the time you need to relax, reset and refocus. It is just as important as setting goals and achieving them. You need to slow down every so often and do a self check. Ask yourself those uncomfortable questions that we think we know the answer to. There is no one in this world who knows you better than you do.

Being loyal to yourself is as simple as taking five to 10 minutes of quiet time (when you can get it). Or practicing meditation on your day off. Are you getting enough sleep or are you constantly charging full steam ahead? Have you eaten a healthy meal today or is it always junk food?

The decisions and choices we make today have an incredible impact on our tomorrow. Don’t be so quick to dismiss the warning signs of self-sabotage. It’s OK to not be OK. There are many services and confidential ways you can gain assistance. We can’t do everything alone! For some of us, we have ultimately seen the end point of missed warning signs. Having experienced losing someone to suicide personally, there are so many regrets I’ve thought about in my mind.

The “what ifs” and the “could’ve, should’ve” never abate. We will always ask, “could I have done more?” In my profession of law enforcement, we seem to lose more officers to suicide than to violent encounters on the streets every year. In probably the best example of this idea, we are a group of people who strive to help others and don’t reach out when we need it ourselves. It’s a hard mindset to change because being perceived as “weak” is worse than admitting you need help.

Maybe there is someone out there reading this and you’ve been afraid to confront the truth. Maybe everything isn’t fine like you’ve led yourself to believe. There are people around you right now who love and care about you. Take the time you need to recharge your batteries. Get the must deserved rest you crave when you can and treat yourself to something new.

If you start making time for yourself, you’ll see a notable change in your life. You deserve to be happy in 2022, and it’s something being loyal to yourself will bring.