Reflecting on 2020
Oof, what a year 2020 has been!
In my mind, I still have vivid memories of the New Year’s night: the Big Ben chimes, clinking of the glasses and the taste of sweet, bubbly Prosecco, wishes and hopes for an awesome 2020. We watched the fireworks over Thames, imagining that soon we would be strolling along those banks – my biggest dream for the last 15 years.
We managed to have just that one trip to London in January, before the panic settled in and soon enough the entire world was enveloped in the pandemic that is yet to go away. I can’t decide to this day whether the rest of 2020 dragged on, flew by unnoticed or just happened like it does in a dream – when I think back about the year, it is blanketed with thick fog. It feels surreal, almost as if we skipped from last Christmas straight to this one and everything that happened in between was just a weird dream.
It was a horrible year, to say the least. Yet we have managed to get through, managed to learn from it and get stronger. It was a great example of how there are things that are completely out of our control. There is no point in fretting over it because you cannot stop it. Yet, there are things that we have a total control over, decisions that we make that can affect our life directly and other people’s lives, sometimes indirectly. This year, in its own strange way, helped making it all clear.
When I think back, I realise that there have been a lot of reflection and learning over the year. This year taught me a lot about family, about health. I learned to prioritise the most important things, I learned to take more care about myself. I learned to listen to my mind better. I also learned to be more patient and choosing what’s best for everyone around me, not just what I or someone else around me want.
Why 2021 is going to be better
It may be difficult to see the light in the end of the tunnel just yet, but it is there. The pandemic will eventually subside, even though it is unlikely to happen any time soon. And yes, there is probably going to be a few more lockdowns before the vaccines start to work their scientific wonders. But do not let this taint your optimism for the new year.
There is a number of reasons to believe that the new year is going to be better. To give you an example, it is at least because of everything we have gone through in 2020. We have learned so much if we just look back and think about it. We survived this unprecedented year, and there is every reason to believe that we are well prepared for the new one.
But most of all, it’s going to be better because it is a clean slate. Every new year gives us an instant boost of energy and inspiration, and desire to be better and do better. Yes, there is still the pandemic that we can’t control – we can only do so much to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. But it does not mean that we can’t work on ourselves, to improve the quality of our lives. That’s why we need to use the momentum, this magical sense of a new beginning as we transition from 2020 to 2021.
So what do we need to do to set us for a better 2021? There are three main steps, and in this post we are going to look at the first one.
HOW TO SET YOURSELF FOR A BETTER 2021
Step 1: Reflect
Just like I did a little at the beginning of this post, you need to detach from your feelings for a while and look back at everything that happened in your life over the year. It is natural to feel overwhelmed with certain things and have emotions tied to all the happenings. As humans, we have a natural tendency to focus on the negative and become partially blind to the good things that have happened in between. But this is not the goal right now. That’s why I have broken this first step of reflection further into smaller steps to make it easier.
First, accept the situation as it is. It is inevitable. Things have happened this year, and some of them (if not many) were out of your control.
Detach from the feelings. You need a cool head to look back at the events of 2020. There will be a step where you can bring your feelings back and dwell on them until you’re ready to move past. But for now, forget about any emotional connotations. If possible, sit down in a quiet room and meditate. Just let your thoughts flow, but do not grasp on them. Simply observe the ideas that come into your mind. This should help you detach from the feelings.
The most important step is to reflect on the events that happened. You can get a pen and piece of paper if that helps your train of thought, and write down your reflections. Answer the following questions as honestly as you can:
- What went well in 2020?
- What didn’t go so well?
- What were your actions? How did you achieve it?
- What could you have done better if you were to do it again?
Don’t say nothing went well. For that very tendency to focus on the negative, this simply wouldn’t be true in about 99% cases.
Now, if you wish, you can return to feeling your own way about things. But it is crucial that you reflect first, because reflecting is what helps you get clarity on what your new goals and priorities should be.
Do this exercise today, and if you have a moment to spare, let me know in the comments how it went for you.
And of course stay tuned for Step 2!
Read more from ‘A Better 2021’ Series: