Do you remember what life was like back in March and April of 2020? Some people really struggled in the early days of pandemic lockdowns, while others embraced the relief they felt at finally getting a break from the constant “doing” of life.
Nine months later, our emotion about the situation has evolved. We have adapted to lockdown life and learned how to social distance, yet many of us are feeling pandemic fatigue, loneliness, and exhaustion from over-work.
In many instances, it may feel like we don’t have a choice (“I don’t have a choice about working from home… I don’t have a choice about schooling my children… I don’t have a choice about x, y, z”). I invite you to reconsider that belief. Often we feel like we don’t have a choice. And, we actually do. You choose how you respond to challenges, the mind space you occupy, and your behavior. Are you making the best choices in each moment? Are you making choices that empower you to see opportunities, or are you making choices that cause you to shut down?
Many people are eager to say good-bye to 2020, a year that came with high hopes, and in the spirit of embracing our new present and making the best choices for ourselves in the new year, I invite you to reflect on this series of questions.
Questions for the New Year
As you reflect on these questions, I encourage you to put a special emphasis on what IS working. Yes, there are many things that aren’t working — and we don’t want to ignore those things — but realizing that as humans we’re wired to focus on the negative, I invite you to put a little extra energy today in focusing on the positive.
Take a few minutes, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let’s dive in. Ask yourself (better yet, grab your journal):
- What really matters to me right now? What is my ego attached to that doesn’t really matter? Consider the things that you can release, emotionally or physically, to make space for something or someone more important.
- What small, achievable step am I willing to take to make ______ better in 2021? No radical, unachievable New Year’s Resolutions here! Focus on something small. What did you struggle with in 2020? If you want your health to be better and you’ve been sedentary for the last nine months, put on your walking shoes while you work so you are reminded to go outside today. After you’ve done that for a week, try committing to a ten-minute walk around the block twice a week. CHOOSE a goal that is something that you are certain you can accomplish. Enjoy your success! Slowly build from there.
- What brought me joy in 2020? How will I bring more of this (joy) into my life in 2021? Hint: this is not necessarily a to-do list item… it’s a mindset. What did work for you in 2020? What thought patterns can you tweak? What small habits can you adjust to invite more fun and playtime in? What or who do you have gratitude for that can support you now?
- What feeling do I want to create in my life and work in 2021? Ready to give up the feeling that you’re on the hamster wheel at work? You have an opportunity to create something new, an experience that invigorates and inspires you. Get clear about the feeling that you want: Calm? Organized? Fun? Inspired? See question #2, above, to choose your next small step to bringing this feeling to life.
- Who do you want to thank for supporting you in 2020? How will you thank them? This exercise in gratitude is certain to bring you joy as well as the person on the receiving end. Sharing your appreciation of what they specifically did that helped you this year will surely inspire more of that helpful behavior. How about a handwritten note sent via snail mail? Perhaps sharing a short poem or quote that reminds you of this special person along with a phone call or video message?
- Choose your “Word of the Year” for 2021. See my January 2020 blog post to read more about this fun idea!
Look, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. 2020 will linger will us for a long time. Maybe 2021 won’t allow you to rack up frequent flyer miles as you did back in 2019… still, you have choices. You get to choose your mindset every moment of every day. You get to choose what 2020 means for you. You get to choose how you respond to challenging circumstances. In many ways, you get to choose how 2021 will go for you.
I am choosing to continue to learn, to connect, to find joy in my everyday experiences, and to let go of what I cannot control. I invite you to make conscious, reflective choices about the meaning you assign to 2020 and how you design your 2021 so that you create the life and work that you desire.
If you would like support in reflecting or in designing your new year, I’d love to talk. Click here to set up a breakthrough session where we’ll talk about how this looks for you, specifically.