The turn of the calendar is typically a time when my plans for the upcoming year take shape. The new year marks a time for me to reset, reimagine, refocus, reprioritize, and use that energy to regain my inspiration and motivation. The close of one year and the transition to the next is when I like to take the luxury of time to dwell in possibility. This year just feels different.
Describing 2020 as “unprecedented” feels like a gross understatement – an overused and hollow way to describe our experience over the past nine months. So much has changed about the way we live, connect, work, and play – and the pace of that change has been astonishingly rapid. This year it has been a struggle for me to thoughtfully consider the future while the past year’s emotions are still swirling.
Planning amid so many unknowns has been a challenge. My usual approach – setting intentions, picking a word for the year, establishing goals – proved a struggle and did little to set my course for 2021. Different times call for a different approach, and I realized spending time looking back over the events of 2020 would be critical for me to chart a path forward. Rather than boldly forging ahead as usual, I needed to carefully contemplate why 2020 was keeping me in its grip. As uncomfortable as it is for me to dwell in the past, I knew this exploration would allow me to reveal some important truths about the future.
While purposefully slowing down over the past few weeks to reflect, I experienced a range of conflicting emotions – gratitude for my health and well-being combined with grief for the loss of so many lives. Relief that 2020 is behind us, joined with anxiety about the unanswered questions surrounding a post-pandemic world. Pride in my business accomplishments surfaced just ahead of regret about how I handled some stressful moments with loved ones. Fears about the fragility of life only slightly outshone my confidence in my newfound resilience. Exhaustion from the rethinking required to manage the unexpected subsided with the hope of all that is possible in the year to come.
The following questions served as my guide and I encourage you to utilize them reflect on the events of the past year, process lingering emotions and illuminate a path forward:
- What were the highlights, breakthroughs, and significant accomplishments from last year that you want to acknowledge? What are you most proud of?
- What do you want to continue to do and become in the new year? Or is there something different or more meaningful for you to pursue?
- What were your valleys and disappointments from last year? Which of these do you need to let go of as you approach the new year? What else do you need to release from the past?
- What did you learn about yourself last year that you want to acknowledge? What is it about this learning that you want to most remember and carry forward into the new year?
- In what ways did you achieve your personal definition of success and where did you miss the mark? What does success look and feel like for you in the coming year? What are you most committed to?
While a bit unsettling, looking back provided much needed perspective and insight – and a deeper connection to my purpose.
What I now know and trust more than ever before is that my commitment to being present, calm, supportive and compassionate allows me to serve my clients and my community in a way that is greatly needed in this time of angst and uncertainty.
As the new year is unfolding, consider looking back periodically to gain wisdom and perspective before moving ahead. While the only certainty about 2021 is that more change is on the horizon, my hope for you is that you will experience more inner peace, greater well-being and many moments of pure joy as you thrive in the months ahead.