The end of 2020 is finally in sight.
A new year traditionally means new beginnings and opportunities, and unsurprisingly, most of us are eager to say goodbye to what has been a challenging 12 months.
However, we should proceed with caution.
We have spent the best part of a year being told how to live and work amidst the chaos of coronavirus. Many have experienced loss on many levels, and we continue to sacrifice so much as the impact of the pandemic is felt around the globe.
I was planning to write some tips to share with you on goal setting for this blog. But after speaking with several of my clients these last few weeks, it seems many of us are overwhelmed by the thought of a tough start to 2021. The idea – and pressure – of resolutions is just too much right now.
We need to understand and accept that for many people, January - usually a time of renewed optimism - may not hold the same motivation and inspiration that a new year normally brings. Everything is still so uncertain and shaky.
So, please be mindful of putting too much pressure on yourselves over the next month.
My advice is to let go of the idea of intensive goal setting and list making. Resolutions can make us feel like something is not right, and so it must be fixed. This is unhelpful and unrealistic.
Let us re-frame our aspirations to stay strong to tackle the challenges ahead. Here are my three alternative ‘resolutions’ for the first few weeks of 2021:
REPLENISH MY RESILIENCE
For our physical and mental health, so it is important we prioritise selfcare and have meaningful rest this winter. I am going to let the slower pace of a scaled back Christmas flow into January as I choose to keep things closer to home. Rather than the hectic, social whirl of celebrations, I am grabbing the opportunity to allow myself regular time to recharge, while spending quality time with my loved ones. Spending time doing the things I love always helps to build my resilience.
WRITE A ‘BREAK UP’ LETTER TO 2020
I am gifting myself the time to process what has happened. To help do this, I am going to write a letter to 2020 naming all the rubbish experiences and emotions this year has given me. This will help ensure I do not gloss over what has happened and help to make sure I don’t hold onto it. Instead, the letter will enable me to have what positive psychologists call ‘realistic positivity’.
I expect my letter to include recognition of how scared I was, anger, grief, and deep compassion for everyone who is struggling. I do not expect it to be completely cathartic or the solution to forgetting or getting over 2020. It is more of a way for the hard times to be spoken, heard, and acknowledged, to enable me to move on to a stronger 2021.
TAKE A RESTORATIVE WALK
A psychotherapist I know recommended taking a walk to mentally name the feelings and events that have negatively shaped 2020 for me and my family. As I walk, I will think about what happened every month and metaphorically ‘leave it behind’. And as I reach the end of the year, I can turn and ‘look back’ before walking forward, toward the future.
I think this will help to lessen the load I take into 2021 with me. It is how I will mark the new year and it will enable me to shift my focus on to what is to come, rather than what has been.
These actions may appeal to you, they may not, and there is no right or wrong way to navigate the new year. Remember: we may be in the same storm, but we are all in different boats. We each have different emotions, experiences, and situations - just do what feels right for you.
Of course, some of us may still be keen to set resolutions and that is great, so long as you have the energy and mindset to want to do so, rather than feeling the pressure of a fresh start. To help, I will write an article in the future that is focussed on goal setting and creating habits for success – rather than relying on willpower alone. But that is for another day.
For now, I wish you and your family a healthy, restful festive holidays and a very peaceful and positive New Year.
With love x
© Kate Gare, everylife 2020