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Moving Forward From a Challenging 2020

The impacts of 2020 still loom over us in this new year. Before you throw your hands in the air and slam your diary shut exclaiming “I’m out!” let’s take a look back at 2020 so that we can move forward.

2020 was certainly a year of downs. Maybe it was the year that business was a real struggle, you lost your job, or you became incredibly homesick from being unable to travel. But I’m sure 2020 had its ups as well. Maybe you were able to spend more time with your family during lockdown, discovered a new way to do business or you finally saw a return on investment on that home gym set you purchased.  

As much as we don’t like it, hard times actually force us to find new solutions and new ways to cope. They bring opportunities for improvements that are not always possible in other conditions. We could use the analogy of a diamond here. The beauty of the diamond comes about from the extreme experience of pressure and heat. The same is true for us. We will emerge stronger from the complex challenges we have faced in 2020. Going through really challenging times collectively allows us to strengthen our bonds with each other in a shared human experience. This strong connectedness can be great for our wellbeing. It is beneficial to look at crises as opportunities to rethink and reorganise our priorities.  

Despite the challenges of 2020, it’s important for us not to stay stuck and to keep looking forward in this new year. Here are some things to consider to help you move forward into 2021 without feeling the drag of 2020.

Where did you start your 2020?

Spend some time reflecting on what your plans, hopes, dreams and goals were at the start of 2020. Don’t be hard on yourself if you didn’t achieve what you wanted. We all know that there are bound to be some things we just weren’t able to get done this year despite our best efforts. When you use your original aim as a starting point, you can refresh your intentions to help you decide where you might go from here.

Take stock of your accomplishments – celebrate & be grateful

Make a list of everything that you achieved or accomplished in 2020. These don’t have to be really big things. Often the smallest achievements can mean the most. Celebrating and being grateful for the little things that we were able to accomplish helps to shift our world view to a more positive one. The more gratefulness we show, the more things we find to be grateful for.

What did you learn? 

Life is full of lessons and 2020 sure had a lot of new lessons for us all to learn.Take time to reflect on the lessons you learnt during 2020. Deliberately reflecting on what we have learnt helps us to make sense of challenging times and reaffirms our own personal growth. 

What will you let go of?

There is probably so much that you would like to let go of when it comes to 2020. Take from 2020 what was working well and let go of those things that are no longer working for you. This helps to give you space for new opportunities that will come your way in 2021. 

How will you prioritise your mental health? 

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, especially during difficult times. The imposed restrictions of lockdown, anxiety and worry of the unknown has left most people feeling a little frayed around the edges this year.

Focus your attention on those things that are within your control, and practice regular self-care. Remember, we all experience worry, stress and anxiety however if it is starting to impact on your day-to-day life and you are in need of further assistance, please seek help from a trained mental health professional. Prioritising your mental health can be one of the best steps you can take moving forward.

Be future focussed

After you have spent the time looking back, shift you gaze forward to the new year ahead.  What goals do you want to set for yourself in 2021? Keep your goals realistic but also inspiring. Reflect on ‘why’ you want that particular goal. Being able to keep coming back to your ‘why’ will keep you motivated through the year, especially when it gets tough. 

2020 does not have to become an overwhelming experience that marks us for life. On the contrary, it can be an excellent opportunity to grow and move forward in the face of adversity. Where are you headed in 2021?

Hayley is a personal growth and lifestyle designer, and founder of Bloomprint Life Design. She has 16 years’ experience in mental health, occupational therapy and psychotherapy and offers a source of knowledge and inspiration on changing the way you engage with life. Visit her website here.



Compiled by the BDmag editorial team