Now that the year is ending, the first thing we might want to do is to pretend 2020 never happened, and force ourselves to be optimistic and look ahead. We might be tempted to simply gloss over this year, cover it in glitter and wash down the bitter remnants of 2020 with some bubbly champagne.
We might boldly declare to ourselves and the rest of the world, that 2021 will DEFINITELY be better… because we really want it to be. However, forced optimism isn't going to get you very far.
In order to properly get ourselves mentally prepared for the new year (who knows what really lies ahead?), we need to take active steps towards properly moving on.
If you're feeling pressured to come up with new year resolutions since the year is coming to a close, perhaps now's the time to hold off on them and do the following first:
1. Let Yourself Grieve
Before you focus on moving on, it's important to take a step back and think about how you've been faring throughout the year. Be honest with yourself and your feelings. Everything that has happened has already happened, so there isn't a point in hiding or suppressing your feelings about the events that occurred.
What was 2020 really like for you?
What were some of your regrets?
How have you been affected by the challenges of the year?
What were some of your highest and lowest moments?
Many of us have been (or might still be) facing a lot of fear and uncertainty. To acknowledge and experience your pain isn't a weakness, it's a strength. The first step we need to take towards moving on is accepting what 2020 was for us, and our genuine feelings about it.
2. Learn to Let Go
Following that, we then have to let ourselves experience whatever it is that we've been feeling and let it go. Emotions, especially deep-rooted ones, don't simply disappear. They can only get repressed or bottled up. The long-term pain you suffer as a result just isn't worth it.
Vent your feelings in a safe and healthy way. You can do so by journaling it out, letting yourself cry, or finding creative outlets in the form of art or poetry etc.
Retreat to a safe space that you feel secure and comfortable in.
Letting yourself have a good cry might seem embarrassing, but it can really help you with releasing pent-up emotions.
The relief and feeling of lightness that comes with letting go is worth the short-term embarrassment.
3. Don't Try to Figure 2021 Out
In light of the difficulties you faced, it's instinctive to turn to 2021 with optimism, in hopes of solutions to your predicaments, rather than possibilities.
You might carry certain expectations that 2021 is the year you'll get answers. In doing so, you're actually closing yourself up to what the new year might have to offer.
Rather than measuring and calculating what went *right* and what went *wrong* in situations, try to keep your mind open about the options you might have. Oftentimes, there are multiple possible solutions to problems.
4. Think About How You Can Better Care For Yourself
Self-care isn't always easy. Social media may make it seem cute, fun and glamorous, but the truth is that *real* self-care takes effort. It also takes commitment and discipline. It's easy to falter, especially when we're going through tough times – however, the most important thing is to never give up and keep going back to it!
What were some aspects of yourself that you might have neglected in 2020?
5. Prioritize Fun
The quest for self-development never ceases! While it's important to focus on how you can improve yourself, don't forget to have fun as well. When thinking about what you wish to do in 2021, be sure to think about how you can find more ways to enjoy yourself!
Is there a dance class you'd like to try? Are there other creative hobbies you might be interested in picking up? Give yourself things to look forward to in the coming year!
6. Assess How You Can Improve
As unpleasant as this might sound, sit down and give yourself a frank assessment. What have you accomplished this year?
What were some things you set out to do in the beginning of 2020? Were you able to accomplish them?
What were some things you tried that just didn't work out for you?
It's okay if you fell short of your expectations, and if you didn't accomplish everything you wanted to do! The important thing is to be honest and admit these thoughts to yourself.
Repressing your thoughts, or being in denial can often cause you to begin the year with anxiety and dread. Some of us might even feel a sense of despair at scribbling down the obligatory new year resolutions you just *know* you probably won't be keeping.
Accepting your failures and shortcomings is the first step you need to take before being able to work towards actual improvement. Now that you've accepted what worked for you and what didn't, you can think about the steps you can take towards succeeding.
Let's just say you began 2020 wanting to meal prep every day. You were able to keep at it for about two months, before losing motivation. Think about why you stopped — was it too time-consuming? Did you get sick of eating the same recipes over and over? Maybe consider meal prepping every other week instead, or making an active attempt in finding diverse recipes.
7. Que Sera, Sera
Sometimes, you might find yourself getting held back from pursuing things you're actually passionate about because you're terrified of what people might say. Don't limit yourself or make yourself seem small!
Remember the phrase from the famous song, "Que sera, sera" — whatever will be, will be.
People are always going to have opinions of everything you do, so don't let anyone else's point of view slow you down!
Instead of actively seeking to avoid judgment, try and re-adjust your mindset. Let yourself be willing to be confronted by it. Move on to 2021 being unapologetically yourself, and in pursuit of things you actually care about.
8. Start Finding Your Purpose
It's hard to feel and stay motivated for something if you don't know *why* you are doing it. Before you start writing down those resolutions, think about your reasons for wanting them.
Why do you want to be healthy? Why do you want to be fit?
Don't make these resolutions because you feel pressured in some way to do them. Instead, think about how and why you can be fulfilled from committing to these resolutions.
9. Re-Motivate Yourself!
2020 has left many feeling stuck in a rut. Getting yourself motivated once again can be challenging.
For those of us who are struggling, here are some quick tips for re-motivating yourself!
a) Make a proper plan
Intentionally create things to look forward to. Anticipation for something can motivate you to keep going, and having a solid plan will give you the structure you need to ease you into getting started!
b) Practice delayed gratification
Delayed gratification is when you make yourself hold out for larger rewards in the future. Rather than instinctively reach for instant gratification, practicing delayed gratification gives you more willpower and self-control.
The next time you find yourself losing motivation, find ways to remind yourself of your long-term goals!
c) Don't overlook the small things
While it's important for us to curb our desire for immediate gratification, do allow yourself some small daily or weekly rewards. They can play a significant role in keeping you excited for your larger, long-term goals!
d) Help Others
Helping others can give you a sense of purpose. It has also been proven to improve your mental wellbeing. Signing up for a volunteering program, or find ways to contribute to your community!
10. Finally, Be Optimistic
This year has been filled with unprecedented changes, so don't be too hard on yourself. It's understandable if you're dreading the new year and what may lie ahead. Rather than fixate on your worries about all the bad stuff that could happen, try making a list of things that *could* happen!
Remember that for every possibility that a bad thing could happen, there's a possibility that a good thing could happen.
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” — Og Mandino
And with that, it's time to move on to 2021!