Heading into 2021 With Hope

2020 has been horrible, there is no getting away from that. We have all been stunned as this virus has ripped through communities, countries and continents. People have died in their thousands and everyone has endured some level of separation from beloved friends and family. And now with the second wave upon us and more restrictions, it is not difficult to feel pretty depressed… but this is not what I want to focus on as 2020 draws to a close.

Instead, I want to think about the lessons and experiences we can take from 2020 to move forward in a positive way. There is no doubt that we have all changed to some degree in the last 12 months. Our thinking may be changing, perspectives may have shifted, our priorities reviewed. Perhaps it is time to take afresh look at life.

Personally, I think I have become more aware of how precious our time on earth is. Like everyone, in the past I have been guilty of ‘waiting to live’ in some way. Convincing myself that life will be better after I have found the right person, got married, had a baby, changed my job or moved house. And suddenly this year I was 54! Seems like yesterday I was 24. It calls to mind the John Lennon quote:

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete as soon as we get that new car, promotion or even when we retire. The truth is, there’s no better time to be happy than right now. Yes, even now in 2021! Life isn’t a rehearsal, its happening right now. Every day is precious, even if it is currently being managed in Tier 4!

Interestingly, one of the things that people have said to me about 2020, is how fast it’s gone, which is odd really, given the doom and gloom that we all been subjected to. But it’s true, the days really have flown by. Barely has the day started and it’s already time to be thinking about dinner. A new week starts, and then it’s suddenly Friday evening. Then it’s the next month, the next season and now the year is ending. And soon, before you know it will be another year, another 5, 10 or 50 years.

So let’s think about trying to enjoy something from everyday. Look for something to throw yourself into. Yes, I know that there are limitations at the moment, but decide that Covid isn’t going to stop you. That’s plenty to plan and think about for 2021.

Stop procrastinating. Saying “I’m going to get to that after such and such has happened” means you are effectively putting your life on hold, and if this year has taught us one thing, it is that every minute is precious and ‘later ‘cannot be relied on. And when you are waiting for ‘later’, you miss all the wonderful stuff that’s happening right now in front of your nose.

The day is today. Don’t postpone what needs to be done now. Life will always throw up challenges and obstacles. Decide to be happy anyway. Remember the old adage, that it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it.

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.”– Dale Carnegie

This words helped me to see that there is no specific path to happiness. Happiness is in the journey itself! So, stop waiting until you have lost weight, until you have had a baby, got that promotion, until Friday night, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, or until next year.

You got through 2020 – you are still here and you are deserve to be happy in 2021. OK, so our lives aren’t going to be magically changed when we wake up tomorrow morning. But the key to happiness in 2021 in in your hands. And the very first change that you need to bring about is changing your mindset and beliefs that are currently holding you back. Optimism is the key this year and should be your first New Year’s resolution. Don’t forget that the key to a happier and better life in 2021 is your own self development and personal growth. I wish you a happy, healthy and hopeful New Year!

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