Happy new year everyone!
2020 brought a lot of challenges for us all, and I’m sure we’re all happy to wave goodbye and step into 2021 full of hope and a positive attitude. There’s no guarantee that things will be better this year, but keeping a positive mentality that will enable you to keep going and pushing is crucial.
I learned a lot in 2020 (and the years before that), and have a few lessons and goals I plan to carry with me into the new year. Some of these I’ve mastered, while some I haven’t. If any of these are things you need to concentrate on, I hope you find this motivating.
- My peace of mind is important.
As someone who has always struggled with anxiety, I’ve come to realise that my peace of mind is the most important thing. The mind is powerful, and sometimes it feels like mine is working against me because I go through periods where I’m constantly overthinking and worrying. It’s tiring. I’m learning to eschew situations and any triggers I feel will exacerbate my anxiety. Sometimes that means turning down invitations, cutting down on time spent on social media platforms, or coming across as antisocial. As hard as these things may be, I have to remind myself that none of them are as important as they seem.
- Setting boundaries is important.
I’ve been a people pleaser for as long as I can remember, and it isn’t the easiest habit to shake off. I’m still learning how to set and enforce boundaries, and hopefully I’ll have the courage to do so. If you’re the same, an important mantra to remember is “I’m entitled to my time.” I’ve grown up believing that turning people down when they reach out to you is always a bad thing, especially if you’re going to spend that time doing something that’s typically considered unproductive, such as resting, taking a nap or watching a movie. However, all those things are important. Taking some time to wind down and simply relax is important, and it’s a valid reason to turn someone down. You’re entitled to your time, and whatever it is you want to do with it.
- Practice gratitude.
2020 taught me that it’s so easy to take the “simple” things for granted when you’ve never had to go without them. These are things such as a hug, a day spent with friends, and the chance to just move around freely. Sometimes you do appreciate these things, but never stop to take a moment and realise just how special they are. One of the lessons I want to take into 2021 is to practice gratitude and appreciate all the things that put a smile on my face, no matter how small or insignificant they seem.
- Approval and validation should come from within.
This is something I still need to work on. Sometimes you get so accustomed to seeking approval and validation from external sources, you forget to seek it internally. You don’t need anyone’s approval for the way you live your life and the choices you decide to make. You’re the only person who has to approve of your decisions. You also need to trust and believe that you’re beautiful, worthy and capable without having to hear it from someone else. Plus, in a world where most people are constantly on their phones and creating and consuming digital content, we all need to stop and remember that no one should be trying to seek approval and validation by getting a lot of likes.
- Rest is important.
In 2021, I have to work on waving good bye to the mentality that I’ve been productive and had a good day only if I’ve been working myself to the bone and I’m exhausted. Resting and re-energising are important.
- Baby steps are important.
Sometimes, I want to do so much and work on so many different projects. It’s usually overwhelming because in just a few days or weeks, I want to achieve what has been achieved by someone who’s been working on something for a significant amount of time. There’s nothing wrong with ambition, but we all have to start somewhere, and it’s important to pace yourself. Being under too much pressure only serves to suck the fun out of everything, and leaves you feeling drained and miserable. As the adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”