Happy New Year, and welcome to 2021!
I had wanted to write a new post before the end of 2020 as a way to summarize and wrap up the year that was 2020. Time got away from me, and even this past week it did again as I have been trying to get myself organized so as to set myself up for success this year. Then, the attack on the Capitol happened here in the United States as a direct result of our own President inciting his hardcore supporters into a frenzy. The United States, seems ironic as we have never felt more divided. I have been unable to truly focus, and the other portion of my time has been spent doomscrolling. I have a true belief that 2021 will be much better than 2020, but admit that 6 days in the attack left a lot of people disgusted, scared, shocked, and not entirely optimistic. I choose to be positive, but it is definitely harder on some days than others.
As for 2020, my thoughts on the year were fairly broad, but I had a list of goals I wanted to reach, which mostly centered on personal growth – weight loss, financial milestones, career success and healing. I wanted to keep the momentum I had started building the last few years and keep pushing forward. The end desire was to be happy and successful, though I hadn’t totally defined what that word meant to me specifically; loosely, sure. I feel like maybe I have inched closer to my definition since then, but still have a lot of work to do. Here are some of the questions I have reflected on for myself, prompts courtesy of Cait Flanders:
What were your goals/priorities at the start of the year? How did they shift in March (and beyond)? I wanted to be healthy on all levels – financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I wanted to finally start taking better care of myself and lose weight; to feel like “myself” again. I also wanted to reach all of my financial goals. I was also looking forward to traveling to Amsterdam, Belgium and Paris for my niece’s 21st birthday. Honestly once March hit, it became easier to prioritize my health and fitness goals as I was home and had more time to focus on me and stick to my healthy goals. As far as travel was concerned (and general human contact), all that type of fun stuff was cancelled. It allowed me to reflect on how lucky we are to normally even be able to see people we love and hug them. The simplest things really are the best things, the irreplaceable things. Emotionally and mentally, I did a lot of reflecting on past events, my emotions/reactions, and overall behavior. I also started reiki, which I found incredibly therapeutic.
What lifestyle changes were you thinking of making (if any)? What does that look like now? I successfully stuck to Weight Watchers and have lost nearly 40 pounds. The random aches and pains I once felt have all but subsided, and besides feeling more comfortable in my own skin, I feel much better on so many levels. I have ACTUALLY stuck to my plan and completed what used to feel like an unattainable weight loss goal, I look and feel so much better, and I fit into clothes I haven’t in who knows how long. I also feel like I am physically stronger in many ways that I haven’t previously achieved in past diets and exercise, and with less “killing myself” to get there. I feel like I am closer to getting my food and weight issues under control for good. Balance is definitely key.
What are you grateful you got to experience in January/February, before everything changed? I literally got to celebrate my 39th birthday mere days before everything shut down suddenly – and without contracting Covid or giving it to any of my loved ones. I am immensely grateful for that.
What did slowing down look/feel like for you? In what ways did you struggle? In what ways did you thrive? As a loud and proud introvert, I consider the majority of this experience to be a positive for me, though I hate to label it as such given the circumstances. I am someone who likes a slow, non rushed pace, lazing about, and loads of alone time – this gave me all of that and then some. I was able to wfh exclusively from March – June (maybe even early July?) and then was still able to wfh 2+ days a week thereafter. One of my favorite experiences was taking my daily walks at night around the neighborhood when NJ was locked down; the streets at 9 p.m. were so still and silent, it felt like it was 3 a.m. I found incredible peace and solace during those walks, filled with good music and the space to do deep thinking (and some healing). I was incredibly lucky and grateful for that. However, I did realize how essential human contact is, even for someone like me. I felt the dull aches of “need” deep in my heart and belly for other people and interactions that no Zoom call could fix.
In what areas/ways did you give yourself permission to simply do “good enough” this year? Ironically 2020 has been one of my most “successful” years yet as far as reaching goals I set for myself, so I never really felt like I was falling short. However, I am mere pounds away (like, 3. (!!!)) from the specific number on the scale that I arbitrarily chose and I have acknowledged that the number should not define my success. The other area that technically isn’t applause-worthy is my spending; I saved like crazy and met so many milestones, but I also failed spectacularly in spending money and creating new debt yet again. Just like with my weight, I have identified my penchant for impulsivity when I am anxious (which I am getting a little better at identifying and articulating the source of my emotions to myself). I am not proud of or in love with the fact that I have done this (and I know I will have it under control again soon, but no excuse), but I have extended myself compassion for what was an unprecedented year (everyone hates that word, I know) and especially more so as I have at least matched my “fail” with lots of other wins, financially and otherwise.
What new things did you try/say yes to this year? Which new habits did you experiment with/build upon? Everything spiritual and surrounding God. I have a long way to go and lots to learn yet, but 2020 was truly the beginning of a great journey for me. I learned that magic is real, it exists, and so much of it is within me. Also, perspective. Many things I would have previously scoffed at proved me to be a believer this year (the medium, reiki, learning I myself have gifts waiting to be utilized).
How have your values shifted (if at all)? I would say my growing faith and belief in God and spirituality has definitely shifted my core belief system, though I always believed in God. I just REALLY believe from the bottom of my heart now. So to speak, I feel like I have experienced proof.
What are some ways you’ve experienced change and/or growth within yourself? In other words, how do you feel different/changed for the better? (Big or small, it all counts!) I venture to say 2020 has been the biggest year of personal growth for me, or at least in a series of years compounding from 2015 on. I have learned to really examine my feelings and reactions, and while I am certainly not a master of this, I am more intentional and try to apologize more or own when I am wrong. Spiritually, everything shifted everything for me this year. This entry certainly isn’t long enough to detail how that felt. I believe in something bigger than myself, and at the same time everything is connected to me. I feel like this year was life changing in so many ways.
Who are you today? What feels like the clearest/truest statement you can make about who you are and how you feel?
I feel like I am a perfectly imperfect almost 40 year old woman who is learning every day who she is, and how it’s ok to be whoever I want. I don’t need permission from anyone else, and despite all the obstacles I have encountered, I have always overcome them and come out stronger. I am resilient, empathetic, kind, and strong. I am a wonderful mother and friend. I am not perfect, but I am trying every day.
What are you most proud of yourself for in this moment?
For always trying to be self aware and caring about my actions and how they affect others. And for reaching my goals this year!
Congrats if you made it through all of that – this is the extremely abbreviated version of all the prompts.
I hope to expand on all of the above in 2021, and I wish that for you, too. Here are some links I enjoyed that you may, as well. Happy New Year!