2020 was a year like no other; it presented most of us with challenges, it wreaked havoc with our lives, and it was a very unsettling year to say the least. This time last year I posted a blog about setting goals, achieving dreams and creating vision boards, but can we plan for the future in the same way this year given the fact that we are in a pandemic and so much of our future is uncertain? Whilst many of our plans will undoubtedly have to be cancelled once again, we can still take some time to pause and reflect on how we can make our lives this year more fulfilling and meaningful, and perhaps try to move forward with some optimism. We cannot control a pandemic, but we can control our thoughts and actions.
I love the ritual of opening a new journal at the start of the year and listing my goals for the year ahead. However, whilst this is more difficult to do this year, it doesn’t mean that we can’t dream and set ourselves some targets. We cannot see what the path ahead holds for us but there are some things that we can plan for. I for one want to feel that I have some control over how this year works out for me, my goals are spiritual and emotional rather than of the material kind.
One target for the year ahead is to practice more gratitude, I plan to record a daily gratitude list in my journal. This pandemic has been a huge wake-up call for most of us, and I feel that it has been one of those defining moments encouraging me to do a complete inventory of my life, to make the most of it and to appreciate every moment. I never forget that those things that I take for granted will one day come to an end. Our mental health is a product of our thoughts, so try to make them good ones.
I also plan to be more mindful of living in the present moment. We are conditioned to fear uncertainty, we tend to catastrophise an unknown future and then we fall down the rabbit hole of imagined scenarios that may never happen. Many of us have been transfixed to the news 24/7 and consumed with endless worry. If we don’t make the effort to control our thoughts, they will start controlling us. Our minds can often cause us more pain than our worst enemies; we can have all of the material goods that we would ever desire, but if we don’t deal with our toxic thoughts, we will never be happy. There are very few things that we will be able to control this year, but with daily effort, our minds are the one thing that we can have absolute control over.
Through the daily use of a journal I also hope to be more self-reflective, to take more time to decompress and to think about my day, even for just ten minutes. What went well? What needs to change? I can’t try to improve my life if I don’t reflect on what needs to improve. It is important to take some time to be introspective and then make the necessary improvements so that we don’t keep returning to our old ways. I hope to grow and learn every single day simply by looking at the areas of my life that are not working, and then changing them.
Finally, I plan to be more mindful about how I spend my time. This precious resource is often frittered away rather than savoured. I hope to spend more time on those activities that enrich my life, and to manage my time so that I can do more of the things I love. I will try to scale back on those activities that steal my time and stand in the way of my happiness. I will definitely be a lot more productive and most importantly happier.
At times the path ahead may be devastating, things may fall apart and we will have no choice but to surrender to our circumstances and be gentle with ourselves. We can be certain that uncertainty is going to be part of the year ahead, so why not try to be proactive in developing some coping strategies? You can be the master of your own fate or wander aimlessly through the year, it is up to you. Be the person that you dream of being. Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…