December 26, 2021

10 Lessons from 2021 to Carry into Next Year.

“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws but for potential.” ~ Ellen Goodman


And just like that, in a flash, another year comes to a close.

As I look back on the time that has passed, a lot has happened.

While time continued to pass, so did precious moments of our lives. We went through an emotional roller coaster this past year. There were, perhaps, more downs than ups.

We lost more than what most of us could handle. For some, time stayed still, refusing to move in any direction. Life turned upside down for some, and others sailed through.

Perhaps little remained the same, and we were lucky enough to hold on to whatever we could manage—whatever was within our reach.

While this past year did rob us of our normal, peace, and contentment, it did teach us a lot.

For me, it was just one word that stood out this whole time: perspective.

The year gone by reinforced more than ever that we simply cannot control what happens outside of us and we are only responsible for what happens within.

In any given set of circumstances, what truly matters is the lens through which we are viewing the world. The situation can appear to be blue, green, yellow, or colorless depending on what’s covering our vision—the ideas, assumptions, and beliefs we have for every aspect of the situation that we find ourselves in.

In essence, our perspective is what decides whether we stay or move forward and the quality of our journey—both inward and out into the world.

In the same spirit, we can turn toward the coming year with any perspective. All we need to ensure is that it’s the one that works for and resonates with us. A perspective that makes life a little simpler because let’s face it, we have enough complications to deal with.

In my understanding, if we are able to keep these fundamentals in mind, it can help us to sail smoothly through the upcoming year:

1. Let’s set intentional goals. By now, the majority of us have come to the conclusion that resolutions don’t stick for most of us. One of the prime reasons for this is that we often fail to tie our goals with our intention. We decide to do something because it’s right or important or must be done. However, we fail to look inward and ask ourselves if this “right,” “important” thing is truly something that we want or are even willing to commit to.

This coming year, let’s explore the “why” behind “what” we think we must do. What is important and what is important for us can be two different things. Hence, let’s explore our whys a little more before coming up with a long list of what should be done.

2. Let’s learn to manage our “emotional hijacks” better. When we are unprepared for something, it’s only natural that our own reactions and responses can surprise us. But over a period of time, we must make an effort to look within and ask ourselves if our reactions are working for us.

It’s important to manage ourselves where our emotions are getting the better of us. While it’s normal to feel every emotion, every action stemming from that emotion is not okay—not every time.

3. Let’s spend more time with our loved ones. Because our relationships make our world go round! We can continue to chase other goals, ambitions, and achievements, but at the end of the day, if we don’t have anyone to share them with, what meaning would they hold? So let’s make extra time to give and receive love.

4. Let’s focus on filling our hearts with love instead of trying to fill a vacuum. The more we learn to love ourselves, the lesser the emotional vacuum becomes. Overtime, relationships serve as value additions instead of desperate cries to be heard, seen, understood, and validated. A relationship with another that reveals the secure and loved parts of us has the potential to fill us with even more love.

5. Let’s tune into our needs a bit more. No matter how much we want, we can’t pour from an empty cup. Let’s focus on filling ourselves up by catering to our inner needs and desires before jumping in to fill the needs of another. Let’s learn more about our own selves so that we can genuinely do justice to our own self and our relationships.

6. Let’s build meaningful and long-lasting relationships instead of running after the glittery, fleeting ones. At the end of the day, we only have each other. So let’s consider our relationships as long-term investments for our psychological and emotional safety and then invest wisely.

7. Let’s be effort-oriented instead of result-driven. We can’t control outcomes. But our efforts are within our control. Without efforts, there are no results. So let’s remind ourselves to do our best—every time.

8. Let’s focus more on who we want to be instead of making lists. The reason to-do lists don’t work is because most of the time, they are not aligned with our vision of ourselves. They are just things to be done. Let’s change our conversations with our inner self and ask ourselves, “What kind of person do I want to see myself as in this coming year?” and the doing will flow automatically.

9. Let’s embrace change. Remind ourselves again and again that change was, is, and will always be the only constant in our lives. The more we resist, the harder it gets. Once we embrace life’s basic nature as free-flowing and ever changing, we can go back to sipping our mojitos, lying on our hammock, and enjoy the view (of course, it’s all in our heads).

10. Let’s remember that no matter what the circumstances may be like, there’s always something we can do. Because it is true. There’s always another perspective waiting for us at the corner. There’s always a different view, a different angle. We simply have to allow ourselves to be open to it.

After all, “What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” ~ Vern Mclellan


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