Raise your hand if you’re ready for 2020 to be over? I know, I know – does that really need to be asked? I don’t think I’ve seen one person expressing anything but an attitude of good riddance to the year, whether in actual conversations or what’s being shared online.
However, I’m a bit concerned with everyone’s “fuck off, 2020 – bring on 2021!” attitude because I feel it’s setting up a lot of disappointment. And, perhaps the worst part, even sadder days ahead.
Lessons of New Year’s Resolutions
Before I get into that, let’s take a look at something that’s equally popular as we head to the end of the year, something that’s not unique to 2020: New Year’s Resolutions.
Just about every year since I started blogging, I share thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions – and those thoughts aren’t exactly the type of motivational, uplifting, you-go-get-em! ones that most people would expect.
I’m not a fan of resolutions, never have been. I won’t get into the why, you can search if you’re really interested. But I do think New Year’s Resolutions have a tremendous opportunity to teach us something right now, as we head into 2021.
What’s 2021 Going to be Like…Really
Does everyone think the clock will strike midnight at 2021 will magically be better? It won’t be – I mean, it’ll likely be a better year by the end of it but it’s not going to happen overnight and many of the same things we’re going through right now are going to follow us into the new year.
Other than college football playoff games, New Year’s Day likely won’t bring anything different or exciting than the days before.
Now there’s nothing wrong with having hope that 2021 will bring better days. I think every day we wake up, we hope for a better day than before. My worry is those who have unrealistic expectations of what the New Year will bring. I hate to see anyone being set up for even sadder days ahead, the let down of this idea in their heads that things are going to be so much better when, in reality, not much will change, at least right away. This is where the New Year’s Resolutions lesson comes in.
The same hope/let down pattern that could be coming with the pandemic is the same one that comes with New Year’s Resolutions. There’s the excitement and the optimism (both of which are great – I love excitement and optimism!) but because of unrealistic expectations, lack of planning, even circumstances outside of our control, there’s often disappointment that often follows. There are slip-ups, bumps in the road, and that initial high of getting started slowly fades.
Side note, for those making a resolution related to fitness, feel free to take a look at this post on what to expect and how to succeed at a New Year’s Resolution to get fit.
While it’s a great idea to set goals and get pumped up, and want to go balls to the wall on something, the approach of slow, steady, and realistic change is the better recipe for success. I think we can apply those same basic principles as we navigate into 2021 which will surely be another year dominated by the pandemic.
Rather than get pumped up that everything is going to be awesome and this will finally be the time, let’s look to smaller, realistic moments. Be excited about getting a vaccine…just don’t expect to get it right away (unless you’re in one of the priority categories). Look forward to meeting your friends for lunch at a favorite restaurant…just know that capacity limits will still likely exist for awhile. And I’m sure plenty of people are ready to rip off their mask and shop with their nose and mouth free to the outside world…but it’s likely that masks will still be the expectation for quite some time.
Again, I’m not saying we can’t be hopeful for what 2021 brings – I’m saying, let’s be sure to keep our expectations in check and prepare for plenty of bumps along the way.
There’s one more note I want to leave with, the other downside of wishing away 2020. Let’s ensure we’re not doing so without taking the time to find our gratitude.
Did the year suck? Kind of, yeah. People lost jobs, loved ones, and more. Everything was canceled – except running. Running is not canceled.
The experiences I missed out on pale in comparison to what many people have gone through so I’m not even going to get into it. Instead, I’m focused on acknowledging the good. I’m grateful to still have my job and be able to do it from the safety of my home. I’m grateful to have given birth to another healthy boy and had excellent care from a team of healthcare workers.
There are some good things that came out of this year. I hope everyone can find something to be grateful for, something they wouldn’t have had or experienced had it not been for COVID-19. Remember the power of gratitude – acknowledge it every day.
What lessons did you learn from 2020? What is your hope for 2021? The comments are all yours so please share.
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