With only a few days left in 2021, many of us are looking back at the stories that made the news, the personal and professional challenges we overcame, our wins and losses, what we want to leave behind and our hopes for the new year. Coming out of 2020, many had hoped 2021 would bring a return to some semblance of normalcy, an end to the COVID -19 pandemic and some relief from the stress and anxiety arising from all the changes and uncertainty in the environment. Instead, 2021 brought even more political tensions and sparked a raging debate about to vax or not to vax which threated to divide societies as well as friends and families. We watched decisionmakers and governments struggle with decisions about when and how to reopen the office, public spaces, business, schools, churches, and relaxing mask mandates.
2021 became the year of the “great resignation” or the “great reshuffle” as many people pivoted to make new career moves or shifted their attitudes towards work to achieve greater flexibility and work/life balance. But most importantly, 2021 raised significant concerns about mental health as people struggled to cope with the pressures of the ongoing pandemic and the unrelenting need for them to adapt or keep up with the constant changes happening all around them. All across the world, we saw an increase in demand for treatment of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, while both employees and employers struggled to address the damaging effects of fatigue and burnout.
My Year in Review
Since 2007, every new year I have chosen a theme or word to guide all areas of my life for the given period. For 2021, I declared that I would be intentional about pursuing wholeness in my emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, professional, and social areas of my life. For me, this meant I would strive to ensure that my words, actions, and mindsets led to improvements in my overall sense of well-being. In keeping with this commitment, my goals included eliminating all personal debt except for my mortgage; improving my physical fitness and nutrition; spending more time praying and studying the bible; honing my craft by learning new skills; consistently publishing my blog; and building and strengthening my relationships.
But like many of you, I too experienced my fair share of challenging situations in 2021 that threatened to derail my goals and plans for myself. At times, the issues I faced brought tears and feelings of doubt and discouragement that I had to push through to stay on track and encouraged. Fortunately, I recognized the areas and times I was struggling and got the support I needed to help me recover well and tap into a new level of resiliency. Despite those difficulties, I was also blessed with many new and amazing opportunities to expand my sphere of influence, build and leverage new relationships, enhance my knowledge and skills, use my talents to encourage and help others and make a positive impact at work and in my community.
Needless to say, I didn’t achieve everything I set out to do, but I made great progress with my goals, and I will continue to build on them in the new year. Better yet, I believe I’m ending the year better than I started it.
But what about you? How was 2021 for you?
11 Questions to Ask Yourself
As we close out 2021, it is easy to focus on all the things that didn’t go right or things that didn’t go as you hoped or planned. But as you reflect on the past year, remember that your progress and success should not only be assessed by whether your plans unfolded exactly as you wanted them to. Rather than taking that approach, assess yourself on the progress (big or small) you made during 2021, the steps you took towards your goals, the new perspectives you developed, the knowledge you gained and the experiences you benefited from. Chances are that your low moments, setbacks, or failures revealed more to you about you and others than anything else could ever do. Therefore, your task is to take those insights and lessons and use them to help you make better choices in the future as you strive to become a better version of yourself.
So regardless of the challenges you might be facing today, you survived 2021 and made progress in some way shape or form. As you take a few moments to look back at 2021 and celebrate your experiences, ask yourself the following questions:
- How did I make time to have fun?
- How did I make self -care a key part of my regular routine?
- How did I set myself up for success financially and physically?
- What is an important lesson I learned this year?
- What is the best thing that happened to me?
- What challenges did I overcome?
- What new skills did I learn to enhance my career?
- What did I do to enhance my personal growth and development?
- What did I do to nurture/strengthen my relationships?
- What do I need to change/improve or do differently?
- Did I steward my resources well?
I’m sure your answers to those questions might be different from mine since we might be at different stages in our lives. Whatever your answers to those questions might be, acknowledge your feelings about how things went for you and the lessons learned- even the painful ones. And as you do that, remember to stay true to who you are and the person you are becoming, while holding firmly to the vision you have for your life.
In closing, my hope is that you would have joy, love, and peace as you celebrate the holidays and look forward to a new year full of successes big and small!
Until next time, Remember, ItsALearningLife!