2021. The year that promises us a fresh start; a bright new horizon.
Ok, I’ll admit - it does feel like we’ve gotten off to a false start already, doesn’t it?
There we were, looking all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for the dawn of something new to save us from the shocker that was 2020.
But then, here in Sydney, Australia, we were hit with the Northern Beaches cluster…after so much progress, the news hit our hearts like a ton of bricks.
We felt the pain and negativity around the rest of the world on a global scale, as the UK went back into full lockdown, expected until at least mid-February - and in the US, the storming of the United States Capitol by pro-Trump protesters that has caused a continuing uproar.
And while our hearts truly go out to all of those affected, we can’t help but feel our hopes dashed.
The increase in restrictions, the limitations in catching up with our friends and loved ones, and prompt shutting of interstate borders has made us feel even more divided from each other.
It’s as if the tone set for this year is one of uncertainty, yet again, leaving us to question, when will this rough patch ever end?
Well, here’s how I see it.
We can’t control the state of the world, nor can we control the actions of others. And when it comes to the coronavirus, whilst the vaccine has started to be distributed globally we still have a long road ahead. But one thing we can control however, is how we set the purpose and direction of our own lives.
I’ve believed this for as long as I can remember. And to help me stay in control, I make conscious decisions to keep my ‘mind over matter’, as they say.
While there are many strategies I implement to achieve this, like: meditation, journaling, the forming and refining of habits, gratitude…the list goes on, I have one simple thing I do each year that really gets me in the zone and helps remind me to stay there when the going gets tough (because, let’s be real, it always does, no matter what the context!)
At the start of each year, I decide on a ‘word of the year’.
A word that encompasses my energy, passion, goals, mindset and commitment for that particular year. It’s almost like a resolution - in a word, so to speak.
Last year, it was ‘consistency’.
You see, I had so many moving parts. My MBA, The Remarkable Woman, and I had just co-founded a new fintech.
There was so much I could be doing at any one point in time, that I realised success for me would lie in my ability to keep it simple, and to show up and do the big things, consistently. All the small stuff didn’t really matter if I could be consistent with the things that really counted.
I wrote up the word on a big black marker and stuck it on a post-it note that hung from my computer screen. I saw it each and every day - and it reminded me to simply be consistent. It was my little secret success formula - and you see... It was so simple.
This year, I face some very different challenges.
I’ve managed to turn up consistently in 2020, despite all that COVID-19 brought my way, but it's now time to transform.
To capitalise on the opportunities I couldn't make time for in the year that’s past.
So you can guess what my word for 2021 is?
Yes, it’s ‘transformation’.
To get there, I did a little exercise that takes just a minute. I visualised my goals for the year, and then wrote down some words that I felt described it. Here are the words I scribbled out in case you’d like to use them too:
Then I talked through the words out loud to myself to better understand where I was trying to go with it.
All the while thinking about how each word was making me feel.
Was it making me feel closer to goals, or further away?
Was it making me feel empowered and clear, or confused?
It’s about asking ourselves the tough questions, such as:
- Who is the person I want to become?
- What do I want to stand for?
- What are my core values that I live by?
- What is it that makes me feel my best?
And before you knew it, I had ‘transformation’ as my word for 2021.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we can engineer our own rebirths, despite all that is happening around us.
We can shape who it is we want to become through our habits - and by building on the visions we have for our own lives.
By turning inwards and enquiring within ourselves, we can start to live a fully expressed, purposeful life.
One that inherently has meaning and transcends any news agenda or other external factor.
Take some time to reflect on these questions and write in your journal. You might be surprised by some of the answers!
This has worked wonders for me, and I hope it does for you too.
I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.