Opportunities for Growth

Happy New Year everybody! The long national nightmare is over, and 2020 is finally behind us. And yes, feel free to dance a little jig to celebrate.

For some people, New Year’s is just another day. For other crazy, goal-oriented, over-achievingly minded people such as myself, it’s the “Great Day of New Beginnings.”™️ A time to re-center yourself and make all these super lofty goals for the future 365 days.

As someone who does see the New Year as a new beginning and a time for growth and drastic life-changes, I’ve realized an interesting and somewhat unhealthy habit. Having a countdown to when I will be “better” or “more focused” or “rededicated to my self-care” allows me to neglect all of those things for the months leading up to the New Year.

The past year, but especially the last couple months, has been crazy. I didn’t have time for growth. I didn’t have time to start working out again or to cut back on my social media intake or to reinvest in my morning journaling. So I kept putting those things off. I said, “in 2021, I’ll be better. The universally rough time of 2020 will be over, and I can focus on being better.”

When the New Year hits, I always make promises to myself. Resolutions, if you will. This year I’ll be healthier or I’ll learn to rest more or I’ll cut down on useless phone scrolling or I’ll finally stop drinking Diet Coke. Spoiler alert, none of it has ever really stuck.

Resolutions are hard. They put this insane pressure on our lifestyles to magically get better and improve instantly. I agree that they can be motivational, but this past year has had me really thinking about how we can reframe the idea altogether.

Let’s face it, the year 2020 gave us every single opportunity to give up on our resolutions. And honestly, for the year we had, that was completely acceptable.

It took me about a month before I let Covid and quarantine get the better of me. At first, when it was only going to be a few weeks, I was staying motivated to do things during the day, be creative, practice self-care, get healthy, foster relationships, the whole nine yards. Then when we realized we were in this for the long haul, I went into survival mode. I’m sure I’m not the only one who decided 2020 was just going to be a wash as far as resolutions and personal growth.

Of course, months went by and there were a lot of really good things 2020 handed me. Two new jobs, a new apartment, new friends, a new pet. Really, I was incredibly blessed last year and I’m so grateful. But my personal growth and resolutions took a toll.

Every time I wanted to do something for me, I kept putting it off. I would say “2020 is hard enough, now isn’t the time to stress about what you’re eating.” Or “2020 has been rough, if you need to lay in bed for two hours on TikTok even though you know that will make you feel bad and sluggish all day, you do it.” Or “2020 is kicking your butt already, you can put off your responsibilities and just focus on getting through today.”

And here I want to reiterate, that that really is all okay. You need rest days. You need mental health days. You need to give yourself permission to get through that weird, collective trauma and anxiety we all felt last year.

But it’s 2021 now, and no, nothing is miraculously changed because the calendar flipped to a new year, but I’m making the decision to not use the 2020 excuse anymore.

I needed time to be in survival mode. Now, I’m ready to be in a time of growth again.

I’m ready to challenge myself, not make a resolution, but issue a challenge. (As someone who is really passionate about winning, maybe this mindset will help me??)

I’m challenging myself to choose myself.

This morning, I was journaling for the first time in a while and I kinda had a revelation. It hit me that we don’t make resolutions as punishment for past behavior, instead we make resolutions and set goals as a way of showing ourselves that we are worth the effort.

"We don’t make resolutions as punishment for past behavior, instead we make resolutions and set goals as a way of showing ourselves that we are worth the effort."

I don’t need to get healthier because a fitness account on Instagram told me I needed to. I need to start exercising and eating better because it will make me feel better. I don’t need to cut down on my screen time because I’m punishing myself for it. I should cut back because there are so many things I love doing, but I’m not getting to enjoy them because I spend hours a day on my phone. And I don’t need to establish a morning routine and re-engage with self-care practices because I’m failing or feeling anxious. I should take care of myself because I want to live a happy life full of growth and new possibilities.

So yea, this year I’m not really making resolutions. Sure, I have goals. I have things I’m going to look into starting again. I have habits I’m going to try to get back into. But I’m not going to call them resolutions. Instead, I’m going to be cheesy and call them opportunities for growth.

Opportunities to put 2020 behind us. Opportunities to stop “just surviving” or “getting through it” and, instead, find ways to thrive.

We all have so much goodness, motivation, creativity, and light inside of us. Unfortunately, the year 2020 tried to snuff a lot of it out. But you didn’t let it. You survived something hard. You made it to the other side. And now, just maybe, we can start focusing on finding a little bit of that light again.

Start small. Practice a hobby for 20 minutes today. Cook one more meal this week than you did last week. Put your phone down and pick up a book instead. These are the things I’m going to try doing again so I can refocus on my personal growth.

Because I’m sick of just surviving. I’m done going through the motions and living a sedentary life. Instead, I’m choosing to thrive and grow. And 2021 is going to help me do it.

I would absolutely love it if you would like to join me!

Back up 2020, 2021 is coming through and she has so many opportunities for growth, light, and love. I just can’t wait for all of us to find it.


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