It’s been a challenging year hasn’t it?
Through conversations online and in person (i.e. by in person I mostly mean video calls), I’ve seen a general theme that we should write off the year and roll on 2021 for a fresh start, where people cling onto the hope that the world will have moved on into a utopia
I’ve never been one to take this approach, life is too short, why would you wish for the limited time you have to elapse more quickly just because you have to face the burden of hardship?
There truly is no such thing as a good or bad situation, it’s just how the individual chooses to perceive it.
I don’t dismiss the struggles 2020 has presented, but don’t let these times let you slip into negativity.
During the year, I’ve faced my own difficulties. I’ve refused to let them beat me.
This post focuses on the approaches I’ve taken to get through these.
Avoid the negative
If you ever take a trip down the rabbit hole of the comments section of a YouTube video discussing current events, you could be driven to a state of depression.
Getting too consumed in this material can keep you exposed to people who seem to live with a doomsday mindset which can be infectious making you feel totally hopeless.
Therefore, take as many opportunities as possible to avoid downers – negative news and negative people.
It’s been over a year since I’ve seen friends, face to face interactions with parents I can count on my hand, gym goals have been screwed up, and right now I’d absolutely love nothing more than to go to a restaurant and tuck into the biggest, juiciest burger on the menu.
If I over thought this, I could think about all the things I don’t have, but instead I’d much rather show gratitude for all the things I do have:
- I still have a job.
- I still have a home.
- I have my health.
- I’ve got to spend more time with my kids, experiencing the majority of the first year of my youngest’s life working from home.
- I’ve realised how much I love the people around me.
I don’t have it as bad as other people.
Take time out each day to think what are you grateful for? This will lead to a more positive, optimistic you.
Set your goals
This year my October holiday to Spain was cancelled.
Honestly, I wasn’t that bummed about it, something I attribute to the fact I have goals, which give me other things to look forward to.
Too much focus on moments, or events, like vacations can be demoralising if they don’t quite workout or aren’t as good as you thought they’d be.
By having clear goals, you are driven when things seem hopeless and when life gets difficult and having something to work on is a great distraction for your mind.
As it’s getting to the end of the year, you might be thinking about setting a New Years Resolution.
But why wait until then?
As of posting, there are 22 full days left to 2020, this gives you time to set a goal, plan how you will get there and start making those first initial positive steps to change.
Last December I decided to stop having energy drinks around the same time my daughter was born. This seemed like something that could have waited until the new year, but I decided I just wanted to get into it.
I’m glad to say, I’ve stuck to this.
Don’t wait until 2021 to start making positive changes – do it now!
Know your purpose
I’ve notice a repeating tone across marketing campaigns this year we know it’s been a bad year for you but… [launch into sales pitch].
My thoughts have always been
“Who are you to tell me how I feel this year has been…”
Taking in too much of this rhetoric could cause you to crack.
What’s helped keep me strong having a clear sense of purpose who I am.
When lockdown happened, I knew it was my role to be able to guide my wife and kids through these times, trying to keep a sense of normality in odd times.
As a father I view myself as the leader of my family, therefore if I act weak and negative about everything that has gone wrong I’ve failed by setting a bad example to my family and polluting their thoughts by my attitude.
Establishing a clear purpose of who you are in this situation, can help you get through tough times.
Live in the moment
Mostly I lived in the moment embracing the time I had.
Yeah, cinemas and favourite restaurants were shut, and the media had a field day firing off misinformation to make everyone feel small and powerless.
But that didn’t matter, it was a great opportunity to spend more time with my family, I still think fondly of those hot summer months in the UK having barbeques, drinking rum and coke on the patio, while watching my eldest have the time of her life on the playground equipment we rushed to buy to keep her entertained.
And as we get into the cold months, I look forward to Christmas with a sense of festive spirit I haven’t felt for years…
You make your own luck…
Has 2020 been a bad year? From the perspective of a few generations of people who’ve never had it so good… maybe.
But it’s not been like the majority have been sent to off to war, or a daily struggle to meet basic needs of food and shelter.
I’m a firm believer that you make your own luck – if you want something, then by pursuing it you increase your chances of success.
And my attitude with 2020 is the opportunities it has presented to grow and develop as person. When I look back on this year, I’ll look on proudly with how I’ve acted.
So why not use these times to change yourself for the better?
As Viktor Frankl said
“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
(To find out more about Viktor Frankl, I fully recommend the book Man’s Search For Meaning)
Take care, we will get through this.
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