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2020 is over...NOW WHAT?


Well it's the moment that many of us have been waiting for...the final week of 2020. For all of us that has been reciting phrases such as "This has been the worst year ever" or "2021 has to be better than what 2020 was" now is the chance to right the ship.

But how?

First, we need a little reality check:

Covid Is Still Here.

By now we would have thought that Covid was long gone, but instead it's still here. Now of course we are hopeful about the arriving vaccines and such, but the reality is that there is still a virus floating around that is impacting people. Regardless of whether you think it's a big deal or it's a hoax, “something” is still around and it's impacting your life.

Mitigation Will Linger.

Even as we get the virus under control, the mitigation strategies we've grown annoyingly accustomed to will also likely stick around. Proof of negative covid tests, mask wearing, socially distant gatherings, plastic barriers, and yes, ZOOM, will likely be the norm long into, and perhaps throughout, 2021.

The Fallout Remains.

And finally, the fall out remains. Millions are grieving the loss of finances, the loss of their businesses, or the loss of loved ones. This certainly will not disappear at the drop of a ball and will remain a reality to manage for quite awhile. Throw in an on-going undercurrent of civil unrest and a 2021 calendar flip all the sudden stops looking like a magic bullet.

So Now What?

Well for starters we need to realize that the year on the calendar does not determine whether it's going to be a good year or a bad year.  Certainly I think everyone understands that deep down, but it deserves a call out. Adding a 1 instead of a 0, is not going to determine your success or happiness or health. You will!

So let's consider three simple acts that we can focus on that can help manage the demands that 2021 will likely bring.

1. Control What You Can Control.

Ugh, I hate saying this because it has become tremendously overused in the sport and performance psychology world, but it's popular for a reason.  Because it's true. I'm reminded of when I played football at Ohio State.  Prior to every game our coach Jim Tressel would have us recite the following:

“I am only one. But I am on.

I can't do everything, but I can do something.

And that which I can do, I ought to do.

And what I ought to do, I shall do.”

What do you have control over? How will you exercise your free will to make 2021 better, than 2020? What shall you do?

2. Know Your Better

2020 was a shit storm in a lot of ways, but many of us used it as an on going excuse to not maximize our lives. But I'm assuming we don't want another year to just pass by, filled with excuses. Instead, if we know we might go into another year of struggle, how can we make the most of it? What does your better look like?

Again going back to my sport days, it was obvious that the team was crisper and performed better when the weather was good. However, when it was snowing or raining, you did what you could do to win, but certainly that environmental context impacted what "good" looked like. 

Same thing applies in the weather we are about to confront. It's not the warmest or sunshiniest, but how do you still perform well despite it? What does a better year look like for you, even if it's going to be a little rainy?

3. Go Back To Basics

2020 also taught us how to do more with less. We hunkered down with families. Took less trips. Ate fewer gourmet meals. And attended zero concerts. Yet, we found a way to connect, stimulate, and find comfort with less. We will also be tasked with this in the new year as well. And I encourage us all to not lose sight of the basics even as things slowly return to normalcy. Covid taught us to pause, to slow down, to function with less.  Don't lose that lesson, go back to it when you can.

What To Do? Next Action Steps:

So let's put this into practice, complete the following questions/exercises as you find yourself entering 2021 or throughout it when you're faced with some less satisfying situations.

  • Control What You Can Control: List out all the things that are bothering you. Circle the ones that you have control over. Identify 1-2 strategies that you can use to manage THOSE things a better.
  • Know Your Better: Maybe you missed the mark in 2020, that's ok. What do you want to be better about yourself in 2021? How would you prefer to think, feel, or do differently this year? What strategies might you take to make that happen?
  • Back to the Basics: When things get busy, or overwhelming, or frustrating, or daunting, what simple people, places, things, or actions can you turn to for solace, support, or serenity?

Final Thoughts:

So 2020 was a wild ride, but there is no guarantee that 2021 will be drastically “better.” As such, we all have to do what we can do to "make" it better. I've offered a few thoughts above, but ultimately it's on you.

If you need more support in your journey to having a better year please feel free to reach out for mental fitness coaching or stress management support.

I do wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and fulfilling new year, but wishing only gets you so far...

It's almost 2021 and you have to ask yourself...Now What?


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