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2021: A year of hope

There is no doubt that 2020 was a year unlike any other. None of us were prepared for the unexpected turn of events that the year brought forth. A raging pandemic, which led to unforeseen disruptions, a global shutdown, slumped economies, and home confinement, brought the entire world to a grinding halt.

And just like that, the year of chaos went by like a skip and blur.

This being said, 2020 taught us to deal with grief and loss and also birthed in us a rare breed of hope—to survive and look forward to a brighter and healthier future. Now, this hope shall guide us like a lantern in 2021 to a path of new possibilities, positive changes, and a better tomorrow.

Here are a few reasons why 2021 is the year of hope.

New goals for a new year

The dawn of a new year signifies the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. If 2020 was the year when everything went wrong, 2021 can be the opportunity to start afresh by setting new goals. It is no secret that the beginning of a year is the best time for goal-setting, as it gives us a chance to reflect on what has passed and what needs to be accomplished. In fact, states, “setting goals at the beginning of the year can be quite effective, since the first day of the year signals the start of a new time period, making us feel we can start from a clean state.” When properly followed, goal-setting can play a key role in moving on from the past and stepping into a new beginning.

Intentions not resolutions

With every new year comes a list of resolutions that we vow to follow at any cost. We resolve to be a better person, eat healthier food, exercise more…the list is endless. But, more often than not, we find ourselves breaking them. So why do resolutions set us up for failure, despite our best intentions? The answer might lie in the lack of accountability or the lack of an execution plan.

This year, instead of making impulsive resolutions, try setting intentions. When the intention is strong, it allows us to focus and plan for the present, instead of setting goals for the future. As Professor Daniel J Siegel rightly writes in his book, The Mindful Brain, “Intentions create an integrated state of priming, a gearing up of our neural system to be in the mode of that specific system: we can be readying to receive, to send, to focus, to behave in a certain manner.”

Enhanced wellbeing

Before the pandemic turned lives upside down, wellbeing was something that would inadvertently get pushed to the end of our priority list. Despite being aware of its significance, we never whole-heartedly and consciously committed ourselves to it.

But if there is one thing that the pandemic taught us, it is to never take health for granted.

It is true that 2020 exposed us to a prolonged period of stress and uncertainty. But at the same time, this period also gave us an opportunity to pause, breathe, and re-evaluate our lives. It allowed us to recognise and value aspects of our lives, like wellbeing, which we all took for granted. And now, as we stand at the threshold of 2021, it is important that we set our priorities right, and start investing more in self-care.

Count your blessings

In life, we take many things for granted. We whine and complain about ‘could-haves’ and ‘should-haves’, neglect our duties toward ourselves as well as our families, and get so busy running on the hamster wheel that we forget about the things that really matter.

Even though 2020 taught us that life can be uncertain, it also made us value our lives, family, and relationships more than ever. It taught us that even though we can’t prevent adversities, we can choose to grow through them, together. Now, as we stand at the doorstep of a new year, let’s start valuing what really matters in life.

A forward march

2020 was the year that threw our lives off the tracks. But it also taught us to move forward. Letting go of the past and moving ahead during challenging times can be incredibly difficult. But when you decide to shed the baggage of the past and move forward, you pull yourself up from a state of stagnation and march towards new opportunities and goals. So before we begin to walk the roads of 2021, let’s make sure not to carry the baggage of 2020.

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