This year has certainly been one to remember. It’s been said that there are some years that ask questions and other years that answer them. This year has held a great deal of answers for me, as well as much learning and reflection.
Something that I have found increasingly useful to do at the close of the year is take stock of what the year held for me – particularly how I was able to live in alignment with my values, move towards goals, live with intention and just bloody enjoy myself sometimes.
I’m sharing this below in case it might be helpful to you (even though it does feel a little boastful/whiney to be putting this out publicly). Of course, you will need to reflect on your year in the context of your own life, but this might lend a little structure to your lookback and allow you to take pride in your accomplishments and create momentum towards your goals.
What went well for me this year?
This year I grew and birthed a beautiful, healthy baby. So that was pretty cool.
In the year coming… I would like to spend quality time with Levon, be present as he grows up (they do that pretty quick, so I’ve heard), and mindfully and compassionately introduce him to the world.
I am proud of how I progressed this year with my psychology work – getting 6 months into my provisional licence, working with clients and learning lots about therapeutic interventions and ways to support others. I wrote a bunch of cool blogs and articles on behalf of The Indigo Project. I also got to hold a bunch of Zoom-workshops, courtesy of Support Act, where I chatted about mental health and hopefully helped some folks learn a little more about their minds, emotions and behaviour. I enjoyed facilitating workshops for Big Sound and would love to do more of this in the future.
In the year coming… I would like to tick off one full year to my provisional registration, hold more workshops (in person and online) and create more impactful and visible psychology and self-development content with passionate, like-minded people.
Friends & Family
This year, I got to spend a lot more time with friends and family. Thanks to COVID, I was forced to make the effort to catch up with people and spend quality time with people whose company I enjoy. I’m grateful for the amazing people I have in my life and would love to continue to invest in my relationships and make an ongoing committment to be present and generous with the people who matter most to me.
In the year coming… I would like to continue to enjoy the company of others, host dinners, play games, and keep in better contact with friends who live far from home.
This was the first full year where I committed to my healthy habits and I really committed.
335 Days of German Practice (DuoLingo)
343 Days meditated (Insight Timer)
~330 Days of my gratitude practice, affirmations & journaling
I read 32 books
In the year coming… I would like to continue committing to these healthy habits, and add more exercise and healthy eating into the mix. I also started learning piano early this year, and going forward, I’d like to add that to my weekly habits too.
Savings & Contributions
Thanks to COVID, I surpassed my savings goal this year. Spending most of my 20’s being frivolous and carefree with money, I am proud of the discipline I have been able to show, and the system that has been put in place to put money aside regularly (Thanks, Barefoot Investor.)
In the year coming… I would like to hit a savings target! I would also like to make regular monthly contributions to a charity and learn more about investing. I would also like to start a savings account for Levon.
What didn’t go so well for me this year?
I didn’t make a great deal of progress with my phd and so as a result, feel quite behind with it. The shut down of the uni’s ethics portal and the impact of COVID didn’t help.
In the year coming… I would like hit some important milestones with the phd and make sure I am back up to speed with it.
I didn’t spend much time creating art this year and that disappoints me. I feel like it’s really something that does not get done unless I eke out specific time for it.
In the year coming… I would like to make a regular time to create art, both digitally and off the computer. I would also love to attend a Clay Sydney class, and a Sip and Sketch class too!
Diet & Fitness
Due to my pregnancy, as well as COVID, I wasn’t able to commit to my exercise regimen as well as I would’ve liked and was not particularly concerned with healthy eating. As a result, I don’t feel great in my skin right now and many of my favourite clothes don’t currently fit me.
In the year coming… I want to commit to 5 sessions of exercise per week, including one yoga class, one weights-based class, and one cardio class. I would also like to organise & meal plan, so that we can order less take-out and make more healthy meals each week. Oh, and stop drinking so much Coca Cola…
What did I learn this year?
If the worst could happen, so could the best.
Throughout my pregnancy, I spent a great deal of time worrying about the worst case scenario. This took a great deal of effort (was super draining) and also robbed me of enjoying my pregnancy. Turns out that Levon is complete fine, healthy and thriving. While I can forgive myself for being anxious given the circumstances (COVID and weird ultrasounds, etc.), I can now acknowledge that uncertainty does not always equal disaster, and that if I am making room to consider the worst case scenarios, I should also make room to consider the best – because sometimes the best comes true.
We can feel multiple things at once.
This year, I have done so much better at accepting that emotions aren’t the bad guy. I have given myself permission to feel what I feel, and not try to force myself into feeling differently or stop feeling. This has been a hard thing to learn, as it can be tricky to distinguish if you’re allowing yourself to feel your feelings in a healthy and constructive way, or instead wallowing in them and allowing them to rule you. I think daily reflective mindful practices (including meditation and journalling) have really helped with this. It’s one this to accept this conceptually, something totally new to actually learn to do it.
Some therapists just won’t be your person.
The psychologist that I was seeing earlier this year was not the right fit for me. I didn’t feel super comfortable sharing with her, and didn’t feel confident in the strategies she was suggesting. Doesn’t make her bad, doesn’t make me flakey/a quitter. I’ll have to practice what I preach here, and understand that finding a great therapist can take time and energy.
Cut yourself some slack.
Once upon a time, I would have given myself a flogging for all the ways I fell short this year – my weight gain, or lack of phd progress or for neglecting my art practice or failing to continue with my regular piano practice – however, I now know that that does little to help motivate me into the future, and instead, would simply damage the relationship I have with myself which I’ve worked so hard to nurture. 2020 has been a tough year and I’ve learned that you don’t have to do everything all the time. Sometimes it’s enough to tend to what’s important for you in the moment. This year, it was growing a baby and working to become a better friend, mum and psychologist – and I’m proud of my efforts all round.