2020 Reflections / 2021 Resolution Tips

2020 Reflections / 2021 Resolution Tips

By Michelle Wu

2020 Reflections / 2021 Resolution Tips

Last year was weird; there is no other way to describe it.

Every year around this time, I reflect on the previous year to realign myself and squash any bad energy I don't want to bring into the new year. However, in 2020, I think many of you might agree; it did not seem real. When I start to remember what happened, it feels like trying to describe a weird fever dream.

Much of my adult life was spent orchestrating things to make sense; 2020 was the year I had to learn to let go and embrace the unknown. I still remember the panic in March when the first case was reported in New York and the toilet paper hoarding memes began to circulate. From there, it just got worse.

There were many times when I felt let down by humanity this year. Covid and climate change deniers, racial inequality, the growing wealth gap, it all seemed to come to a head, and I felt hopeless. As I watched Breonna Taylor's murderers walk free, I couldn't help but wonder if things would ever get better. Like many of you, my personal life suffered as well. Tensions were high, and spending too much time together indoors is not the right combination. 

At Earthlings, we kept busy making masks at first. Friends and advisors kept telling me that I needed to post more on Instagram. When I would go to post, I thought, "Was I going to try to peddle stuff while people were dying and losing their jobs??" I grappled with this every day. 

In the end, I decided to take this time to reflect on our ethos and what is important in life. So you could say that the whole year has been a long period of reflection for me. I learned many things, and of them, the most important thing is that life is short and unpredictable for better or for worse. For 2021 my resolution is to shift my mindset towards gratitude and compassion.  Things may not be perfect but they feel hopeful. 

If you're in the process of writing your New Years resolutions, we made a little guide below that might help you. We hope that you are full of hope and light and your family is safe and healthy. 
Start with intention. I think many resolutions don't come to fruition because they might not align with what you want at the core. Before you start to list off a bunch of wishes, it's essential to think about why they are wishes in the first place. A common resolution is weight loss, but what's the intention behind it? Perhaps you want to feel healthier, or maybe you don't feel good about yourself, and weight loss seems like the solution. If this is the case, it might be a self-esteem boost your need. Regardless of whatever it is, start with the "why," and chances are it'll be easy to stick to it, and the results will be truly satisfying.
Focus on the journey. Like most things in life, if you focus on the destination instead of the journey, you will be miserable. When working on your goal, try to stay present instead of focusing only on the future. The impatience will eventually turn into resentment towards your goal, and before long, you might give up on the whole thing. Instead, try to live in the moment with gratitude. For example, if you're trying to lose weight, shift your focus on exercise enjoyment and eating more natural things. I know it's easier said than done; however, it becomes more comfortable with time if you practice this mental shift. 
Love and Trust yourself. The relationship you have with yourself is a lifelong romance that takes work. So much of our daily lives are about rushing through things that we forget to nurture ourselves, and as Rue Paul says, "If you don't love yourself, how the hell are you suppose to love anybody else." Take the time to love, accept, believe, and care for yourself and remember who you are this year. You'll be able to know what you want, draw the boundaries you need, and live a fulfilling life. This could mean taking the time to journal or perhaps go after the career you never thought you could have.
Practice compassion. I urge everyone to include something in their resolutions that gives them a different perspective on life. Whether it's volunteering, or making new friends different from you, to truly be happy, you need compassion for others that only perspective can bring. Compassion opens up our world to the beauty of being human. A compassionate person's world is less lonely because it's filled with the love of others. 
**Photo by  Ahmet Sali