by: E.B. Johnson
We are moving into another year, and with that comes the expectation of both change and improvement. That requires that we take some action, though, and make a mindful and concentrated effort to improve the things that held us back in 2020. Are you ready to make 2021 better than the last? Even as chaos continues to swirl, you can find happiness. You’re going to have to let go of some bad habits first, though, and commit to your right to thrive.
We can’t hold on if we want to move on.
This year was one that was filled with tension, chaos, and pain. As soon as we seemed to be on an upward trajectory, life often hurled us back down again. It was a challenging year and one that asked us to dig deep and re-discover the best of ourselves. Though we grew through this year, we look to the future with the expectation of smoother sailing and brighter shores. To get there, though, we need to let go of the negativity we adopted this year.
We can’t hold on to 2020 if we want the year ahead to be better. We need to let go of our fear and stop following bad friends and toxic partners to the edge of our sanity and happiness. All of us were pushed to the brink this year. It’s time to learn that there’s no time like the present to make the most of what we have and what we want. Let go of the pain and let go of the hesitation. It’s time to leap in the name of a future which is authentically yours.
The things you need to let go of in 2021.
We can’t go into 2021 holding on to all the negativity that’s been left in our hearts this year. It’s time for us to take some personal responsibility and build lives that are authentic and sustainable, but that’s first going to require us to let go of the toxic habits that held us down in 2020.
Did you waste a lot of time this year feeding into bad friendships? Consider your closest confidantes. When things went wrong this year, who was there for you? Who expected you to be there for them? Did you spend a lot of time on the phone, listening to everyone else’s problems (while no one asked you about your own)? This new year is a great time to stop feeding friendships that don’t feed your soul
We have all spent so much of our lives contributing to the wealth of heartless employers that continue to hurt us and the planet. It’s time for us to start making plans which allow us to each create our own wealth in 2021. Want to start a business? Have a great idea for an app? It’s time to go for it. Likewise, look for better ways to meet your needs by using brands which are kinder to the environment and more equitable with their employees. Shop local and black-made. Skip out on the big names (except where necessary).
Our society has become one that is obsessed with clout. It’s arguable that we’ve undone the very fabric of our own society, chasing “likes” and edgy posts on social media. In 2021, we need to focus on putting down the phone. We need to stop chasing likes on social media. It’s time to spend more time in the real world, and it’s time to fall in love with the real you (or become someone you can fall in love with).
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the turbulence of the American political cycle, this year had us glued to the news like never before. That’s not always a good thing, though. For the new year, we need to put the endless news cycles, political scandals, and the force-fed tickers on pause. They’re putting you on edge and they are detaching you from your humanity. Instead of feeding their fear, we have to get our hands dirty, get involved with our local communities, and get things fixed ourselves.
Toxic relationships have no place in our futures; especially not if we intend on being happy, fulfilled, and whole. No matter who the toxic person in your life might be, you need to shed them from your life if you truly intend on building a life that is centered around your joy. A life lived on our own terms is a powerful thing, and it can be ours in 2921. We first have to make room for fulfilling relationships and experiences, though.
This year was a scary one. From lockdowns to full-on riots, change was the theme of the year, and in that change was a lot of soul-shattering fear. While the year ahead doesn’t necessarily look more peaceful, we still have to find ways to rid ourselves of our fear. This fear holds us back, keeps us small, and prevents us from standing up for the future we’re trying to build. Improving our lives requires that we stop letting fear be the primary motivation and dictator of your life.
In the western world, we’re generally taught that we’re never quite good enough. We’re taught to loathe ourselves, and that gets reinforced through marketing messages and negative internal narratives that prevent us from building fulfilling lives. Holding on to all this self-loathing is getting us nowhere but broke and unhappy. It’s time to love who we are and embrace our right to a happier, more self-determined 2021.
How to do it.
Telling yourself you’ll get rid of these negative factors is one thing, doing it is another. Our lives don’t change if we don’t take action. If you’re really serious about making next year better than the last, then reconnect with your sense of self and commit to living in line with every aspect of your truth.
1. Enhance your sense of self
We all got a little lost this year, and we all found ourselves questioning who we are and what we want. If we had time for anything, it was reflection — and that’s a powerful thing at any stage in life. As the new year looms ahead, it looks like we’re going to get even more time to sit and think about who we really are. Now is the time to enhance your sense of self and get back to the core of your future aims and joy.
Reconnect with who you are on both a physical and emotional level. Who are you to the world? Who do you consider yourself to be right now in this moment? While we are always changing, we should also be seeking to become a better version of ourselves. Who do you want to be in 10 or 20 years? How do you want to feel about yourself?
Rebuild your self-confidence. You have to believe in yourself if you’re going to make changes in your life, and you have to believe in your right to thrive. Fall in love with whom you are and commit to creating a life that is both fulfilling and rewarding in whatever arena you decide to build it in. The more you believe in yourself, the easier it will become to adapt to the challenges life throws your way. The more you believe in yourself, the easier it will be to embrace change.
2. Figure out your authenticity
Authenticity is everything when it comes to building a life that is both joyful and fulfilling. We can find our happiness in someone else’s definition of what success looks like. We alone know what it takes to fill that sense of longing within us. We know what our happiness looks like, and we know what it wears. Instead of chasing everyone else’s expectations of us, we need to use 2021 to pursue our own hopes of life.
Who do you want to be? When you look back over your life, how do you want to remember yourself and the life you built? By the time it comes to the final finish line, you will be the only one standing there looking back over everything that was and the decisions that you made.
Figure out who you are and stand beside that person proudly in the new year. One of the most important lessons we could walk away with after 2020 it is that life can change in an instant. Stop waiting for someone else’s happiness and get serious about living in line with your own. Pinpoint your morals, your values, and everything that you want your life and your relationships to be. The time for the real you to thrive is now.
3. Build a support system
As humans, we are social creatures and we thrive on the deep and lasting connections which we make with others. It means a lot to have someone to talk to; someone who makes you laugh, or is able to improve your mood or belief in self. Support systems matter, and they can be invaluable when it comes to improving our lives throughout 2021.
Cultivate more loving, supportive friendships for yourself. Create a network of strong, confident individuals that you can rely on for trustworthy advice and compassionate care when things get challenging. Look for people who want the best for you and look for those who see you for who you really are.
Your life is within the realm of your control, and it comes with a limited amount of space in it. Rather that filling that space with people who hurt you and take advantage, fill that space with light and love. Put up walls between the toxic and build bridges between those people with whom you really connect on deeper, truly meaningful levels.
4. Invest in yourself
There will be a lot of people reading this who think things to themselves like, “How could I possibly create something that’s mine? How could I possibly learn to change my own life?” It all comes down to embracing your humanity and the core of what you are. We are all capable of learning, and we all have talents to offer the world. We have to invest in ourselves to learn and uncover these skills, though.
This year, make an investment in bettering yourself across the board. Boost your education through online classes. Find something that interests you and get a certification in it. Enhance your knowledge and unlock new avenues of opportunity for yourself.
Re-engage with your passions. Find new hobbies that allow you to connect with your joy. Look for new interests which drive you to discover more of the world and more of yourself. The more you invest in yourself, the more the world will want to invest in you. Once you know what you are worth, there’s almost no right door that won’t open to you.
5. Stop settling for unhappiness
At some point, we have to make the decision to create the life we want. We can keep listening to all the surrounding negativity, or we can decide to take action and go for it. Are you ready to stop settling for unhappiness? Are you ready to manifest the future that was always yours to begin with? The new year is a clean slate, and what better time could there be to seek self-determination?
Understand that life doesn’t always go the way you want it to. That doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness in it. Commit to seeing the silver lining in life. Commit to finding your joy even in the midst of uncertainty and change. This year taught us a lot of lessons, but it certainly taught us the beauty in the simple moments.
You can keep fighting against the chaos of the world, or you can accept it and incorporate it into your plan. How are you going to change the way you see things in 2021? Our emotions are within our control. We choose how we want to respond and how we want to react to any given situation. Are you going to remain afraid and unsettled? Or are you going to reach for your joy no matter what comes next? The choice is yours and yours alone.
Putting it all together…
We are coming to the end of another year and looking ahead (perhaps more than usual) to the start of a new year. 2021 seems filled with possibility, and it is. In order to take advantage of those opportunities, though, we’re going to have to shed the negative things that held us back in 2020 and get committed to making a life we value and adore.
Enhance your sense of self and find effective ways to rebuild your self-esteem. The more you believe in yourself, the easier it will be to stand up for your boundaries and the things you want in this life. Figure out your authenticity and build a life that aligns with your values and your morals. Build a support system you can rely on and fill it with people you can trust; people who want the best of you and who see the best in you. Invest in yourself. Want to start a business or take charge of your life? Learn how to do it and make a bet on your ability to thrive. Stop settling for unhappiness and commit to making 2021 a better year than 2020 ever was.