“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” – Edith Lovejoy Pierce
There are many ways to set intentions for a new year. Some people write resolutions. Some visualize the year ahead, maybe creating a vision board. Some pick a guiding word for the year. I choose guiding words and also write resolutions.
Yesterday, I listened to the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, Episode 304. Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth Craft reviewed their “20 for 2020” lists, which included 20 things they had wanted to do in 2020. As Elizabeth says, “Covid definitely blew up my list.” Gretchen recommends we “cut ourselves some slack” and give ourselves credit for what we did do. They are both creating “21 for 2021” lists. I agree with them that it is worthwhile to look back on our intentions for last year, even if we didn’t meet our expectations, before we set intentions for 2021.
I’m sure most people will be happy to see 2020 behind us. I chose two guiding words for 2020: tranquility and hygge. I may not have achieved tranquility in this difficult year, but I sought it throughout the year. Hygge, as you may know, is a Danish word that Oxford Languages defines as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” I definitely had a hygge year. I’ve spent time being comfortable at home, and I enjoy a walk out in nature daily. I wear jeans and fleece jackets all day. In the evenings, my husband and I relax in the family room. I wear crocheted slippers and wrap myself in a hand-knitted afghan while working puzzles, reading, or watching TV.
It’ll be awhile until we all get back to ordinary life and can go places without masks. I fear this winter may be the hardest part of the pandemic for many of us. We still need to avoid people, daylight is scant, and it’s cold where many of us live. We are weary of the pandemic. But let’s keep staying safe and keep those around us safe. There are reasons for hope. Let’s hope the pandemic situation will improve in 2021, maybe as the weather gets warmer and more people get vaccinated.
But will 2021 be better in other ways? In large part, that is up to us. Will we try to understand viewpoints that are different from ours? Have our tough times given us empathy for others going through tough times, like those who have lost jobs or loved ones, or anyone whose life is a struggle? I hope our difficult 2020 will spur us on in 2021 to use our talents to make the world a better place, which is part of the Women Making Strides mission.
I will still seek tranquility and hygge in 2021, but they won’t be driving forces. I am already thinking about what I want to get done before the pandemic ends. When medical authorities say it is safe to be with friends and relatives, I will want to make up for lost time, socializing and going out to restaurants and shows. I will want to travel with my husband. But most of all, in 2021, I want to focus on my goals. Focus on writing, focus on fitness. I have a lot of interests, and I am easily distracted. I can’t succeed at writing if I spend too much time reading emails, surfing the Internet, checking Facebook, and reading books. These are all good activities, if done in moderation. As we writers say, I need to “sit butt in chair and write.”
That may sound easy, but it takes courage to be a writer. When you write for publication, you may get harsh comments during the critiquing process and even after your work is published. Sometimes the comments aren’t meant to be hurtful, but that is how a sensitive writer (like me) perceives them. I want to develop a thicker skin and not let criticism stop me from writing. I need courage to sit down and write, to let others critique my work, and to send my words into the world for people to read. So my guiding words for 2021 are “Focus With Courage.” Do you have a guiding word or phrase for 2021?
Not everyone sees 2020 as having been a tough year. I’ve heard some women describe their 2020 with only positive words. Whether your 2020 was rough or not, I wish you a better 2021. I wish you a Happy New Year.
How do you feel as 2020 ends and a new year begins? Will you set intentions for 2021? If so, what method will you use?