Ask a Therapist: On 2020 Hindsight
Q: How do I reflect on the past year in a way that will help me move forward in the new year?
A: I’m sure that most of us can’t wait to let the challenges, losses, and isolation of 2020 disappear in the rearview mirror! But, one thing we can say is that, somehow, we made it through! And, if we want to have a clear sense of direction for 2021, it’s important not to dismiss 2020 outright – at least not just yet!
In order to find your way to a particular destination you must first get your bearings and understand your starting point. So, learning to navigate our way into 2021 requires reflecting productively on and reviewing where we have been in 2020 as an important first step.
Before you set goals or intentions for the new year, take some time to answer the following questions independently in a journal. Don’t rush the process. Sit with your responses and add to them as more thoughts come to mind over the next week or two. There is value in percolating for a while to really mine the depths of your experience and current mindset. It may help to scroll through your calendar or your photos to recall highlights and challenges from this past year.
- What surprises were a part of your experience in 2020?
- What did you find the most difficult in the last 12 months?
- What lessons did you learn this year that you want to carry forward?
- What is one thing you determine to leave behind in 2020?
- What habits or wisdom do you want to stay with you in the new year?
- In what ways do you feel you have grown through your lived experience in 2020?*
Once you have completed this journaling exercise, consider gathering a group of trusted friends to talk through your reflections or book an appointment with your therapist to further explore and expand on your learning and to begin to envision next steps for your new year. You will find that making space for productive thinking and reflection is an excellent tool to find meaning and hope for all that 2021 might bring.
After all, hindsight is 2020.
*Note: The questions above are adapted from Mel Robbins’ online workshop series available to download for FREE at melrobbins.com/incredibleyear. If you are looking for a great resource to start the year off with intention, this one is an excellent choice.
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