A lot of us have had our dreams crushed in 2020. As of this date, I am currently waiting for my third Covid-19 test today. The first two tests were because of exposure and this one is because of some symptoms. At first, my 2020 goals and dreams were first put on pause, then completely trashed.
So what do we do with a new year that’s right around the corner? Is it worth planning anything? My answer is, “Of course it is!” I believe we have a loving God who knows and directs all things. This is no surprise to him. I believe that he will help us take our next steps if we will align ourselves in a way that he can speak to us and we can hear. We also have two vaccines that are being distributed as we speak. While we will still have Covid-19 with us, I believe the end of the pandemic is going to be in 2021. This is our opportunity to gain new footing.
The larger question however is, “Now that the trainwreck of 2020 is almost over, how should I think about 2021?” My humble suggestion is to make 2021 a reset year. By “reset” I’m not referring to making some adjustments or being more careful or being more daring and adapting to move along. What I’m suggesting is more in line with resetting a timer or stopwatch. When a race or an event is over, you “reset” the timer for another event. As long as you are using the same setting, even if you have moved to lap settings, it’s still the same race. Use 2021 as a time to start a new race, don’t try to rerun 2020 or try to fix 2020. Just do a reset. This is the way.
1. Make peace with the disappointments and losses of 2020.
There is a difference between starting over and recouping from the losses of the past. The difference is when you start over, you start over. You stop carrying the losses and disappointments of the past. Your focus is forward. Some great words from Scripture by the Apostle Paul give us instruction, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13, ESV). The apostle could have gotten all caught up in his past failures and regrets, but he knew that would not help him get to where he wanted to go. The same is true for us.
2. Believe that your tomorrows don’t have to be like your yesterdays.
Contrary to some, people really do change and so do the times. A crisis is both danger and opportunity. You were made to grow and all growth involves change. You were made to thrive. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
3. Distinguish between having to reset and choosing to reset.
Many, like me, were forced into a position of having to do something different. I loved my ministry job. Some told me just before “the downsize” they believed I had found my true calling. Well, apparently not. But that’s okay. I may have had my true calling for that time period and now I get to find another. If I don’t choose to be proactive and positive in this, I will not make it to the next great opportunity. Sure, I was happy doing what I was doing. I became good at it. But I can also be happy and good at doing something else as well. We have a choice in this.
4. Discover what you are really passionate about and what you do really well and find a way for them to work together.
Sometimes this is hard because we compartmentalize our lives. We have our recreation and separate from that is work and separate from that is a hobby. We also don’t have someone who can help us navigate the issues and ask the right questions. Hire a coach. Even if you only hire them for a few sessions, it will be worth the investment. You won’t regret it.
5. Make a holistic evaluation of your immediate and future needs.
There are times when everyone needs to take a step back and look at their life and their circumstances and make an evaluation of where they are and align that with what they need.
A great tool to use in this is the TRAC Report. Based on research and decades of use, TRAC comprises four core need areas, each representing a major segment of one’s personal development—Trajectory, Replenishment, Awareness, and Choices. These four areas act as guardrails that keep our lives on track and serve to nourish sustainability as we seek to run the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2).
You can take advantage of TRAC Report, for $49.99. This price also includes a one time online coaching session where I will go over your TRAC Report and support your discovery of your next steps.
6. Create new goals with a strategy to get there.
Dream, but dream with purpose. Don’t settle for the same old tired goals that you won’t keep anyway. You know what I’m talking about. All the “I should do this” and “I should do that” goals. These are guilt goals like “I should eat better.” Well, we all should eat better. So what! Create a new goal, one that is inspiring, one that will make you jump out of bed in the morning. But the key is to have a strategy. A strategy is very simple. It is first, knowing where you want to be; second, knowing where you are; third,knowing how you are going to get there and last, knowing when you have arrived. Again, a personal development or leadership coach is perfect to help with this.
7. Take good care of yourself.
There is no one else who knows what you need better than you. Listen to your body when it is talking to you. I’ve been horrible at this and paid the price. Rest when you are tired. Budget and make time for fun. Live in balance. No one will take better care of you than you. A car will end up on the scrap heap without regular maintenance. So will you. You are not that special. Get plenty of sleep. Practice spiritual disciplines. Learn new things. Wear good shoes. This is the way.
8. Surround yourself with a good support network.
I’m talking about friends and family. They are the ones you can count on and unload on. These are people you can call at 2:00 AM to go check on your house when you are out of town and your home alarm goes off. Friendship is a two way street. It takes time and sacrifice for it but there is no substitute for friends and family.
9. Be an active part of a faith community.
Talk about a support network! Your church or faith community is crucial to your success in 2021. We are made of body, soul and spirit. Don’t ignore the soul and spirit. Important character traits come from living in a faith community. We learn faith and grow in hope. We develop resilience. What one thing could you do to better connect to a faith community?
10. Don’t give up.
It’s not going to be easy. It’s important to have inspirational expectations, but they should also be sustainable. However, what’s worth doing is likely going to go against the flow. Swimming against the current is harder but if floating with the current sends you over a waterfall, then swim you must. You will obtain a reward. For one thing, you will grow as a person. You will become a better and stronger person, no matter what else happens. But hear me on this. Better things will happen. Just don’t stop. Sometimes we have to change direction or methods or plans, but that is not stopping, that is being smart. Situations change and we must be able to change and adapt with them.
As you look over these ten suggestions for resetting 2021, what stands out to you? Where is your greatest challenge? Who could help you with that? And finally, what is one step you can take right now that would move you closer to truly making 2021 a restart year for you?
For more info on TRAC
To request the $49.99 TRAC Report including Coaching Session