Whether you’re happy to wave off this year or want to slam the door in its face, 2020 has been quite the year. Even with all the uncertainty, the worry, the upset and the challenges, what can we take from this year, what can we learn about ourselves that suggests this year wasn’t a total bust?
In this episode we look at:
Pressing Pause Podcast episode 75 How to find gold dust in the mud pit that was 2020
Welcome to Pressing Pause. I’m Gabrielle Treanor, a coach and writer, and I’m here to share with you ideas, inspiration and actions to empower you to overcome your overwhelm so you can feel calm, confident and in control.
Hello and welcome to episode 75.
So, who’s ready to wave off this year, or perhaps slam the door in its face? 2020 has been the most unexpected, unplanned, unusual, the most testing and most extraordinary year that most of us have probably ever faced! So it’s not at all surprising that you may be counting down the days until 2020 is over.
You might be thinking that this year has been so difficult, full of so many challenges you could never have anticipated, that it’s just been a terrible year you want to erase from memory. Whether you’ve been ill yourself, lost loved ones or your livelihood, cancelled family celebrations, had to figure out how to help your kids with their schoolwork for months on end, negotiated food shopping with masks, social distancing and repeated hand washing, or ached for not being able to be with your friends and family, this year has been a trial for us all.
So I get that you want to throw out this year and forget it ever happened. Maybe you’re itching to get planning for 2021 or perhaps you can’t see how to plan ahead when we still don’t know what the coming months will be like.
But before you write off this year as a total bust there are a few things I’d love you to consider first.
In amongst the stress and the uncertainty and the sadness there’s something you can take from it all. It could be that you’ve discovered you had hidden talents you were completely unaware of like how to make a tasty sourdough loaf or making maths fun for your eight-year-old. Or it might be that you’re so much stronger than you thought because you’ve dealt with more difficulties than you thought imaginable and you’ve come out the other side.
Perhaps you’ve learned more about yourself, your needs and your dreams, or about those around you. Have you surprised yourself? Has more time at home give you new clarity on how you’ve been going about life?
Before you condemn this year and go charging on into the next, there’s value in taking a little time to reflect over the past 12 months. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that while it’s always valuable to reflect on a year before you plan for the next, I think it’s even more valuable this year. Because of how extraordinary a year it has been. Because of all the upset and the challenges and the world being turned upside down and pulled inside out. Because you might find gold dust hidden in the mud of this year.
I have some suggestions for how you can go about reflecting on 2020 and the very first is to take what you find useful from what I suggest and leave what doesn’t. You know you and you know just how difficult this year may have been for you. Looking back on 2020 can be challenging in itself so go gently, be kind to yourself and ask for help if it brings up thoughts and feelings that you want or need support with.
And, because we may have all been thrown in the same pandemic storm this year but we are not all in the same boat, if you’re feeling guilty because your year hasn’t been that challenging and perhaps you’ve liked being at home so much, please give yourself permission to drop the guilt and to reflect on what you can learn from this year too.
Okay, so there’s no specific time that you need to do your year’s reflection or have it done by. The whole idea of this is for your benefit, to be of use to you so making it into something that feels onerous and becomes yet another obligation on your to do list is definitely not the point. You might want to do it before Christmas, or in that space between Christmas and new year, or maybe at the start of 2021. You decide when you want to reflect back on this year, whenever feels right to you is right for you.
Ideally you don’t want to have to rush this. It needn’t take hours, maybe less than one, you’re going to get more out of reflecting on the year if you give yourself some time and space to be able to look back on the last 12 months. You could schedule a block of time in your diary just like it’s any other appointment. Make sure whoever’s in your home knows that you need this time undisturbed and do what you can to see they’re occupied and won’t disturb you if at all possible! Switch off distractions like your email pinging and put your phone on airplane mode so you can look back through your calendar or photos to jog your memory without getting sucked into scrolling on social media.
Get yourself comfy and cosy, perhaps with a cuppa and a plate of something you like. If you want to be able to refer back to your reflections or add to them later think about what you’re going to write in. You’re more likely to keep hold of a notebook than a few pieces of loose paper or maybe you’re more comfortable typing into a document on your computer. For something like this I prefer writing by hand but whatever you’re happiest doing is what’s right for you.
Remember that your reflections on the past year are for you. You don’t have to show them to anyone else if you don’t want to. If you’d like to reflect together with your partner or perhaps share your reflections with a friend to get their perspective then do that if it feels good! It’s your choice, you can keep this completely to yourself if that’s what you want to do.
To just starting writing about the year can be quite cathartic, and it can be quite daunting if you don’t know where to start. I find posing yourself questions and then writing your answers can be a great way to give your reflections some focus and to help you widen and deepen your exploration of the past months.
So, I have written 15 reflective journaling questions and you can use some of them or all of, however many feel interesting and useful to you. I’ll read them out here but in case you can’t jot them all down they’re in the transcript on the episode page and I’m including them in my newsletter this week. If you don’t already get my emails you can go to gabrielletreanor.com/joinme and sign up there. You’ll also get my free guide to overcoming overwhelm and if you decide you don’t want to hear from me again you can unsubscribe any time.
Okay, here are 15 questions to help you to reflect on the past year:
Now you don’t have to work through all 15 questions if you don’t want to, it’s entirely up to you and what you find helpful. Remember this isn’t a chore that you have to do. You decide if you want to reflect on 2020 at all and how reflective you get is your choice.
As I said, if you didn’t catch all the questions they’re in the transcript and I’m including them in this week’s newsletter which you can sign up to receive at gabrielletreanor.com/joinme. Plus you’ll get my free overwhelm guide too.
2020 has been a shocker of a year and it’s given us an insight into ourselves, how we’ve been going about our lives and how we feel about it all. This can be an opportunity for you to look at what you can take from the past 12 months, what you want to leave behind and what changes you might want to make going into the next year.
If you want to talk with me about one to one coaching support to address what’s coming up in your reflections and how you want to feel and be going forwards, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or find all the info on my site at gabrielletreanor.com/coaching.
Thanks for listening, until next time, lovely people.
Throughout this website and my work when I refer to women I include people identifying as women.
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