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Despite all of the happenings in 2020, I managed to make it out unscathed… I’m incredibly thankful I was one of the lucky ones. I’m writing a little self-reflection post on how I felt myself in the past year and coming out of it.

A time for gratitude

A couple things I’m 100% thankful for in 2020…

  1. Having my financial sources intact – a lot of people have struggled through COVID, suffering from job loss. My company had a ton of lay-off rounds during the spring and summer of COVID. Thankfully I was able to prove myself useful!
  2. Maintained my health and fitness levels – at least at the beginning! I was really fit before COVID started. I danced every night and did workouts in between. After social dancing was cancelled it was harder to motivate myself to do workouts alone all the time.
  3. Staying in a productive state of mind – being at home all the time, it’s probably easy to succumb to the bad habits we fall into. Right before 2020 began I finished reading a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. I have to say, it’s helped me a lot with staying the course.
  4. Meeting my partner in the summer – I was single for a while before the pandemic. I even got out of a pretty toxic relationship right as COVID hit mid-March. I was lucky to meet someone mid-July who is good for me, and who I’ve been able to self-isolate with. Super thankful it helped curb any side effects of feeling more isolated than usual.
  5. Remote hangouts – some of my friends probably wouldn’t want to do Zoom hangouts. But I have friends who enjoy a good phone call or video call every now and then. I’m extremely lucky to have friends who accept this mode of socializing in this day and age. Many people are averse to phone calls in general.

Working out personal weaknesses in 2020

Since COVID has begun, I think we all had to sit alone, bored, and self-reflect a little bit about ourselves. For me, I’ve been trying to make it a goal to tackle some of my personal weaknesses. Here are some of the ones I discovered. I’m trying to come up with actionable things to move them along… in no way am I close to absolving any or all of these. But working on them is more progress than not! 🙂

  1. Feeling self-doubt, lack of accomplishment, and ultimate lack of self-confidence. I listed a few things I did this past year that I was proud of. I also listed a number of things that I know I’m good at doing, and to do more of it as often as I can. It’s important to be practising the things you’re good at to gain self-confidence from it.
  2. Not having enough time to do things I want to do – saying no is hard for me. Especially when I know it’s to something that someone wants help with. But this whole year I’ve made it a goal to just say no the second I have a doubt. Sometimes the people-pleaser in my trickles through, but I think I’ve been pretty good at it so far.
  3. Expecting too much of others – and this probably stems from expecting too much from myself. When I get closer to people I get disappointed easily when they don’t match the standards I have for myself. But those kinds of standards are unrealistic, even for myself.
  4. Lacking focus – finding meaning in the things I do was a huge barrier to getting focused work done. This has been a problem for a really long time. I’m happy to say that I can now achieve the flow state needed to accomplish hours of good work. Part of it is allowing myself to be playful and creative with zero expectations for outcomes. I used to need a reason for why I was doing one particular task. Now I know creative expression is just a must-have in life. I just know that I have to do it, and there’s no arguing myself out of it.

Micro-goals moving forward

I’ve made goal-setting schedules and have a detailed 5-year plan. But what I’m enjoying about how I’m approaching it lately is how manageable I’ve made them for myself. With all of the stress everyone’s had in the past year it’s good to cut ourselves some slack and create micro-goals for ourselves. Not saying don’t shoot for the stars, but the way we get there is through baby steps (aka micro-goals).

Financial goals:

  • Invest a specific amount of money into my RRSP by the end of 2021
  • Pay a specific amount of money into my mortgage by the end of 2021

Career goals:

  • Start an Employee Resource Group for BIPOC at my company – this is kind of a big one but I’ll be happy if even a handful of people join the first meeting. Or even if the CEO approves of starting one at our organization
  • Complete 5 courses in my field of tech and design (last year I finished two short courses and 2 intensive courses)
  • Complete 5 side hustle gigs before end-of-year (I’m at my 3rd this month! I did 3 and one big one last year)
  • Do a market analysis and create a digital product (figure out how to advertise it later)

Personal goals:

  • Read 15 books this year (I made it to 14 last year! So let’s just make sure I at least hit the same amount this year). Make at least 70% of them be educational on ways individuals can help deconstruct the racist system we live in
  • Think of the next city you want to move to – I won’t move any time soon but I want to have a plan!
  • Write a blog post once a month (lol)
  • Dance. Whenever I can. Doesn’t have to be bachata or salsa, I just need to get it out of my system! 😛

Remaining hopeful helps

The world events these days are bleaker than ever. But I think it helps to be hopeful and focus on staying the course with yourself. I have better hopes for the now even-more-divided America since Biden starting. I have hopes for coming up with better ways to deconstruct our racist systems. A colleague told me recently that there is only one direction to go, that there’s always a new day.

There does need to be more ways for individuals such as myself to help make a difference. I’m trying to make sure I show up with my best self before all else.