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Exercise, Health, Lifestyle

2020 Reflection and Looking Ahead

Reflection on the past year

Another reflection post…(I know there are a million of these right now.) I want to write this post because I feel that emotionally, mentally, and physically I am in a different place than I was last year.

“End of year reflection” be it a social media post, journal entry, or podcast episode, remains a popular practice, because it is a healthy exercise to reflect on the person you were last year, what you are proud of accomplishing, and what you are hopeful to accomplish in the upcoming year.

I remember last year thinking about 2020 and saying to myself: This is my year. Health wise, career wise, self-growth etc. Obviously naive little me had no idea there would be a global pandemic, which would lead to doubt, uncertainty and…staying at home doing nothing. My relationships became strained, I was stressed, confused and scared for the future. Despite last year being particularly difficult, I was endlessly grateful for my health, family, and a roof over my head. Truly, I think one of the biggest lessons that came out of 2020 for me was gratitude, and appreciating the little things in life that you tend to take for granted with the “go, go, go” mindset.

How have I changed?

One of the biggest shifts I have noticed in myself (one I believe is positive) would be I am less of a control freak. I try to live day by day and just let things unfold instead of knowing how everything will ultimately work out. This is one big metaphor for 2020- I thought it would be on way, and it ended up being a completely different way. And that is okay! I think part of my need to always control stemmed from my OCD in high school, especially when it began to spiral out of control. Back in those days, my OCD was a way for me to control the world around me, and it got worse when I felt uncertain and anxious. No one could have predicted a sweeping pandemic and it has dramatically changed our everyday lives. There is little we can do about it either, but we must try to think positively and take care of ourselves and the people around us in the best way we can. The lesson behind this is that I have to do my best, but I can’t control everything anymore. Control used to mean everything for me, and without it I didn’t feel like myself. Control meant locking the doors every night, checking several times for it to be “okay” – meaning I could sleep. Even if this took hours, it had to be done. Another major one was food and exercise. Exercise – hard- every single day no excuses. Sweat, blood, tears-that was the best kind of workout. Food- only eat if you “deserve” it meaning you worked out, or exercised a lot that day, or you had extra calories to fulfill. Do not eat gluten, red meat, avoid high sugar foods and processed foods. Meals were better prepared by yourself and you should rarely eat out. So many rules, constantly infiltrating my brain…like a little voice I could not seem to get rid of. So focused on my weight, scared to weigh myself because I didn’t want to see any pounds added.

Me now: I still am active every day – but I do lesser intense workouts. I have grown to love the beauty of Pilates- focusing intently on my core while breathing even and controlled. Pilates strengthens and lengthens your body with lower impact. That slow burn for my muscle fibers that I didn’t even know I could ever feel. All I knew was pain, breathing heavy, red-faced, dumbbells smacking on the floor. This has all shifted for me. Good movement is movement where you show your body love. Movement is beautiful and can be elegant. Movement should feel good and leave you feeling relaxed and at-peace. Loving your body, instead of criticizing it. I still aim to get in a few challenging workouts 1-2 times a week but every single day? Food: I don’t stress about it as much as I used to. If I have something unhealthy and it tastes delicious, I enjoy it and do not beat myself up anymore. Eating healthy makes me feel amazing- smoothies, salads, juices – but I do not consume these items because they are low in calorie and fit into my diet plan. I consume them because I make them taste delicious, and I know they are nourishing me- helping with my skin, hair, nails and the way I feel.

Here are things I want to let go of, as well as my intentions for 2021. I wrote these down in my journal recently, and this is a beautiful exercise that I recommend writing down physically on pen and paper before doing it on your phone. I hope they inspire you and give you some items to think about for yourself as well!

Let Go Of

  • Needing things to always go my way
  • Putting my needs in front of others too often
  • Acting spoiled
  • Taking my life for granted
  • Putting pressure on myself to be better all of the time

Intentions

  1. Love myself and appreciate who I am
  2. Love the people around me, and tell them
  3. Be limber and flexible in my mindsed towards career
  4. Be proud of how far I’ve come
  5. Be a supportive person to those around me

Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.

robert braathe

Let me know what you think!