New year, new chapter?
I dunno…so far, 2021 feels very much like an extension of 2020. With the way January’s been unfolding, it doesn’t seem like we’re getting off this rollercoaster anytime soon!
That being said, it does feel like a ‘fresh start’ for me in many respects and I’m capitalizing on that where I can.
At the start of every year, I try to set the tone for the year by creating intentions for myself. These intentions are normally a reflection of what worked and what didn’t work in the previous year (you can read my 2020 intentions here). I usually do this sooner, but not surprisingly, it’s been a slooooowww start to 2021. Let’s just call it a hangover from 2020.
Recap of 2020
All things considered, 2020 wasn’t a horrible year for me. It started off well, with local trips to Mont-Tremblant and Kingston. It took a drastic turn for the worse with my ectopic pregnancy in February, followed quickly by the pandemic and lockdown in March. Despite the uncertainty, the early days of lockdown weren’t all that bad. I ate my feelings (both pandemic and pregnancy-loss related) and drank LOTS of wine! Virtual wine dates on Zoom became a thing. My passion for cooking flourished and I spent my days creating and sharing recipes. Then, the killings of George Floyd & Breonna Taylor sent shock waves throughout the world and caused a collective awakening to the realities that Black people have been facing for centuries. We paused for reflection and used our platforms for social activism, awareness, and to amplify the voices of BIPOC. Sprinkled throughout the year, we saw glimmers of hope. COVID case counts lowered, and we traveled locally. I was lucky to have a staycation, go to Prince Edward County, and go on a girl’s trip to Bruce Peninsula. But months of eating my feelings and drinking wine eventually caught up with me. In August, I was diagnosed with gout and suffered through some pretty intense flare-ups and chronic joint pain. Then came the craziest elections the world has ever seen. Again, we all spent hours glued to the news and on social media doomscrolling. The result, positive. But baseless claims of election fraud would cause effects lasting to the present day. In December, COVID vaccines were approved. A path to normalcy was at least in sight, but not before case counts began to skyrocket. Christmas holidays came and looked unlike any other year (well, if you followed the rules and didn’t gather).
There was a lot of good that came out of 2020. Lockdown actually improved my relationship with my husband and brought us closer. We did a major patio makeover. It was the best year financially for my business. And I became a stronger and more resilient person.
But on the other hand, many things suffered, like my mental and physical health. My fitness routine went out the window. My diet and body deteriorated. I worked harder and longer hours in 2020 than in any previous year in this or any other career, including as a lawyer. Looking back to my intentions for 2020, the 2 major things I failed at were de-stressing & taking better care of myself. In fact, I went in the opposite direction.
2021: The Road to Recovery
My biggest lesson from 2020 was that I have to take recovery, healing, and health into my own hands. The extent to which I allow external factors bog me down is within my control. With that said, these are my intentions for 2021.
1. Re-Balance My Priorities
In 2020, I let work, the pandemic, social media, and world events absolutely and completely consume my life. For 2021, I’m getting my quality of life back. Regardless of what is happening in the world or how busy work gets, health and well-being must come first.
Work to live, not the other way around. Even though I already knew this, in 2020, it didn’t stop me from losing a piece of myself and my identity. Over time, I began to equate my value to my work – how much I achieved, how busy I was, how much money I made.
This quote from Disney Pixar’s Soul really resonated with me:
Lost souls are not that different from those in the zone. The zone is enjoyable but when that joy becomes an obsession it becomes disconnected from life.
As did this one:
Lost souls are obsessed by something that disconnects them from life.
This year, I’m getting back to things that fill my cup – relationships, the outdoors, music, and hopefully travel.
2. Get Back to Good Habits
The key to success begins with good habits. When I started blogging full-time, I became productive once I had a regular routine. At my best, my morning routine would involve waking up by 5:30 a.m., working out, walking & feeding Douglas, showering and ‘reporting to work’ at my desk all before 9:30 a.m. I want to get back to this.
TBH, it’s not the waking up part that I have trouble with; it’s knowing when to cut it off. So, another good habit I hope to develop is setting better boundaries with work. No more biting off more than I can chew.
3. Break Up with Bad Habits
In terms of bad habits, this year I plan to break up with sweats. In 2020, I lived in them (I mean, we all did). But it got to the point where all I could fit into were leggings, sweatpants and oversized sweaters. My mantra for this year is: sweats are a bridge, not a crutch.
Wanna know what else I’m breaking up with? Uber Eats.
I’m ashamed to admit that I spent a mini fortune on Uber Eats and all the other delivery apps last year. I would order lunches multiple days in a row. I’ve even ordered one single coffee from Uber Eats on multiple occasions, just because I ran out of milk and was too lazy or busy to walk to a nearby coffee shop. I mean, when it’s all said and done with the taxes, tip, service fees, delivery fees (in my case, small order fees), Uber Eats is highway robbery.
I set a goal for January to not order from any delivery app. So far, so good. I plan to meet this goal, and let’s see how long I can keep it up for.
4. Sit Less, Exercise More
So, sitting may not exactly be the new smoking, but there’s no doubt that doing it for long periods is not good for you (and take my word for it, can change the shape of your butt). Sitting all throughout 2020 got me into such a rut, made me gain weight, and turned me into a sedentary person. That’s not who I am, nor who I want to be. This year, I plan to get up off my butt a whole lot more – take breaks, go for more walks, and EXERCISE.
In the short-term, I’ve turned this into a digestible goal of working out 3-5 times per week for January. 2 weeks in, and it’s going really well! My hope is that by the end of the month, it will become a long-lasting habit – a habit I don’t intend to break again.
5. Nourish My Body
In 2020, I gave myself a free pass when it came to my diet. That included binge eating, eating junk food, drinking wine every day for 3 months straight (yes, I actually did this at the beginning of lockdown), and overall making poor food choices.
My biggest wake-up call was my diagnosis with gout. It was definitely a sign to clean up my act. It took about 3-4 months, but I was able to get my gout under control through diet and lifestyle changes, without the need for medication. I’ve now not had a gout flare-up in the last 2 months.
My situation could have been a lot worse. There is no cure for gout, so it’s something I will have to be mindful of for the rest of my life.
This year, I’m committing to changing my relationship with food. No fad diets. No more binge-restrict cycle. I’m focusing on better nutrition, a balanced-diet (which can mean the occasional ‘treat’), whole foods, fruits and veggies, leafy greens, and taking the right vitamins and supplements. Less junk food, less processed food, not a lot of meat, alcohol in moderation. And more meal prep, so I don’t make hasty food decisions.
6. Nourish My Mind
The internet can be a pretty toxic place. If there was ever a year that taught us we need boundaries for social media, it was 2020. While I like using Twitter and my Google feed as news sources, it’s very easy to get sucked in. This year, I’ll keep myself informed, but I plan to keep doomscrolling to a minimum. I also plan to find alternative and more uplifting sources of information, entertainment, and resources.
What are your intentions for 2021? Feel free to share them below!
Photography by: Laura Clarke Photography