Don’t you just want to get it over with?

I’m talking about 2020, of course. 

Because I’m working on improving how I talk to myself, I’ve been increasingly noticing other people’s choice of words around what happened so far this year.

“I can’t wait for this year to be over.”
“I’m so done with this year…”

For reasons that don’t need rehashing, 2020 will forever go down in (personal) history as a tangled ball of uncertainty, fear, loss, confusion, but also rethinking life choices, strengthening important bonds, and making room for better things. Quantities may differ.

I bet many would like to fast forward to the end, to New Year’s eve, to when the world can shake off an overwhelming 366 days (leap year nonetheless!) and settle into a smoother path.  

The problem with that expectation is that it sets you up for disappointment. December 31st and January 1st are just dates on a calendar. And these dates don’t necessarily match your internal one. Sure, you can use the end of the year as an opportunity to reflect, plan, and feel renewed, but, truth be told, that threshold doesn’t do anything by itself. 

As promised, I’m dropping into your inbox infrequently, and this time I’m here to nudge you to challenge how you think about milestones and how you approach them. 

I initially started writing about this topic in my journal - which I also write infrequently - but then I realized it might help a lot more to have this conversation together

Many people I’ve talked to over the past months feel the same, meaning they’ve experienced more defining moments, more internal turmoil, and - simply put - more life this year than compared to previous years. That tells me that we need to ditch the conventional calendar and look for the turning points that matter to our lives. 

We don’t have to wait until January 1st to start fresh, to commit to change, to a change in perspective and the actions that make up the follow through

“I’ll be happy when I leave this job and get a new one.”
“I’ll be happy when I can afford to get a new apartment.”
“I’ll be happy when my parents stop interfering with my decisions.” 
"I'll be happy when this year is over and I can start anew."

Does this sound familiar?

I told myself the same lies for a long time. Even though I have an exacerbated sense of responsibility (for others), I had to work on myself to realize that, in the “if this, then that” equation, “this” was my job, not someone else’s. 

It’s one of those things you’ve heard many times over, but do you know why?

Because it works. Because there’s much more to the process that leads to this realization than you assume. Because when you start doing the work (going to coaching or therapy, journaling, getting an accountability buddy, etc.), you discover the transformative power of taking ownership of your sources of regeneration, achievement, and happiness. 

I’m only saying this because I know it’s possible. I’ve seen it both in myself and people around me.  

I’m also saying it because it’s important that we realize when we’re stuck, to admit to ourselves when we need help, to understand the vital importance of having someone who can challenge our beliefs, our assumptions, and our expectations so that we can gain more clarity and build a better path forward. 

Don’t think I had it easy this year. I’m not talking from my high horse, where everything’s rosy and perfect. This is not Instagram. 

I experienced loss, fear, guilt, helplessness, anxiety, and burnout. I had fights with the people I love the most. I had to make difficult decisions in my work.   

I also worked hard on understanding why this happened and what I can do to make better choices for both myself and others. I worked with Andrei during our deeply transformative coaching sessions. I read books, research, and articles. I put everything in writing, either for myself or publicly, so others may use my experience if it serves them. I talked to friends so we can figure it out together. I worked on how I set goals with Erno. I started experimenting with affirmations and meditation more consistently. 

From all of these experiences and resources I picked what best suited me, what worked for me, but I also gave it a chance before dismissing that experiment as useless. 

I’m not sharing this to give you FOMO or to make you feel like you’re not doing enough. I’m just sharing it so you know that real change requires a lot of work, time, and energy, no matter which area of your life you’re looking to transform. 

Overnight success takes 10 years to build, as they say. So does re-engineering your life for better outcomes.  

It was difficult for me too. It still is. I have tons of things I want to improve as I look ahead. But I’m working on them right now, not waiting for January 1st. I don’t need to set resolutions for 2021 because I made a commitment to myself that my self-growth is non-negotiable. My decision made 2020 the setting for the most intense self-growth stage I’ve ever gone through.

I now know without a shadow of a doubt that I can only help myself and others if my cup is filled with kindness, love, and energy. Then I can be a better partner, a better friend, a better business partner to my clients, a more helpful member of the community.   

I know what happens when I’m depleted and burned out. I’ve been down that road so many times that I know every sign, every turn, every dark hole, and what the destination looks like. And I’m not planning on revisiting - because I found a much better route. 

I’m slowly building a map of my own and filling it with milestones that I now call “proofs of growth”.  

So here’s my 3-part challenge for you: 

  1. Look for proof of growth in the past year or however far you want to go back. What are you proud of? What are things that you can do now that you couldn’t do before? In which ways are you more self-reliant, more generous, more empathetic? List these things on paper. Add dates to them if you can. Create your own chronology of self-growth and sit with it for a while. Celebrate yourself! 
  2. Notice (and then change) how you talk to yourself. What does your inner voice say most often? What are the bad words you keep repeating to yourself? What’s the story you tell yourself about your own identity, abilities, and knowledge? What are your “I never”s and “I can’t”s? Put those on paper too. Question why you think they’re true. Compare them to your proofs of growth. How do they fare?  
  3. Focus on what you want to build, not what you want to run away from. Trying to have a better work-life balance won’t work if you keep spending 10h/day on work and under an hour on purposefully and meaningfully engaging with your partner. Leaving a job won’t change anything if you put all your energy into thinking how that employer wronged you instead of figuring out what kind of people or company you want to work with. You get my point: it helps us to analyze what went wrong and try to unearth the causes to understand them, but it’s just as important to devote just as much energy, time, and attention to building a better version of the future. 

If you resonated with anything in this newsletter, please watch this 33 minute video with Dr. Joe Dispenza on Impact Theory

Before you leave, I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve published in the past few months since I last “visited” your inbox: 

As Adriene from Yoga with Adriene says: take what you need from them, leave what you don’t

May your week be filled with kindness!

Went on a day-trip yesterday and found this beautiful, peaceful birch tree forest basking in the autumn sun and I wanted to share that moment of peace with you.
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