Ring Out the Old, in the New: Moving from 2020 to 2021 with Reflection

Ring Out the Old, in the New: Moving from 2020 to 2021 with Reflection

By Nancy Bortz, MA, Psychotherapist

Go Gently Into That New Year

We have now closed out 2020. We’ve never experienced a year quite like this past one. Would it have been any easier if we were equipped with a handbook on pandemic living? Maybe, but even with a how-to manual, most of us would have had our limits tested by this year. The pandemic pushed us out of our comfort zones; quarantine-isolation seeped into our hearts, leading to mental and emotional exhaustion. Our conventional calendars and regular routines were wiped out; we had to radically adapt to this new world. Ultimate flexibility has become a new norm for all of us. There are lots of hard things we’ve faced in 2020, but all we’ve learned deserves reflection.

Time to Rest and Reflect

Turning the leaf on a new year brings a welcome time of rest and reflection on a year that has fundamentally changed all of our lives in ways we’ve yet to fully realize. I’m embracing this in-between time and using it to craft an epilogue to the year that considers the most important lessons I’ve learned.

A Thoughtful Resolution for 2021

Here’s one question for reflection at the close of this crazy year: What if the only resolution you make for 2021 is to love yourself more?

In some ways, this message seems more important than ever before. If you’ve often been in your own company during the pandemic, with fewer distractions to keep your mind active, I suspect you’ve been visited by a critical inner voice, one that harshly points out your flaws and faults rather than notices your blessings and strengths. We are often far more engaged with our inner critic than our inner friend.

Love Yourself…How?

I hope you’ll start the New Year off gently by considering how you might love yourself more. You might want to ask for help in finding a new job, to seek guidance in creating a healthier diet, to look for beauty when you pass a mirror, or to speak kindly to yourself when struggle. Too many of us rush into the New Year with plans to fix something that’s broken, but it’s important to remember that your essence is flawless and loving. Beneath the fear and fault-finding, you are a being of great wisdom and empathy.

Besides, if beating yourself up worked, you’d already be _____ , _____, and _____ (fill in the blanks). Better to love yourself instead.

Making a Plan

Here is a suggested assignment for your reflection: Create a list or vision board with images of what you most deeply want to create in your life for 2021. Take some time to see what comes up as the most important. Ask yourself if these dreams are truly aligned with loving yourself. Then decide if you can commit your energy to those three goals in 2021, considering what changes you might need to make to create space in your life to bring them into being.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very precedented 2021.

If part of loving yourself well in 2021 looks like finding a therapist, we got you. Click here to search in your area for a vetted therapist.


The titles of this article are references to two famous poems: “In Memoriam” by Alfred Lord Tennyson and “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas. They are both about death, and about life… and mostly, about transitions.

© Copyright 2021 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Nancy Bortz, MA, Psychotherapist

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  • Emily

    January 1st, 2021 at 11:23 PM

    I’m glad I found this site.
    Thank you.

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