Do you feel like 2020 has brought you down? Here are some fresh intentions to set for the end of the year and tips on how to stay positive as we approach 2021.
Can you believe 2020 is almost over? What a messy year. But in spite of everything that has happened, there are always opportunities for things to improve, even in the limited time 2020 still has to offer us.
If you’re wondering how to stay positive, remember the opportunity to be a better human being is always available. Maybe the key to opening up this opportunity is found in developing your character.
One way to reboot yourself as 2020 comes to a close is to set a list of priorities you will focus on in the final month of the year. If you need a way to detox your attitude and find a clearer path forward into 2021, check out my top five intentions for December 2020.
1. Be kind
This December, make a conscious decision for the next 31 days that you will spread kindness. Not just to other people but to yourself.
Hearts are opened by acts of kindness. Anyone can be nice but during this festive season choose to go all the way and be kind.
‘Ubuntu’ is a Zulu term meaning humanity, but it’s truer meaning is “I am because we are”. I am a better person because we are connected. My humanity is amplified because you and I live in harmony.
Be kind and you will find it easier to stay positive as we approach 2021.
2. Spread joy
You cannot be all you are destined to be without joy. If your work brings you no joy it is impossible to devote time and energy and the dedicated focus and practise it takes to develop mastery.
Never postpone your joy. You have a choice in every moment to either enjoy it or detest it. Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote in his memoir about the Auschwitz death camp, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
None of our first world problems even come close to what Viktor Frankl experienced. Over this Christmas break, there will be plenty of opportunities to get angry and irritated. If you can’t find a seat during a long journey on public transport, if the Christmas gift you were hoping to buy is sold out, if you misplaced your AirPods or if someone forgot to change the toilet roll, choose to keep your peace. This is called emotional intelligence.
There is a space between stimulus and response and that space is prudence. Fill that space with joy and you will have a smile on your face all day.
We need to be assertive and intentional about producing this life-changing positive emotion. We don’t have to live life with the fickle feelings of happiness. Happiness is connected to happenings. That means events must always have to transpire in a positive way for us to experience happiness.
Joy can exist, regardless of how we feel or what is happening in our life. When you have joy in your heart, even though you have bad feelings you will find it easier to remember that the bad feelings don’t have you.
3. Seek wisdom
American writer and biologist E.O Wilson said, “We are drowning in information but starving for wisdom”. This idea comprehensively describes this epoch we are living in. We are literally drowning in opinions, misinformation and fake news while starving for the truth.
This December, I want to pursue wisdom to be able to walk in openness, humility and empathy feed my mind with fresh ideas. One of the ways I intend on doing this is by reading a 10-minute book summary every morning and evening as well as feeding my mind on positive, life-enriching podcasts. There are hundreds of perspectives available to us. The ones we should pay attention to are the ones which best allow us to pursue our goals in honourable ways. By seeking wisdom, you will come to understand how to stay positive and be inspired to continue striving for your goals.
4. Live with love
Love is really difficult to write about, even though it is the subject of nearly every song ever written or film produced. It cannot be pinned down to a single definition. Yet love is the most essential element we as human beings need to thrive.
Those who are deprived of it develop dysfunctions and can often despair for life. Our well being depends on our ability to receive and give love to others and importantly to ourselves.
In December, make the decision to be a dispenser of love to everyone you meet from the barista to the barber, from cleaner to the CEO. The warmth of a genuine smile and an authentic salutation is enough to light up anyone’s day. The idea of love as a primary force to fashion new worlds has long been the subject of sages, rabbis and mystics.
Love is not just an accessory or an optional extra. Love simply is the greatest force for change we have at our disposal.
The best way for parents to bring about change within their children is through unconditional love. Love opens the door to an awakening of consciousness and leads people to the right path. Positive parenting expert Dr Jane Nelsen says, “Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we make them feel worse?”.
If you’re wondering how to find the motivation to make it to December 31st and how to stay positive, let love lead the way.
5. Lead with hope
The moment you feel as if there is no future, you lose hope. When our future is as uncertain as it has been during this year with restrictions, border closures, and on again off again online work/learning environments we can become filled with despair.
When you are not moving into your future with confident expectation, you lose hope. Why? Because the future is where hope exists. The very definition of hope is a positive expectation of the future.
We are at our best when we are hopeful. We are more creative, resilient and empowered. Anyone who says hope is not a strategy does not fully comprehend the power that resonant, optimistic and positive leaders can have in a community. Hope is far more than a strategy, it is a leadership approach.
Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
With each one of these goals, construct a system that works best for you. Constructing this system for the next 31 days will render many of your perceived problems obsolete. Let every day in December be a new day to rinse, wash, repeat.
The only way our potential transforms itself into actuality is through discipline. Each one of us needs to choose a path of discipline to bring out the inherent goodness and greatness with us. By intentionally following through each day on these five pursuits, you will be so much better placed to enter 2021 feeling confident and filled with hope.
Lean into the last month of this year with hope and watch your 2021 cascade into a torrent of optimism, joy and freedom.