Self-Improvement, my focus for 2021

With a new year starting, it’s common to reflect on the year just passed and set new goals and outline our plans for the year that is just beginning.

Social media is usually full of inspirational messages about people’s new year resolutions. New Year, new me, conquering the new year, making the New Year the best year ever and similar. This year the situation is a bit more different. We’re all a bit more cautious about setting ambitious goals and making new resolutions. I’ve seen more messages saying New Year, Same Me or being a bit reserved when planning for the future.

When I started thinking about 2021 and what are my hopes for this year, what I’d like to achieve, what I’d like to do and whom I’d like to be, I ended up with pages and pages of notes, new routines, resolutions and goals. And immediately that started to feel overwhelming. It was too much and I knew that I wouldn’t achieve it. So why bother starting?

Then I started looking for common themes or for one overall focus that I could use as my guiding pillar for the upcoming year. Something that would include a lot of the things listed, but still not too restrictive.

I wanted to be really careful about any plans, commitments, goals and resolutions I set for myself. At the end I’ve decided to stick to one intention for 2021 – and that’s to focus on self-improvement.

It’s not a SMART goal, it’s not a rigid 90-day plan. It’s a core intention that I want to judge all my decisions by, to see if they’re adding or taking away from my focus on self-improvement.

The challenge with a growth mindset

But even before I started making a specific plan on how I want to start implementing this new intention to my daily life, I already had some qualms about choosing self-improvement as my key pillar for 2021.

There’s a thin line standing between growth and self-worth and in the past I struggled with self-confidence and self-worth. To me, focusing on learning, making improvements and growth always meant that I’m not good enough just now. It meant that I need to change and be better before I am worthy and good enough. 

As you can see, this creates a vicious circle of never feeling completely ‘ready’ and worthy. Forcing you to constantly work on bettering yourself, just to feel like you’ve failed because there’s so much more that you could learn/do/improve.

It took me a long time to realise that I can be happy with who I am in the moment, feel complete and good-enough and yet have the desire to grow, learn and become better in the future.

I’m not sure if I’m explaining this the best way, but during my studies of this subject I’ve come across two brilliant quotes summarising this confusing situation:

The feeling that “I am enough” does not mean that I have nothing to learn, nothing further to achieve, and nowhere to grow to. It means that I accept myself, that I am not on trial in my own eyes, that I value and respect myself. This is not an act of indulgence but of courage.

– Nathaniel Branden

Perfect and expanding.

Enough, but becoming more.

Satisfied, but eager for something else.

Complete, but never ever finished.

This is the way life is supposed to feel in every moment.

Solomon in Sara, Book 3 by Esther and Jerry Hicks

So, that’s me for now… I have a rough plan for 2021, but the rest is open wide and I’ll take the year as it comes. One day at a time!

And how about you? Do you have a goal, mantra, focus word or simply an intention for 2021?

Let me know what will be your key pillar and main guiding mechanism in the new year!