- Emely Duraes, UCTech
How to Make the Most out of 2020
It is safe to say that 2020 has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. With the current pandemic, everyone has had to take a second to themselves to consider the importance of keeping their lives and the lives of others safe. Through quarantine and the use of masks, we have done our part to keep ourselves and others safe, but quarantine has also affected a lot of people mentally. Additionally, (if that wasn’t enough) this year is an election year and at the time of writing this article, it’s still unknown who will win. With so much uncertainty and the year coming quickly to a close, it is easy to feel like you did nothing notable or to be stressed with the world’s “new normal.” Therefore, reflecting, making goals, and pacing yourself is a great way to make the most out of the rest of this year, while also preparing for the beginning of the next.
I am not the first person to say that reflecting on your past is important for your mental health; however, I will admit that it is difficult. Taking time to reflect on one’s past can be stressful. It is easy to feel like we have accomplished nothing, especially since we have been in quarantine for so long. Nevertheless, I can assure you that you probably accomplished more than you think you did this year. Even if all you think you did was sit around watching television, take a moment to look at your life over the past year. Ask yourself, did you learn something new, step out of your comfort zone, or do anything that you are proud of during this quarantine? When you ask yourself these questions, remember that even small accomplishments or activities can be significant.
While you reflect on your year, remember to also reflect on your individual growth. Personally, quarantine gave me time to have a greater understanding of the world around me, because I was able to educate myself on important topics, like the political system and the Black Lives Matter movement, through researching and watching the news. On that note, compare about how you viewed the world before and after the pandemic affected your life. Maybe your time in quarantine made you more understanding, more open to new ideas, or even inspired you to learn more about the world.
Similar to reflection, making smart goals can help you feel more motivated and even give you a reason to get up in the morning. That is why young students often receive goal making worksheets to complete at the beginning of a new school year. Goals set us up for success and are tools we can use to think on the brighter side, because they allow us to get organized with our time and our futures. However, how do you know if you are making a smart and achievable goal? Well, there is a simple acronym that serves as a guideline for making goals, and that acronym is SMART.
When pertaining to goals, the acronym SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based objectives. Therefore, if you wanted to start a daily journal, you would need to ask yourself what you are going to write about, how can you track your writing, do you have time to write every day, why you want to write every day, and how long you want to keep the journal for. Even though it sounds tedious to make an overly specific plan for your goals, making these plans and deciding to stick to them can not only help your mental health but make you feel more accomplished in the long run.
How does pacing relate to making the most out of the rest of the year? According to Dictionary.com, pacing is defined as “taking slow and regular steps.” Keeping this definition in mind, we need to pace ourselves and not just rush for the year to end. 2020 has been one of the oddest years, so it is easy to want to get the year over in the hopes that next year will be better. However, if you try to speed through the rest of the year, you’ll be wasting valuable time you could be using to try and end the year 2020 with a bang! Generally, looking towards the future with a positive mindset is a good thing, but not if you forget to live in the moment. Spend your days learning new things or taking up new hobbies that you genuinely enjoy so that by the time the year ends, you can be satisfied with yourself.
You can make the most out of the rest of 2020 by reflecting on yourself, by making goals for the future, and by pacing yourself to take things one step at a time. No one has everything figured out yet, so you don’t have to understand everything either. However, making the most out of any year involves living your life doing what makes you happy and setting yourself up for success. So, when you are sitting on the couch watching quality reality television, playing video games, or scrolling through social media, take some time to think about your life this year and to make plans for the upcoming one.