2021 begins with this... wall

As much I'd like to believe I'm alone with this feeling, it's probably not true. Considering that last year was likely to be different or even difficult to most people, someone else just has to deal with the same fear I'm dealing with. Even if it's just one person. (Hopefully not too many, though.)

I - and just one other person somewhere as well - are scared that the personal struggles of 2020 will repeat themselves in 2021.

A year ago, in the winter, I was writing a novel that was a dead-end from the start. I chose to write the story because it was the best I could come up with at the time with a short notice. And I was banging my head against the wall already in week 1.

So yeah, I'm afraid that the wintery season will click some switch in my brain that signals hey, it's winter, so it's time to write some crappy fiction. Few things are worse than knowing that you're writing some crappy fiction. (Anhedonia is, but that didn't happen until the spring of 2020. So I still have a couple of months to fear lesser things.)

But hey - I resolved to make 2021 fun and loads of fun work and loads of fun projects and hobbies and such! Emphasis on FUN! So why, in the name of the programmer almighty, is there this gigantic mental wall blocking my way to this notoriously awesome fun I've been talking about?!

If you're struggling with a fear of last year repeating itself - if you, like me, have this wall that stops you from allowing yourself to live your life to the fullest without fear, here's what I recommend:

1. Create new routines that are different from last year's. Choose a new morning beverage and drink it while visualizing the perfect day ahead of you. This will, with time, condition your brain to think that life is good, that this drink predicts a good day. You can also change the space where you work, be it a change in location or the arrangement of your tools, to signal your brain that you're not reliving the past.

2. Change the amount of achieving you expect from yourself. If you burned out last year due to too many tasks on your plate, remind yourself that the world won't end and you won't die if you don't accomplish everything. If you did too little last year and got bored and apathetic, make a list every morning of everything you'd want to accomplish that day to make the day perfect.

3. Notice the way you speak to yourself. This could be a good time to make an effort to talk positively; to point out, out loud, all the good you notice around; to give yourself a pep talk every morning; and to be generally more optimistic about the year. It's easier said than done, I admit, but it's worth the shot. The way you think has more of an impact on your mental state than you can ever fathom.

With these tricks in mind (and the ones you already know work for you as an individual), you can take the hammer to the wall, tear it into pieces, and step to the other side, where the air is fresh with the promise of the adventures of the new year.


Photo by Ignacio Velez on Unsplash