When 2019 wasn’t the year you had hoped it would be

Every December near the end of the month my mind is on what the previous year looked like. The joys, the heartaches, and just the way the year went overall.

when last year wasn't the year you wanted it to be

Can I be honest with you?

2019 was a hard year over here.

2017 and 2018 were some of the best years of our life. During those years we moved to our country home, we found a church family where we truly feel more at home than we ever have before, my husband was inching closer and closer to the end of his years of training for his career change, and I started working from home.

2019 however was a different story. While of course there were joys and adventures, there were a lot of challenges and tough times. There’s no way around it, it has been downright hard.

And you know what? That’s okay. Because find me a person who doesn’t say at the end of certain years that they are happy to see it go – that they are ready to walk into a new year. That life has been a little harder than usual for them that year.

EVERYONE has bad times. Years that aren’t their favorite. No one is getting out of this life without hardship and trials.

And let me tell you, friends, I am ready to walk into 2020 with hope and excitement and change. I am ready to see all that 2020 has to bring.

Sure, it will have it’s own set of challenges. But it will have it’s own set of joys too. And though you can’t have any idea what the new year will bring, we can still be hopeful it will be better than 2019.  Even if it’s been awhile since you’ve had a really good year.

Maybe you feel like me right now. Maybe you are looking back at 2019 and waving goodbye with a smile on your face because you are happy to see it end.

But how can 2020 be different? While you can’t always control what happens to you in your life, there are things you can do to hopefully make the new year a good one.

SAYING GOODBYE TO THE OLD YEAR, WELCOMING THE NEW YEAR WITH HOPE

Be hopeful.

Like I said before, I am feeling really hopeful about 2020. While it’s true I can’t see all that we will walk through this coming year, I think attitude is important. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cry, or pretend everything is okay when it’s not. What it does mean is that we  keep moving along despite any hardship we may come across. We can continually work on trying to remain positive in light of it all.

I’m not always successful (I am a flawed human being after all) but if I continually remind myself of these things I am more likely to have a better outcome this year.

Take action.

Sometimes there are areas in our life that we are struggling with that can be fixed or improved with change. Usually it isn’t easy change. It requires hard work, dedication, time, and energy.  It takes ACTION.

This is a good time of year to reflect on the areas of our life we want to improve and what is in our control to change it.

Often it takes us being really honest with ourselves and making uncomfortable changes that we may have been avoiding for quite some time.

Want to get healthier? That is going to mean changing your exercise and eating habits. Want to get a better handle on your finances? That’s going to mean living within your means and maybe even downsizing. Want to grow in your career? That’s going to take extra training and extra work.

Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity was “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

If you’ve felt like you are beating your head against the wall over and over again trying to change something in your life that just isn’t working, it may be time to make a change in a different way and try something new.

Accept the previous year that was hard.

Sometimes, instead of dwelling on the knocks we took the previous year we just need to accept that not every year is going to be amazing and we need to move on.

Now, of course I don’t mean move on in the sense of just forgetting about what happened, or grieving whatever it is you’ve gone through and are continually going through this past year. You may have gone through something absolutely life changing.  A death of a loved one, a devastating diagnosis, a serious financial hardship, or some other sort of tragedy.  Of course you don’t just “move on” from those things like it doesn’t affect every aspect of your life anymore.

I mean move on as in believing that even though 2019 was hard, it doesn’t mean every year will be as hard, and that even if 2019 was absolutely life-changing that 2020 may be even just a little bit better.  2020 might bring some healing to your heart.

Life is FULL of ups and downs. The good times can be amazing, and the bad times can be absolutely gut-wrenching. But I would say most people don’t live a life of only good times and most people don’t live a life of only bad times.

They always seem to take turns, don’t they? While that can be hard to swallow when you are in a good season of your life, it’s definitely comforting when it’s a difficult season that you just want to end.

Practice some self-care.

Self-care is a word that is thrown around a lot these days, and I don’t want to jump on the band-wagon just to join in, but I believe it’s something that is becoming a popular topic because it’s SO needed in this day and age.

We are busier than ever as families – even if you work hard at simple living. Somehow life’s demands still take over. There’s houses to care for, jobs to tend to (and most homes are two income households so both parents are working) kids to care for or drive around to events and extra-curriculars, and any other responsibilities calling our name.

And so, self-care takes a backseat. And that’s fine for awhile. Until we are in over our head. Until we are so overwhelmed it’s hard to keep up.

Until hard times hit and our full schedule and lack of self-care seems to add weight to the burdens we are carrying.

Self-care is not selfish. There’s a reason they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before you put on your children’s masks on a plane. Because you are no good to anyone if you can’t function properly.

Self-care doesn’t have to be super time consuming or costly. You can check out some simple and affordable ways to take time for yourself here.

Self-care will help you manage the hard times. It won’t make them go away, but it may allow you to persevere a little longer with a little more strength and determination when you do walk through them.

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW YEAR

Walking into the new year doesn’t have to be filled with fear that it will be more of the same of last year. It’s okay to grieve the previous year if it was difficult, and then it is also okay to be hopeful for the future.

My hope for you is that 2020 will be a year of growth, joy, and adventures to remember – no matter how big or how small.

Come on, 2020 – we’re ready for you! 🙂

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