How To Start 2021 In A Bold New Direction

Looking forward to the new year? Me too – turning a page can be exciting. But, remember, nothing magical happens just because 2020 is over. Let’s reflect on the year, strengthen our mindset, and then start 2021 in a bold new direction. 

2020 has been described as a dumpster fire. Label it whatever you want – the year certainly presented us with obstacles. 

We owe it to ourselves – and each other – to use it to some advantage. 

Instead of trying to flip 2020 the bird, let’s look back on the experience with gratitude.

No, really, I mean it. Here are some of my reflections to close the year and start 2021:


Thank you, 2020. You reminded me that life is short and not to be wasted. 

The human toll of this past year is astounding. But, in that darkness, there is a surprising clarity. You only have so much time on this earth. It could be disrupted by anything in an instant. 

Thank you, 2020. You gave me extra time with my family – especially my daughter, Talya. 

Before the pandemic, I’d leave for work before she woke up and I’d get home just a few hours before her bedtime. Now, I experience her joy throughout the day. Is it a little harder to get things done? Yes. But, with her smile, those things are put in their proper place, fading quickly into irrelevance.  

Thank you, 2020. You created the space for me to design my life

If it weren’t for the pandemic, my day job would never have been comfortable with a remote work arrangement. And, without the clarity the pandemic has given me, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to even ask if it was possible. 

Thank you, 2020. You showed me why managing my energy is the most important thing I can do to meaningfully impact every other domain of my life. 

Without a daily commute, I added, on average, 60 minutes of additional exercise each day – something Gemma, has been grateful for too. I’ve also found small moments to inject reading and creative departures to ensure I’ve got the energy to keep going. 

What from the year stands out to you?


If you haven’t already taken a moment to reflect on 2020, do it now:

  • What obstacles did you personally face?
  • How did you show up? And, what did you learn from facing those obstacles?
  • What did the year make possible for you?
  • What clarity do you now have as a result of the last year?


I’d summarize my general philosophy of life this way: Don’t ever capitulate to the status quo. Challenge it. Design the life you want for yourself. Embrace the uphill climb. Never stop learning, growing, and adapting. 

I didn’t always think this way. Looking back, I feel like I meandered from one life experience to the next – without an agenda or standard of how to shape my future. I’m determined, therefore, to move forward with vision and strategic clarity.

That’s one of the reasons why, every year (and quarter) I write and/or revisit goals to continue putting that philosophy into action. 

You might say (and I have said to myself): “But, why bother? Something’s going to come up – what if this or that politician does something crazy? Or, what if there’s another pandemic?” 

Sure, maybe an asteroid or Godzilla, too. And why not? 2020 showed you that all things are possible – even things you couldn’t imagine. 

Look, there will always be obstacles, there will always be some unavoidable crisis, but that’s exactly why waiting isn’t an option. 


In January of 2020, I had a very different vision for the year ahead. 

For example, I had a goal to do 12 in-person workshops in 2020. I did 1, then the pandemic hit, so I put the rest on hold.

I also had a goal around reading during my morning commute (instead of mindlessly scrolling my phone). Staying at home, I suddenly had plenty of time to read, but no commute. So, I adapted the goal to meet my new circumstances.

And, I also had to create completely new and unexpected goals, like my new startup rituals to help me focus while working from home in the same space as Talya’s playroom.

In other words, not knowing the future shouldn’t stop you from trying to shape the future. 

I’ll be the first to admit that my standards are high. You don’t need to meet mine. Instead, I encourage you to set and meet yours. 


Next week, I’ll share the reflection process and guiding principles I use to create new goals for the year. Do you want it delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog using the form below.

Adding to your reading list? Two books I read this year changed the way I think. First, The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday. Second, Atomic Habits by James Clear. If you’re looking to begin a journey of self-improvement, I encourage you to check them out.


Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.

It can feel messy – it zigs and zags, it starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.

It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.

And, that’s why it’s worth it.

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