4 things you’ve probably been harping on in 2020 (and what to focus on instead)

Life has been a whirlwind of ups and downs. Mostly downs as of 2020 if we’re being honest. When bad things happen, we spend so much of our energy focused on resisting our “bad” circumstances. So much energy wishing it away or trying to get out as soon as possible. But my friend, the only way out is through. We often tend to make matters much worse when we resist the happenings in our lives.

Have you ever caught yourself saying things like “I just need to get through tomorrow then all will be good” or “this time next week this will be a thing of the past!” I am the queen of this. And boy does it ALWAYS backfire! Every time I tell myself things will be better next week, next week rolls around along with a slew of other unfavorable nonsense.

What’s funny is that a simple shift in mindset could help reframe the bad things we tend to focus on into good things we can focus on instead to get us through. Here are four things you’ve probably been harping on in 2020 and what to focus on instead.

4 things you’ve been harping on in 2020

1. The things that are not going well

Source: Aline Nadai on Pexels.com

This year, it’s hard NOT to harp on the things that are not going well. I mean, these things seem to pop up everyday! And with the news and social media at your fingertips, it’s difficult to avoid all the bad stuff. From the pandemic to civil unrest to hunger and everything that may not be going your way personally, how can you not harp, harp, harp away?!

I’ve fallen victim to having days where I just bury my head in my hands and cry or just be pissed at life’s current circumstances. From having my wedding and honeymoon canceled to suddenly having to work from home to hearing about COVID and non-COVID related deaths seemingly each week to finding out my fiancé needed open heart surgery to having to wait until COVID died down for him to get it (visitation was also limited) to now being a caregiver – it’s been a little tough to not lose motivation to stay positive.

Here’s what we’re going to focus on instead:

The things that ARE going well. They exist, promise! Did you wake up this morning with a roof over your head and warm, dry clothes? Do you have food to put in your belly today? Do you have access to the Internet you’re using to read this blog post? Are you able to move your body, feel your heartbeat, and breathe with ease? GREAT! Focus on those things. The things that may have seemed trivial before are HUGE.

When you’re busy focusing on the positives in life and the things that are going well, the unfavorable things starts to lose their flavor. Kind of like when you’re trying to sleep and you’re only able to sleep when you start counting sheep or something. Distract yourself with the things that are going well. I suggest naming 3 things you’re grateful for each day either when you wake up or when you go to bed at night.

2. The things that happened in the past

Source: Melina Renee

Man, life just ain’t what it used to be is it?! What a wonderful world it was to move around as you pleased without having to cover your face or be paranoid about contracting a mysterious virus. Oh! And remember when we could go out to eat at restaurants without the worry of whether our friends/family would find it socially acceptable?! Those were the days.

If you’ve been harping on the things that “used to be”, stop right now! While it’s okay to mourn what used to be your normal life and to miss life the way it was “back then,” it’s not healthy to fixate on these things. I’m very hopeful that things will return back to some form of normal for us all (or turn out even better than they were before).

Here’s what we’re going to focus on instead:

If you miss your old life, that’s okay. If your old life is all you can focus on, try having hope that things will get better and that maybe there’s a reason for things turning out the way they did this year. Everything happens for a reason and also, the thing already happened. That means you don’t have the power to go back and change it, so why focus on that? If you’re disappointed about the past, focus on hope for better circumstances in the future!

3. The things that might (or might not) happen in the future

Source: Melina Renee

The future seems so scary nowadays. Mainly because we have no idea what’s going to happen. Like even less so than before the pandemic (I’m actually not sure how that’s possible, but here we are). For me, my wedding is a prime example of how I’m not sure if it will happen or if it won’t happen. The marriage will happen but the celebration, not so sure! That REALLY sucks, especially when you’ve invested a TON of time and money already.

But honestly, that’s kind of the fun part of life. The fact that we cannot make definitive plans right now is kind of…nice. Hear me out. I’ve spent my whole life knowing what comes next. From grade school to college. From college to grad school. From grad school to a full-time job. From a full-time job to engagement. From engagement to what was supposed to be a wedding on a set date. And in between that was planning travel, holidays, and even mundane things like scheduling workouts or quality time with friends. Not knowing what’s to happen in the future means we get to forget about planning all the time.

Here’s what we’re going to focus on instead:

Freedom. Freedom from feeling like you have to leap from one thing to another. Freedom from tedious planning and filling in the details and having to rush to the next step in the process. We’re literally free from “knowing.” Do you know the number of times I said “I don’t know” this year and didn’t have to feel the pressure to go and find out?! It’s wonderful.

Another thing to focus on: today. When you’re not worrying about what’s going to happen in the future all the time (and it literally cannot be of your concern), you can focus on the here and now. Bless!

4. The things that are uncontrollable

Source: Melina Renee

I know we wish we pulled the strings in many situations. This time of uncertainty and our inability to control outcomes is probably what is the most frustrating part of 2020. We’re used to having a plan and then a back up plan if the original plan goes awry. We’re used to being in control, for the most part. One thing I’ve taken away from 2020 is that we’re not in control. Our plans, our schedules, our paths all make us feel like we’re in complete control of our lives.

But we’re not. For me, God is in control. For you, it may or may not be something or someone else. But the bottom line is that we as individuals do not control the external parts of ourselves. We don’t control the world, our town, our employer, our kids, our employees. We don’t control the weather, we don’t control duration of pandemics or even the violence that has ensued. And that really sucks because these things affect us – both directly and indirectly. So, you may have been super focused on the things you cannot control in 2020.

Here’s what we’re going to focus on instead:

The controllable. Instead of focusing on the uncontrollable – the things in your life that you wish you could control but can’t, try focusing on the things you CAN control. And there aren’t very many, so this should be pretty simple. While you cannot control the things that happen to you and around you, one thing you can control is your attitude. Deciding to mope around all the time about how bad things are isn’t productive.

Deciding to stay positive and hopeful despite the happenings of the world is the best thing you can do for yourself. You’re the only person who’s in control of how you react to the things that happen – don’t spend that control on negative energy. You can also choose to focus on resourcefulness. For example, maybe you cannot go to a gym because it’s closed, but you have your body and 6 ft of floor space, so you can do bodyweight workouts. Now that’s something you CAN control!

Now that we’ve shifted our focus…

Source: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

You can still make 2020 a great year! Just because things aren’t going as planned, does not mean you should harp on that. It’s time to move with the wind and make the best out of the circumstances. Keeping your focus on the positives, the present moment, freedom, hope, and the things you CAN control will uplift you and carry you through 2020 and into 2021 better and stronger than ever before.

Don’t wish 2020 away, embrace 2020 and step into the power you have to overcome its obstacles. How will you turn 2020 around?? Let me know in the comments.

Remember to make bold and prosper!

Melina Renee

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