Thinking ahead to New Year's Eve, the temptation might be to boot this year goodbye. This year was certainly not the year anyone wished for. However, amidst the grief for what we lost lie many gifts.
As much as COVID destroyed lives - physically, economically and socially - it also united us in our common humanity. It shone the light on what was really important - and counter to marketing messages, it wasn't 'things' that mattered. It was people.
As we enter 2021, our next challenge is preserving and growing the goodness that a pared-back life revealed. Real change requires action and sustained commitment.
It's no good merely wishing or willing a different life. You have to really want it, or it won't happen.
Reflecting on 2020, identify what brought meaning, joy or inspiration. Then take the necessary steps to orient your life towards these things - and not the other way around. A shift can happen but only if you make it so!
If losing 'busyness' contributes towards better mental health, explore solutions that enable more pauses in your day.
Downgrade activities that don't supercharge or inspire you - in so doing, creating more time for yourself or loved ones. Explore flexible work arrangements to reduce commuting, or rideshare options for yourself or children. Upgrade community-mindedness, neighbourliness and kindness. This is the currency needed to transact a brighter future, and not just for ourselves.
Another lesson we can take from 2020 is never taking anything or anyone for granted. Noticing the many micro-moments of gratitude and joy in our days grows capacity for appreciating the good in our life.
Paying attention to even seemingly insignificant positive experiences, people or things strengthens neural pathways associated with positivity. It creates a more positive and harmonious internal environment so that in time we become more connected to our joy. As the countdown to New Year begins, rather than well-intentioned resolutions, adopt action-based goodness habits.
Make a plan to propel you towards becoming the best possible version of yourself. Don't leave it to chance or wait for others to do it for you.
And as challenging as it might be, let's honour the year that has been - extract the gold from the silt - and together celebrate community, freedom and the power of the pause.
Ros Ben-Moshe is an adjunct lecturer at La Trobe University, and positivity, resilience and wellbeing coach at LaughLife Wellbeing Programs.