2021 Rewind and Reflection

We all have just gone through 2021 in a mixed mood. Before I wrote this reflection, I read again my reflection blog post on 2020. Then I found some ‘continuing’ themes that we perhaps didn’t enjoy that much. Yes, we were still under the influence of the COVID most of 2021, although we had the help of vaccines.

The first half of 2021 was rosy and nice as we all looked forward to returning to a new ‘normal’ life; the one we enjoyed before 2020 with a slight ‘twist’ due to COVID. Then the Delta variant came alone. Residents in Sydney and the New South Wales State went into a nearly 3-month ‘lock-down’ mode. After the training in 2020, my family was prepared and we switched on our response plan quickly. Life went on as usual.

Fishing is such a good way to calm myself. Don’t mind what you can catch; just focus on the tranquility.

To be honest, I enjoyed this round of ‘lock-down’ in July 2021 a bit more because my 5-year-old son was more used to online learning than in 2020, and was better at managing his study and time. My 10-year-old daughter truly enjoyed sleeping in every morning until 8.15, then turning on her laptop at 8.30 to kick off her school day. I was, at times, struggling to focus on my work (like many parents out there!) with my son sitting next to me and asking questions.

My son and I did quite some kayaking in 2021. It was fun and great exercise.

With 2021 gone, I reflect on my experience and let me share with you what I’ve learned:

1. I’ve learned to be calm amid a seemingly chaotic situation. The ‘drill’ in 2020 helped a lot, so I focused more on myself and pay attention to the best practices of avoiding the virus (with scientific knowledge, not fiction!). This kept me calm and achieve my goals at work.

2. Regular ‘mini-breaks’ during the day helped me work from home. I got the rare luxury to have morning tea together with my children even for a short 15 mins in the morning. Science proved that regular short breaks during a working day help achieve goals, boosting productivity, and mental health. I also coached my clients for this practice, so we could all work for fewer hours but higher productivity. Who said that you need to work for long hours to produce more?

Don’t let your work swallow you. ^_^ A coffee break can help.

3. I had regular exercise and enjoyed some afternoon soccer sessions with my son. I still swam in the ocean in the winter. Coldwater swimming stimulates my body so I could keep calm and focus on my target. Science backs the effects of exercise on the human body and mental health; no need to repeat this. ^_^

This is what I can see when I swim. Just like a paradise.

4. 2020 and 2021 were busy times for investments because the share market was low and people panicked. Warrant Buffett said that: “When investors panic, it’s the time to buy.” So, I did exactly that and I hope you did it too!

5. I was particularly happy that all my coaching clients achieved what they planned for in 2021, although the environment was rough and the sentiment around the pandemic was like a roller coaster. With clear goals and regular coaching sessions, it’s a lot easier to achieve goals and be happy. So proud of my team!

Green tea with biscuits; a great morning tea!

6. In-person communication and meetings were still essential (at least to me!). We are social animals by nature, so socialising with other people has significant emotional benefits to us. We all have experienced this in the past two years, so we don’t even need science to prove it to us. It was good to keep in touch with friends and relatives.

Looking forward, the pandemic situation is still fluid in 2022 but we seem to have found a way out: we need to develop a new ‘normal’ life. Time to set your goals for 2022, create an action plan for your goals and enjoy your new ‘normal’ life.

New Year’s Day morning swim at 7am. What a start for 2022!

Before I leave, let me share the 3 books I like the most in 2021:

  • The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins: seemingly the ‘bible’ for onboarding at the workplace.
  • The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape: help yourself if you are looking for a simple and straightforward idea to shape your investment portfolio. Ideas in this book are nothing new, but simple to understand for most people.
  • Change Your Thinking by Sarah Edelman: one of the best books about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) that can help you overcome stress, negative emotions and self-defeating behaviour. CBT has been one of the most effective techniques I use in my coaching.

I’d like to wish my coaching clients, friends and blog followers all the best in 2022. I will roll out a few new products this year including an online course in the Coaching Yourself series after my popular self-help ebook, Coaching Yourself to Lose Weight. Many people don’t have time to read, so I will turn the ebook into an audiobook and also an online course. ^_+ So excited.

Dr. C. Richard Wu @ REEAConsulting.com

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