2020 Can Still Be Your Year


Remember when I said to build in extra time for your goals for emergencies? While no one could have predicted this, emergencies always happen. That is nothing in the face of a tenacious person ready to change. That being said, I know how it feels to be gaining momentum in a certain direction and find yourself stalled; My goal for this year was to start live mental health workshops for people looking to shift their anxiety into action. Clearly that might not be something I pursue right now, but there are about 150 other things that can lead me in that direction in the meantime; working on my website, setting up an LLC, creating branding, build my audience, the list goes on.

I am here to tell you that you do not have to wait until2021 or even the end of quarantine to start becoming the person you know isready to emerge. I had a friend ask me this week how I was able to reach someof my goals in 2019 despite job stress as a social worker; the answer is bothsimple and difficult: just keep going. For a long time, my boyfriendtouted a motto to me used by lots of fitness junkies that I poo-pooed, disciplineover motivation. I love motivation, I love positive affirmations andself-help books, am a lover of life coaches and manifestation podcasts. But Ihave to admit, there are times that no matter how much love I feed myself,sometimes I just did not want to study or workout or meditate. But I did itanyway. And now I am a total believer in both discipline and motivation.

The miracle is that despite all of the nonsense that isgoing on right now and how bad I may feel internally, every time I make myselfsit down for fifteen minutes to get closer to my goals, I feel better. I feelmore in control, I see progress, and I remember, the world is what I make it.Some people (and I used to be one of them) see proclamations like that and say wellif that were true I could just *poof* happy hours and social life back toexistence, so clearly you can’t just think up your reality. This is wherethe skeptics and the motivational world collide for infinite power: have thediscipline to change everything in your scope of influence the way you want it,and your reality will change for the positive, despite the scope of realitythat you cannot actively change. These changes create proof positive of youragency in life and give you more motivation. It’s a beautiful upward cycle Iwant you to jump into with me. We can meet for happy hour later.

Chances are, whether you are starting at just getting yourlife together, or you are making big, ambitious moves, you have a myriad ofgoals you want to achieve. Now is the time to whip out that list from Januaryand reprioritize. You can also change the steps you were going to take; maybeyou are running outside or hiring a virtual personal trainer to lose weight,maybe you are starting to get fluent in a new language instead of taking in-personclasses toward a new certification. Spend some time contemplating what you cando right now. There are probably many more things than you think.Brainstorm with a mentor if you need help or search for blogs of successfulpeople in your industry.

As we settle into this new, weird reality, you may change course, but don’t give up. Do not take this as a sign from the universe that you were not meant to reach your goals. You know how I know it isn’t? Because it’s happening to the whole world. You know what else happened across this Country? Prohibition, the Great Depression, the Great Recession, and guess what, some people gave up and lost fortunes and other people thrived and came out better on the other side. Not all of that was totally fair, but at least some of it was based on the determination of the individuals who succeeded. Some of those who succeeded were totally on the up-and-up and made like Beyoncé and made some damn lemonade. Maybe with a little moonshine in it.

We are still some of the luckiest people on earth; with air-conditioned homes with internet connections, games, video streaming services, food delivery, pet food delivery, Roombas, a variety of disinfectants, video conferencing, online courses, telemedicine, and IG live workouts. Take time to be grateful and really look at your resources to map a new course to the things you want. Where you see a roadblock, look for another route, don’t take it as a sign to give in. And when you see a roadblock for many people you can help fix, chip in. Show your pals your progress and encourage them to do the same. Not to get all Rosie-the-Riveter but we really can do this. We can make 2020 our year and show the generations before and after us that we can weather a storm, and maybe even come out better for it.

Sarah Russ, LCSW is a mental health professional in Miami focused on practical, actionable therapeutic strategies for mental well-being in a world of overstimulation and misconceptions about what constitutes true self-care. Sarah received her Master of Social Work from NYU and has been working in mental health for seven years. She specializes in healthy coping strategies and crisis management for those with chronic illnesses, substance use, and anxiety. You can follow her @mentalhealthformillenials or schedule a session with her at Arvon & Associates in Aventura, Doral, or Virtually by calling 305-936-8000.

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