I'm Determined To Make 2021 The Year I Stop Putting So Much Pressure On Myself
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I'm Determined To Make 2021 The Year I Stop Putting So Much Pressure On Myself

When the going gets hard, let's all just take a step back, breathe, and remind ourselves that "this too shall pass."

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I'm Determined To Make 2021 The Year I Stop Putting So Much Pressure On Myself
Lauryn Smith

Hey it's me, back for my annual word-of-the-year and intentions post. At the beginning of 2019 when I first started writing for Odyssey, I was at a place where my happiness and well-being was dependent on other people, so I spent the entire year working my hardest to lower my expectations and put myself first. When 2020 began, I was constantly comparing myself to other people, always worried about what other people thought of me, and just overall not confident in myself, both on the inside and outside. While I am still working on these things all the time, I know that I have spent the last two years continuing to better myself each and every day and this year will be no exception. However, this year, I am looking to take a different approach to my mindset for the year, and I'm honestly really excited about it.

Recently, I feel like there has been a shift away from resolutions and honestly I'm here for it. The idea of resolutions is inherently not a bad one, but over the years it has kind of gotten a bad wrap because of all the pressure that it implies. Resolutions signifies some sweeping declaration or a drastic change you need to make and if you don't achieve this, you failed. It can be overwhelming and unattainable, which causes people to end up not achieving them and beating themselves up about it. I'm all for goal-setting and thinking through ways you can improve, but that doesn't need to happen starting January 1st. I am a firm believer in wanting to grow and work on myself every single day--you don't need a new year to do that. Set some concrete intentions and take the small steps to get there. You would be surprised at how much you would achieve.

When I reflect on this past year and think about what I need to work on, there are a few things that come to mind. If you know me, you would probably know that I am a pretty high-achieving, ambitious, and goal-oriented person. This is something that I honestly really like about myself and I hope that it will never change. However, this side of me can definitely have some drawbacks, especially when I am constantly comparing myself to others, or better yet even comparing myself to myself. I have held the mindset that doing nothing is bad and being lazy is a weakness. I used to lose my mind whenever I had nothing on my plate and would have no idea how to occupy my time, oftentimes multitasking because it was the only way I knew how to do things. This is why COVID-19 was a huge test for me. For the first time in our lives, we were really forced to step back and relax, which was really hard for someone who is always on-the-go like me. Quite honestly, I found myself enjoying it a lot more than I would've anticipated. Of course, I was excited to do things once we were able to again, but I no longer wished that down time away. I have been truly learning to slow down and appreciate every single moment, not just the big ones. And for a type A personality like me, this has been a true blessing in disguise.

Another thing I've learned a lot this year throughout the pandemic is how to be adaptable and flexible, especially when things don't go according to planned. This was a major problem I used to have in the past, as I would have a major freakout whenever things didn't turned out how I expected them to. Quite honestly though I feel like I handled the roller coaster of this past year much better than I would've expected. Despite all the difficulties that it has presented, COVID-19 also taught me a lot and allowed me to have many opportunities that I wouldn't have had without it. This pandemic has really opened my eyes to being a lot more go-with-the-flow and not so set on one thing. It's great to have goals and think about the future, but it is equally as important to focus on the present and what is best for you at the current moment. I want to continue to practice these ideals and work on finding this balance even more as the year progresses.

By the end of 2021, I will hopefully be a college graduate. Wow, that feels crazy to type because it's truly so surreal. I have spent the last few months thinking a lot about my future and what I see myself doing post-graduation. For a long time I was so sure about what I wanted to do, but lately I haven't been as sure. Perhaps this change is because it's hitting me how soon I really am graduating, or maybe it's because I am starting to get more realistic about what I really want. Regardless, I am trying to be more openminded and explore a variety of options. I feel like there is a lot of pressure at this age to know exactly what you want, but in reality I am still young and have so much life ahead of me, so the fact that there are all these expectations to know that right now is absolutely crazy. At the end of the day, what matters to me is that whatever I decide to do with my future is something that I am both passionate about and am well-suited for, and I'm excited to figure out what that is one day soon.

At this age, you are expected to achieve this perfect balance of everything. You need to dream big, but also be realistic. You have to portray a real and authentic version of yourself to the world, but still filter yourself just enough to avoid being judged. You have to speak up about what you believe in, but not so much that you seem outspoken. You have to follow this conventional path to success, but your story needs to be unique enough that you still stand out from the crowd. Do you see where I'm going with this? There are just so many contradictions and expectations that society sets for us that make it almost impossible to achieve and honestly I'm so done with it. Growing up in 2021 is HARD, especially with the digital space being at the forefront of everyone's lives. But let's remind ourselves that social media is a highlight reel, and not everything you see there is the full picture of everything. We are all just trying to do the best we can and as long as it's enough for us, then that's all that truly matters.

So moral of the story, my intentions for this year are much different in the past. Rather than focusing on one concrete thing that I want to work on this year, I am determined to just make myself happy every single day. If 2020 has taught me anything, it is the importance of appreciating the little things and being open to whatever life throws at me. I never thought that I'd say this but I really like this new mentality that I have adapted, and I surprisingly can attribute that to a lot of the mess of this past year. This year I want to set aside a lot of the expectations that I have set for myself, and do what I feel is best for me in that particular moment. I am going to strive to be openminded about people's intentions rather than judge them right off the bat. I am going to stop putting so much pressure on myself to being the best at everything and instead be the best version of myself that I can. I am going to focus on positive rather than stew over the negative. And finally, when the going gets hard, I am going to just take a step back, breathe, and remind myself that "this too shall pass." I am sure that not everyday is going to be perfect, but perfection is no longer the goal. As long as I'm living every single day for me, then I have done my job. I'm hopeful that living in this new mindset is what is going to allow 2021 to be a great one, but I will definitely be taking you along for that ride.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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