Reflecting on 2020: Lessons Learned and Accomplishments

It was the most “you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather” year that I can remember in my life, and it’s finally time to wave it goodbye. We all know this year has been awful, but I don’t want to dwell on that part because it goes without saying. Instead, I want to share a few lessons I learned this year as well as highlight some of my favorite things that happened this year. Last year, I wrote about the 10 lessons learned in a decade. It’s one of my favorite posts and I encourage you to read it if you haven’t. Alright, let’s talk about 2020 and mix in some of my favorite pictures from blog posts that were published this year.

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3 Lessons I Learned in 2020

#1 You don’t have to be everywhere all the time.

Social media is draining, especially when you are a content creator. There are so many social media platforms that pop up each year, and it can be overwhelming deciding whether or not they’re worth your time. I struggle with feeling like I need to remain visible everywhere in order to grow, and that typically leads to burnout.

During a pandemic, I also find it extremely hard to shoot new content in fun and exciting places when we shouldn’t be out and about like everything is normal. It’s a lot to manage when you’re a one-person show, and this year taught me that I don’t have to be everywhere all the time. In fact, this was probably my least active year on social media and yet it was my best performing blog year to date. Funny how that works, huh? I’m writing this as a lesson and reminder to myself that it’s okay to step away for a bit when things feel overwhelming.

How I’ll apply this lesson in the new year: In 2021, I want to set realistic post frequencies for myself and not feel bad when work, school, or my overall wellbeing take precedence over social media.

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#2 It’s okay to feel down. You’ll get back up.

I’m sure we’ve all had emotionally exhausting moments this year. I am overall an optimistic person, and yet I found myself having really low moments lasting longer than I’d like. I miss my friends and the general freedom of going wherever whenever, and I think the month of April is when the reality of the pandemic started to affect me. I had a few other times throughout the year where I felt down without an explicable reason, but April was the longest stretch by far.

It didn’t feel like I would ever feel like myself at the time, but of course, that wasn’t true. As May rolled around, I felt motivated, excited, and eager to do something. I learned that just because I’m an overall happy person, I’m not immune to having extended periods of sadness. When that does happen, sometimes the only way out is through it.

How I’ll apply this lesson in the new year: In 2021, I’m acknowledging my good days and my bad days. I will not beat myself up for planning on having a productive day and waking up realizing my body or mind has other plans.

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#3 Comparison is the thief of joy.

This is a lesson I already knew, but 2020 reminded me of this as my social media presence decreased. It’s in our nature to look at things on social media and compare ourselves to what we see. We all know that social media is a highlight reel, but it is still hard to think about that at the moment.

As I look at my overall blog, work, and school performance, I feel joy reflecting on all the effort I put in. Sure, I could go on social media and read about someone getting a 6-figure promotion, gaining 10k followers, or landing a full-ride scholarship, but that doesn’t diminish anything that I’ve accomplished this year. If you are prone to feelings of inadequacy, let this be a reminder to you as well.

How I’ll apply this lesson in the new year: In 2021, I am highlighting my wins as they happen, even if it’s as small as cooking a great meal for the first time. I will be doing this through a gratitude journal, but you can incorporate this practice in a way that best suits your lifestyle.


5 Accomplishments I’m Proud of in 2020

Now that we’ve reflected on the lessons learned, let’s try to find some positives from the year. As you read through my mini accomplishments, I encourage you to reflect on your year and think of 3-5 positive things to come out of 2020. The lessons are a bit long-winded, so I’ll keep these accomplishments brief:

  1. Getting all A’s my first year of grad school – As someone who started out thinking they weren’t good enough to get accepted, this is one accomplishment I still can’t believe I managed to pull off in the middle of a pandemic.
  2. Being featured on SA Report – This was such a cool opportunity and it was a rare time in 2020 where I actually got to meet someone new and just have a casual conversation throughout the photoshoot. Funny how we took little things like that for granted before. You can check out the feature here.
  3. Being highlighted on Pinterest’s “Black Creators Who Inspire Us” feature – The summer was emotionally draining, and this was a little bright spot in my day. I loved it even more because of the pin they chose, which linked to one of my favorite blog posts.
  4. Contributing to DeAnna’s upcoming e-book – What an exciting time for my friend and fellow blogger, DeAnna! I’m so proud of how far she’s come with her blog and I so appreciate her asking me to contribute to her e-book. I can’t wait to see the end result!
  5. Launching the resource library – So many curveballs got in the way of launching this at the top of the year, so I’m glad that the resource library finally launched in the Spring/Summer months. I’d love to add to the existing collection in 2021, so let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see.

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I wanted to include some of my favorite purchases from this year, but I have a few posts planned that will touch on most of them so I’ll keep that bit out for now. I hope whatever you do inside at your own home this year for NYE, you have fun in the best way you can. If you need some ideas, I actually wrote a post last year sharing 3 things you can do for NYE if you don’t want to go out. While I obviously advise against having a gathering, there are a few other ideas you may want to do. Making it out of this year is truly a blessing. See you in 2021!

What are some lessons learned that you want to share with others? What are you looking forward to in the new year?

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