Finding meaning, connecting, and embracing the twists and turns of the last 12 months.

Transitioning through critical life moments, whether that be entering a new year, progressing into a new job, or moving into a new house, often provides us with the feelings of a fresh start, a time to clear out less helpful habits and an eagerness to integrate behaviours more in touch with who we would like to be and what we would like to achieve.  

Here we offer a slightly different approach to 2021, and whether you would like to strive for achievement, or whether you would like to take things slower, it will guide your own personal awareness moving forward. In doing so, the following three key points offer a way to connect, find meaning, and embrace the experiences of 2020, the lessons learnt from the highs, the lows, and the moments in between.

Begin with a review: Look back to look forward 

We are accustomed to reviewing our performance in sport, reviewing the technical and tactical aspects of our game. We are less familiar with reviewing our own personal achievements, personal characteristics, and personal development. Think about this step as though you are holding up a mirror to yourself and your last 12 months, to look back at it with honesty and fairness. 

The initial etchings on paper or characters on a blank word document can be the hardest part in the whole review process. Simply, start with considering what went well? What were you proud of? Then build from here, what could you have improved? What was one thing you took away which you didn’t know before? How did the experience make you feel? And finally, what one golden nugget would you share with a friend if they were about to embark on something similar? 

In beginning with this reflection, you might find you have reflections on the good, the bad, and the I’m-not-quite-sure-of-this-yet. Capturing these on paper, not only helps us to remember, but the act of writing or typing itself, gives us longer to think and consider what else we can take away. 

It’s at this point that it’s important to recognise that we do not learn from the experience itself, but more from reflecting upon the experience. 

Follow with respect: Be compassionate for your experiences 

This last 12 months will have brought about new challenges, some of which you may have overcome and others of which may have proved a little harder, some goals or aspirations you had set out to achieve at the beginning of 2020 may have been stopped in their tracks. Self-compassion, which refers to relating in a positive, accepting and understanding way to ourselves and experiences, is a key component in respecting what we have been through, respecting your earlier made reflections. The power of self-compassion is beginning to receive considerable attention in the world of sport and performance psychology. Fostering a self-compassionate frame of mind has been suggested to not only help athletes deal with negative or stressful events, but to also provide a psychological edge to enhance and maintain high levels of well-being and athletic potential. To follow in suit, when considering your reflections of the last 12 months, consider these key pointers: 

  • How are you understanding and patient towards aspects of your year which you have not been able to yet reach? 
  • When things haven’t gone to plan, how do you recognise that there are others experiencing similar situations as well? 
  • When something has happened, how do you explore both the advantages and disadvantages, the risks and rewards, the gains and the losses? 

Let go and reset: Progress forward with your insight 

Based upon your musings from step one and two, what does this mean for you now? What can you tweak or modify as you move through 2021? Who will you bring with you through this year? What will you let go of that is causing unhealthy habits or holding you back? 

Enjoy the process of looking back and reviewing the last 12 months for the lessons and insight it will provide you. For the help in carving out a pathway for the future. As Confucius once said, “study the past, if you would define the future”. 


Mosewich, A. D., Crocker, P. R., Kowalski, K. C., & DeLongis, A. (2013). Applying self-compassion in sport: An intervention with women athletes. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 35(5), 514-524.