2020 was tough on a lot of people in a lot of ways. From the pandemic disruption, the social unrest throughout the United States, and a divided/heated presidential election; it seemed like the world was falling apart around me.

Although I was fortunate enough to remain stable financially and professionally,  I slowly but surely lost many good habits and simultaneously developed bad ones.  As time went on, I found it easier to make excuses; justifying things like eating way too much carry-out/delivery, avoiding grocery shopping, skipping out on exercise routines, sleeping in until my first conference call of the day, avoiding social situations, and being more hostile to people I disagreed with.  I had let what I saw on TV and read online influence my worldview.  The negativity had inevitably creeped into and affected my lifestyle and the way I viewed and treated others. Something had to change.

One year later I am in a much better place, largely from the culmination of many small steps I took throughout the year. I knew if I tried to tackle everything at once, I would probably just overwhelm myself and fall back into the same negative patterns that got me there in the first place.  So, I made a focused effort to implement small, manageable, and weekly improvements.

One of the first things I came to realize during this journey was that the way I talked to myself and how I reacted to situations had subconsciously become quite negative. Once I managed to control my thoughts better, things really kind of snowballed in a positive way. Focusing on understanding other people’s views and opinions rather than defaulting to condemnation became a high priority for me. Some of this was as simple as getting to know my neighbors who I had never talked to before, apologizing to people I’d been hostile with in the past, and becoming better at keeping my opinions to myself when they would only be adding fuel to the fire. As this new mindset was gaining traction, I realized I also needed to treat myself with the same level of compassion I was working on showing others.

As my mindset began to improve, I slowly added things to my routine that would help in the long run.  I did things like joining a golf league, going on a winter golf trip,  receive regular haircuts (it had gotten out of control!), made daily diet and exercise goals, saw my Grandma for the first time in a couple years, tried new things like yoga and backpacking, went on a solo cross country road trip (exploring new places along the way), took golf lessons, rewarded myself with regular visits to a massage therapist, and got back into running (which had been one my most rewarding hobbies in the past).  On top of the mental improvement, I’ve now shed my Covid weight gain (plus some!); and more importantly, I have built back in positive habits and structures that I can lean on in times of struggle.  I am appreciative of the netlogx Positivity Bonus this year that allowed me to pursue and support many of the activities I enjoyed in 2021.