Why it’s Important to Reflect on 2020 and Plan for 2021 



Many people cannot wait for 2020 to be over, after all, it’s been an extraordinary year and not in a good way. Whilst there’s no industry which hasn’t been touched by the coronavirus pandemic, the medical and healthcare industries have been utterly transformed.  

Many healthcare professionals have been overwhelmed with work whilst others may have watched their practices diminish considerably or disappear altogether. Of course, we all hope that 2021 will bring about better months and send Covid-19 packing, but it’s important to remember that 2021 will have its own challenges.  

No matter what some advertising campaigns and rhetoric may say, we shouldn’t pretend 2020 didn’t happen. Instead, this is the perfect time to reflect on the past and plan for the future.  

The benefits of reflecting on 2020 

For many of us, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years we are likely to have experienced. This means that we’ve had to adapt our personal and working lives, innovate in our businesses and stay calm and focused. Rarely do we get such an opportunity to see how we react under significant pressure and some people may be pleasantly surprised.  

Has this year pushed you to learn new skills? Has your behaviour changed? Perhaps you’ve transformed your practice from face-to-face, to largely remote even though you’d never so much as opened a video call before spring. 

Yes, the year has been hard, but we bet you’ve grown as a person and now’s the time to get a pen and paper and answer some questions. Here are some example questions that you might like to think about, to help you reflect.  

  • What did I do in 2020 that I am proud of? 
  • What did I learn in 2020? 
  • What did I waste energy doing? 
  • What action got me the best result? 
  • What did I not know in March 2020 that I know now? 
  • What was the biggest effect Covid-19 had on me? 

It’s been such a strange year that the spring might feel like it happened years ago. By thinking back now, you can remind yourself of how much you’ve experienced in that time and how you dealt with the pandemic. This can be surprisingly illuminating.  

By reflecting on 2020, you’ll be able to see: 

  • How you reacted 
  • How your behaviour and worked changed 
  • How well you learnt new things 
  • Weaknesses in your working style 
  • What to avoid in the future 

It’s only by reflecting intentionally, that we can really drill down into what we’ve learnt and how that can help us progress.  

How to plan for 2021  

We’re not saying book yourself a luxury holiday for Easter, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that planning some things ahead can be asking for trouble (read: flight cancellations). But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t or can’t plan at all 

When you’re not sure what the future will bring, a key way of planning is to stick to things you can control and make your plans broad. Here are some examples of questions you can answer to hone your plans for 2021.  

  • What do you want to do more of in 2021? 
  • What new skill/s would you like to learn? 
  • What would you like to have achieved by the end of 2021? 
  • What do you want to not do in 2021? 

By asking yourself these questions, you can start seeing all the possibilities for the upcoming year. The answers might surprise you, particularly as writing things down by hand can bring out things that you might not have thought of in such a deliberate fashion before.  

The final stage is to write ideas and steps to achieve the things you’ve written down. After all, it’s very well saying you’d like to double your income, open your own practice or become an acupuncturist, but without the steps to reach those goals written down, you won’t know what to do next.  

When you have your 2021 answers, you’ll have the foundations of a strong year, no matter what challenges it brings. And remember, it doesn’t matter if you reach your goals by the end of next year. What matters is that you identify them and begin working towards them. Not everything can be achieved in a year but you can absolutely be several steps closer.  

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