How to positively reflect on 2020

Open door in an empty room

How to positively reflect on 2020

As 2021 begins, many conversations about 2020 will focus on doom and gloom. How terrible it was, the stress caused, the mental health impact, not going to school, having the family holiday cancelled…

The list can go on. Instead, think about how to reflect on 2020 in a positive manner? 


“Reflective thinking turns experience into insight.” John C. Maxwell


Reflect on what went well and brought you joy

The Back on Track Teens blog never focuses on doom and gloom. You should understand the world well enough to know that bad news will always happen. But there is always good too and 2020 has offered good in many ways. 

Seeing the good in something requires you to put the right glasses on. To look for and reflect on the right feelings, thoughts and actions with a clear intention and not a clouded, dirty or distorted vision.

Think about what good 2020 brought to you. It may not come naturally to you, so let’s add context to this point by carrying out a simple but stimulating exercise.  


How to positively reflect – start with January 2020

Find January last year on your calendar, in your diary, online calendar or scroll through the photos on your phone. It may feel like a lifetime ago.

Capture in your journal, or wherever you keep notes, to reflect. Start today if you don’t already do this as it’s hugely powerful. 

Relive all the fabulous activities you participated in. Your achievements at school, in your job or at a sports class. Did you finish a super hard game, a captivating book, meet new friends, enlist in a new course or interest? 

Before I recorded this blog as a podcast I did this exercise myself. Let me share my findings with you to give you an idea of what to look for. 

Log your activities and achievements in weekly segments.

Week 1: I started an eight-session coaching programme with a family of five who were experiencing some challenges. They wanted to kick off the new year together positively and understand each other better. 

Even in session one they experienced incredible ‘aha’ moments. As the sessions progressed they grew closer as a family, understood each other better, laid ground rules and set family goals. Amazing!

As you go through this exercise remember to think about who you shared positive moments with. Include the words “I got to do this with” or whatever comes naturally to you.

Compare your written notes, photographs, videos and anything else that relates to your experiences because each one will raise different memories, thoughts and emotions. 

Week 2: Business kicked in big time for me with classroom training and family coaching sessions. I had my hair cut and styled, my nails manicured and I attended a goal setting workshop, which allowed me to spend valuable time taking care of myself both physically and mentally. 

The workshop was in London so my friend and I visited the Tate Gallery and had a wonderful time absorbing the Dora Marr photography collection. It was amazing, enlightening and inspiring! 

Week 3: I was on the road delivering training across the UK. I had new young people join my coaching programmes and we had immense fun dancing and making soap at the local youth club where I volunteer.

I visited Nottingham and stayed in a gorgeous country house hotel as a spot of relaxing downtime.

Week 4: – I got to do this … with these people – you get the idea right?!

As I flicked through my calendar and camera roll I felt inspired, grateful and surprised. I had forgotten some of the wonderful things that 2020 had brought me. 


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Søren Kierkegaard

Teenagers playing on grass
A wonderful year in pictures and memories

It was a wonderfully satisfying experience to do this reflection activity and I realised I had done so many amazing things. 

I visited Liverpool as the lead robot inspector and head judge at the FIRST Tech Challenge UK robotic competition. It was a massive challenge, way out of my comfort zone yet so rewarding and exciting.

I reminisced over RAF Cosford photographs I’d forgotten about and remembered thought-provoking questions from hearing leading human behaviourist John DiMartini speak in London.

I was reminded of the many achievements speaking at events and my wonderous trip to Pompeii just before we went into lockdown.  

And the magic doesn’t stop there. I took a deep dive back into the pharmacy world to support people as Covid-19 hit. I have photos of the pharmacy teams I worked alongside, laughing at how silly we looked in PPE as it was so new to us back then. The plastic backing on the Perspex screens caused static that made our hair stand on end! 

There were so many memories:

  • My daughter and me doing handstands in the garden
  • Clapping for the NHS
  • Transitioning to train and coach online instead of face-to-face
  • Socially-distanced birthdays
  • Limited garden get-togethers
  • Afternoon tea for Father’s Day
  • My book launch and press photos
  • A gorgeous sunny weekend at a cottage in the middle of nowhere
  • Halloween fun
  • Remembrance Day
  • My new car
  • My grandchildren on Christmas Day

For me, the year of 2020 was one of opportunity, laughter, celebration, flexibility, imagination, creativity and so much more.

It was amazing to connect and reconnect with people all around the world online. To learn, grow, adapt and evolve. And to care, share, inspire and support the people I care about – my family, friends, busines colleagues and clients.


“Reflect upon your present blessings – of which every [person] has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all [people] have some.” Charles Dickens


Create the right frame of mind

What memories did you relive? What experiences or achievements did you forget that made a positive impact on your life at the time?

Now you have gone through this exercise you will be in the right frame of mind to look forward to the new year. A fresh start, a blank canvas full of opportunity. 

You have a choice. You can choose to enter a new year with an inspired mindset or a dismal fixed mindset. I cannot tell you what to do as you are in control of your own thoughts and actions but I for one will be making sure that I approach everything with enthusiasm and an open mind. 


“Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds.” Buddha


Choose the life you want to lead

What are you excited about for this new year? If you’re not sure, think in a slightly different way and ask what could you be excited about? What possibilities lie waiting for you.

Remember, your dreams do not have to be on hold. Let your dreams unfold, set goals and let 2021 surprise you. In an incredible way. Please do share your best moments of 2020 with the Back on Track Teens community and make this year your best ever yet.

To end this blog let me wish you a very happy, magical and spectacular 2021.

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