Looking Ahead to 2021

It’s end of a challenging year with high numbers of new Covid-19 cases every day and expected to go even higher through the holiday season as so many folks struggle with isolation and indulge in “just a small gathering” of family and/or friends.  Covid-positives are getting closer and closer with a few close friends’ family and my own brother all dealing with the virus.  But, the planner that I am is looking ahead with a Word of the Year (WOTY) choice, a 21 for 2021 Year Plan, and even a Winter Activities focus for what to do while staying socially distant.

As I was crafting my 2021 lists, I realized that I have multiple ways to look at my vision. I have lists set up by my Life Domains, by my list by Retirement Lifestyle Vision Statement (active, connected, creative, contemplative), and by my values.  Yes, I am a planner, I have a high need for structure, and I love lists.  But am I doing an over-kill?  What I realized is that by rewriting my vision and plans in various ways, I am rewiring my brain to think, “this is truth”.  Plus it reinforces three messages I need to keep hearing: I can do this (have courage), it is what it is (be non-judgmental), and I am enough (self acceptance).


As I thought about the number 21, it’s the age of adulthood in our culture.  After a year of working on releasing self-limiting beliefs (a work in progress) and putting Positive Psychology into practice (also a work in progress), I felt a need to boost my belief that I can do this. I was inspired by the following quote:

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.  E.E. Cummings

And so my WOTY is COURAGE — Find the courage to fully live the life I envision and become who I was meant to be.

  • The courage to do the things I fear.
  • The courage to not let my actions be influenced by others expectations.
  • The courage to release resentments and to come to a place of acceptance.
  • The courage to release my need for external validation and appreciate my own applause.
  • The courage to accept the messiness of life, to lower expectations (of myself and others), and accept it is what it is.
  • The courage to appreciate my individuality and to know I am enough.

It’s a continuation of my personal growth and hopefully inspirational as the year progresses, we restart a more normal lifestyle, and finalize our move. 

If you’re interested in finding your own WOTY and need some help, Susannah has a wonderful workbook (see link here).  I’ve used her approach in previous years and found it really helpful.

21 for 2021 ACTION PLAN

Finding the COURAGE to fully live the life I envision and become who I was meant to be involves continuing to Put Positive Psychology into Practice (see 11 best practices blog link here), continuing to shift my Self-Limiting Beliefs, and executing the Big Move.  These 21 items also encompass my Retirement Lifestyle Vision Statement (active, connected, creative, contemplative) and some growth insights from my Enneagram exploration.

I have also determined I will only track three things: new things, books read, and new recipes tried.  While I admire others who track many things (walks, yoga, exercise, classes, projects, etc.), I realized the three things I track all bring me joy. Tracking these three things is NOT about achieving the final goal number, but enjoying the journey and keeping track so I can reminisce about the fun things I’m doing!

21 for 2021:

  1. Savor new experiences (track 101 new things goal for 2020)
  2. Savor culinary experiences – Creative cooking exploration, signature dish, new recipes (track 52 goal for 2020), explore outdoor dining options
  3. Savor – Update Jolts of Joy & implement
  4. Daily Gratitude/Morning Journal
  5. Boost Love of Learning (value)– 5 on-line courses, learn to play chess, learn about Florida Native plants, books read (track 52 goal for 2020),
  6. Invest in Experiences – plan 2-3 day trips/season, plan date nights, plan post-Covid Tourist in Own Town
  7. Boost Time in Nature – beach walks, nature picture taking
  8. Be Active – Get cardio/steps in most days – walks, bike rides, Zumba
  9. Be Active with regular yoga (3-4 days/week)
  10. Intentional Connections – zoom wine/coffee dates, mid-week foodies, phone calls, IRL walk & talks, book club, blogging
  11. Strength Activation – Create opportunities for substantive conversations
  12. Strength Activation – Continue & build more creative pursuits – writing, cooking, crosswords, coloring, picture taking, cross-stitch, craft kits, other
  13. Strength Activation – Have more Courage (WOTY) – Face my Fears, Shift my Beliefs, and Activate the “Someday I Wills”
  14. Activate Enneagram learning for personal growth via awareness & affirmations about release & courage
  15. Do Seasonal Activities, including seasonal foods and fun experiences
  16. Envision the Future – craft future scenarios, finish resentment work (contemplation), pick next (post-Covid) trip
  17. Complete the Florida Big Move – plan actual move, sell house, do transition stuff, relationship alignment discussion, new state financial paperwork
  18. Florida interior work including room/closet organization
  19. Florida exterior work including portico and patio design
  20. Explore Philanthropy in Florida
  21. Celebrate the “wins”

A CLOISTERED WINTER – Winter Activities

Focus this winter is a bit different than past bucket lists.  With a continued socially distanced lifestyle, my winter list contains some of my regular to-do & maintenance things, some seasonal favorites (holiday events and winter foods), and some new things to try.  I had fun crafting it into a Winter Activity list!

And there is my transition into a new year – WOTY, Yearly Plan, and a Winter Activity List!  Whew… now to get going on it all!

Do you have a WOTY?  A 21 for 2021 List?  Winter Activity plans?  Please share!

41 thoughts on “Looking Ahead to 2021

    1. Michele, I realized that after I started to go through it. As an avid morning journal writer, it’s not a new habit to form. I did appreciate some of your thoughts on the doing – a little step everyday towards a dream. Something I do need to work on!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I found your blog yesterday and congratulate you on the important content. I will be celebrating my third month of retirement next week. I will be studying your posts as intently as a Netflix series. My 2021 WOTY is FORWARD. Thanks for all you write.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I discovered your blog yesterday and congratulate you on the important content. I plan to follow you as intently as a netflix series. I am recently retired. Next week will be my third month of retirement and look forward to reading all your information. My WOTY for 2021 is FORWARD.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, Welcome! And congrats on your recent retirement. I retired “early” and have settled into this new stage, but it took me some time to do that. Feel free to reach out – there’s a lovely community of retired folks here in the blog-o-sphere who are more than happy to give advice, suggestion, or just support. For a recent retiree, love the Forward WOTY!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirstin, I had a 20 for 2020 and it really helped me, more so than any resolution ever did! For me, my list includes many “living” elements – almost life maintenance. Different than 21 (crazy) new things to try and accomplish. But it works for me. Happy new year!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Courage is a great word Pat. I’m sure it will show up many times during 2021. I love you list of 21 and winter activities list. I’d say you have 2021 organised

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a planner and love my lists. They help me feel in control. I try to stay flexible with them, but I do need a plan in place. Maybe I need to think about having the courage to go without lists?


  4. You certainly love your lists pat and these are great ones to keep you on track during 2021! I love the reasons behind your WOTY Courage and the one about the messiness of life rings true to me! Mine is BOLD and in some ways it is similar to courage as I need courage to be bold. Wishing you well for 2021 and like Jo, I always enjoy reading everyone’s WOTY posts and how they came at their words. I’m off to check out the link you left about choosing words. #lifethisweek

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I felt like Bold had some similarities to Courage as well. I’m still looking for good quotes… I think Bold might have better ones! To boldly go where no one has gone before….out with the old, in with the bold. I might have to come up with my own cool quotes for courage!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Pat, it is nice to catch up with your blog today! I have been out of commission while I finished and published my book- which is a morning journal! I love your choice of the world courage. It is one I could use as well. I often write quotes in my planner and earlier this morning I wrote, ” All the good things are on the other side of fear.” I think I let fear get in my way.
    I also like your list of winter activities- and that they can be done during Covid! I already did the closet-declutter on new year’s day and am in the midst of designing a portico and plans redoing the front landscaping in the spring. Wine Zooms sound fun- a good way to reconnect with friends I can’t see in person!
    I wish you a great new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michele, Your book is sitting on the top of my to-be-read pile! I’ve been a bit slack in reading this past week….I spent too many hours doing an inbox declutter (I am horrible at keeping that space under control) and delving into Enneagram (I am thinking it is a rabbit hole for me). But also doing some of my winter activities… we had glorious weather for NYE and New Year’s Day! Wishing you a wonderful new year as well.


  6. You know, I think the annual WOTY posts are my favourite to read. I love hearing how people come up with their words. I hear you re lists and plans – I’m absolutely a to-do’er. After a year where I juggled a full-time day job, a high profile volunteer role and my writing I’m attempting to reclaim the flow a tad… let it be a bit more. That will take courage of a whole different sort for this little control freak!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand the concept of control freak… you have seen my lists! One of my “courage” elements is “The courage to accept the messiness of life” which is about letting go of my need to control. We will see how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great word choice for 2021, Pat, and I love your lists, especially your winter activities. I sometimes struggle with winter. It tends to be gray and cold where I live. Of course, there are some beautiful days after a snowstorm cleans out the air and covers up the dormant lawns and trees. I am hoping that having a warmer home to escape to will help this year. And, of course, having a new dog in the family can’t hurt. Best of luck to you with your winter plans and your 21 in 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, The grayness of Cincinnati is one of the big reasons we are moving to Florida. I’m looking at blue sky right now… with a lovely 75 breeze coming in the open window. Yeah, winter here will not be the sweaters, hot chocolate, snow-man building of up north! New dog activities will definitely keep you busy for a few months… he looks like a cutie!


  8. I love the graphic you created for your list. And what a thoughtful list of great activities…some tremendous and some simple pleasures. Wine Zooms!!??? Lighting candles! I have just started doing that myself. Need a new candle as I used my fall-flavored one all up. Yay!

    Celebrating wins is a biggie for you. And for me. I tend to always look at ways that things are do are far from perfect rather than just celebrating that I had the experience and enjoyed it!! These statements particularly spoke to me…release my need for external validation and appreciate my own applause and build the courage to appreciate my individuality and to know I am enough.

    Having gotten to know you a little better in our email correspondence and pen-paling, I can see ways we are similarly hard on ourselves (and sometimes others) and struggle to just enjoy things as they are. Was so proud of you to make the Christmas wreath. And it turned out so very lovely. Hope you will continue to find creative outlets. And for me, I hope I will begin to tie up some of the creative projects I have begun.

    Happy new year, friend. Hope we can continue to grow our friendship in the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leslie, I am actually not good at celebrating wins… but it is something I want to do more of. Started with celebrating one year in our Florida home. Well, I was drinking Prosecco alone, but still celebrating it. And happy I did.

      I love finding creative outlets… it’s one of the things I’ve been missing in Covid time. I’m not very creative on my own… something I’ve just had to accept. I was super excited about the wreath and even brought it to Florida and put it up here. It’s not doing well in the 70 degree weather though!

      Wine zooms are the best…. it’s helped me keep in contact with a few gal-pals. OK, sometimes it’s coffee instead of wine (9 AM wine is hard to justify), but I’m going to intentionally set up one a week.

      Happy New Year to you!!


  9. Your WOTY reminds me of a quote by Winston Churchill: “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because, as has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m a planner but not to the degree you are. I have 2021 lists for the books I want to read and the cross stitch projects I will work on. Other plans will be pretty random. I think I will extend my 2020 WOTY into 2021 – Adapt. There’s still work to be done in that area!! Happy New Year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keeping a WOTY for another year is perfectly fine in my world! If it’s still inspiring you… and I think we all will still need to be adapting this year as the world (hopefully) emerges from the pandemic. Interestingly my book list is never planned… I just read and count as I go! So much for being such a planner. Yes, I have a pile of books to be read, and ones to-be-purchased, but it’s not that focused a list and I’m more that happy to divert to something new. Which is good as I belong to 2 book clubs and I never know where that will take me. But, yes… I am a planner. Sometimes I think I need to start these posts with “Hi, I’m Pat. I’m a Planner.” ala an AA introduction.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Corinne, I loved my 20 for 2020 and was surprised I was able to do much of it, despite the crazy situation we ended up in. Hence the 21 for 2021. I think your word YES, as you’ve articulated it, is a lot like Courage. Another blogging friend choose BOLD… with similar intent. I think we all want to emerge from the cocoon we are existing in and live boldly, with courage, saying yes to life!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Courage is a wonderful word choice for 2021. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend watching Dan Rather’s final comments as he left the anchor chair at CBS. It’s a wonderful use of “courage” long before we knew 2020 would happen. Happy New Year, Pat! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow! You put a lot of thought into your WOTY! I actually haven’t really thought about it yet, and so I might want to put more contemplation in to selecting my word but as of now I think I am going to stick to last year’s because I really liked it and don’t get the opportunities to fulfill it due to Covid. If I’m being honest Covid might be an excuse. I find myself frustrated that instead of taking my word, POWER, and fulfilling it, I choose to let the Covid stuff take my POWER instead of finding ways to make it happen. So, somewhat out of irritation and because I really want to fulfill it, I choose POWER again. Power in my faith. I want to continue to gain more knowledge of my Bible and strengthen my walk with Jesus. Power in my family. Increasing the connections and love for all in my family extending out to those close friends in that they may feel like family. Power in my dance. Perhaps instead of being able to go to competitions and mostly planning routines, I will concentrate on increasing my abilities and knowledge of all my dances. And that leads to Power in body. This one will take the most ingenuity and determination than any of the others. I don’t know what that looks like to get into shape without a gym but I’m going to work on it. I could go further but I’ll leave it with POWER! Thanks for inspiring my to think about all of this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Candyse, you had DANCE as a WOTY for 2 years, so I’m not overly surprised you’re sticking with POWER! Maybe you think WOTY stands for Word of Two Years. 🙂 But Power definitely works for you as you laid out all the areas of your life it will impact. And, just for the record, you did have personal power in 2020…. you kept with the dance, even when it was challenging. You found a lovely home, moved in, and have great renovations plans and a pool all planned. You made all that happen. (I’m still working on our Florida move … into the second year!) You have powered through this very challenging year. Power on!


  13. I don’t usually have a WOTY, but I do like yours. In fact, I think we will all need extra courage to face the upcoming year and make the best out of what will probably still be a challenge (at least for a while). Covid is getting closer to us also. It hasn’t touched my immediate family directly but a few dear friends have had it and are now recovering. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, Staying safe is definitely our focus, although it is hard to not be able to be with people. A nice dinner (that I didn’t cook) and great conversation is my favorite thing to do… and we have not been able to do that combination since March. Complaining about that when so many have it so much worse always makes me feel bad, but I am hopeful that the end of this situation is in sight. Happy New Year to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Pat – you’ve certainly got 2021 covered and you sound ready to leap in with all guns blazing. I smiled at your #WOTY because it’s one I almost chose and Self-Acceptance was another (I had a few that sprang up over the year and it made for a very hard choice!) I’ll look forward to seeing where you go with your inspiration and I’ll be revealing my word next Monday.

    Sorry to hear that covid cases are becoming closer to home for you. I feel so sorry for those who are deaing with high numbers and so grateful that there are no new cases where I live – it’ll be interesting to see if they can get ahead of this virus in the months ahead. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne – You know I love my lists! 🙂 What I love about my 21 for 2021 is it outlines the life I want to live. It’s not a crazy stretch of things, and hopefully we will get Covid-19 under control over here and be able to connect in-real-life again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s