10 Ways To Avoid Disappointment In 2021

Barton Goldsmith Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Psychotherapist Dr. Barton Goldsmith shares his thoughts on how he plans to personally keep his goals and expectations for 2021 in check. 

Tribune

Well this was a tough year, but the next one should be a little easier once we get some immunity going. The stress has been overwhelming for millions, so don’t give yourself a hard time if you haven’t launched your IPO — this year has been about survival. We can’t be normal yet, so I’m still going to keep my dreams, and if they don’t happen this year, thanks to believing the science, there will be a next year. Here are my New Year’s realizations for 2021.

1. I will be careful and stay at home as much as possible to do my part to get this plague under control. I will wear a mask, avoid swapping air with strangers, and wash my hands.

2. I will do my best to support the small businesses in my community, to help them keep afloat through this pandemic. I will tip a little extra, leave out drinks and snacks for delivery people, and do what I can to help.

3. I can reinvent myself and do something different if I have to. I can’t count the number of times that my plans in life have taken a detour, and mostly it’s worked out just fine. At this point we have all had to do some course corrections to go on with our lives.

4. If you do not want things to change, and you choose to fight it, you may well be setting yourself up for more disappointment. I have watched people tilt at windmills and it never seems to work.

5. Acceptance of the new reality is really the best way to move your life forward. Masks are becoming the new fashion accessory, which is a good thing for all of us. Once you feel cool wearing them, it makes a world of difference to everyone you see.

6. When you wear a mask, you are saying “I care.” Finding more ways to be a caring human makes you feel better about yourself, and that makes life easier and more fun, even in a pandemic.

7. I’ve been taking better care of myself, because doctors are in great demand right now, and I don’t want to have to see one. It’s time to remember Ben Franklin’s quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

8. Planning for the future is still good to do, because without a goal it is hard to be happy. Even if things can’t happen right now, it gives me more time to refine my plans, and doing this builds serotonin in my brain and makes me happy.

9. I have done some growing in the pandemic and will strive to continue that process. Some of it is mundane, like doing more work on the house (and getting better at it), and some of it is important, like finding ways to help those out there who are hungry and homeless.

10. I realize that life will be very different in the next few years. Some people will go nuts, like the end of Prohibition, and we’ll have the Roaring 2020s. Others will continue to be more cautious than ever before. I hope to find some balance in all of it.

To avoid disappointment in 2021, I’ll have preferences instead of expectations. I’d like to be able to travel next summer, but that if that doesn’t happen, I will live with it. That’s really the key to all that is plaguing us right now; you have to just want to live from day to day, and that takes a little patience.

(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.") ©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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