While most of us are quite pleased that 2020 is finally over – it was a rough year – and all of us are looking forward to the promise of new opportunities in 2021, we need to view this fresh year with both a degree of circumspection, as well as a heart filled with hope.

  1. With respect to circumspection, we need to approach 2021 with a sense of realism:
  •  The pandemic is going to be around for some time yet, possibly the whole year and, for some, into the next.
  • Although the distribution of available vaccines have commenced, some countries will only start receiving their respective allocations of the vaccine in the second quarter of the year or later.
  • Some countries are simply too poor to afford the vaccine for all their citizens – in Africa, for example, many countries will only be able to cover 10% of their citizens at best.
  • The world economy is fairly broken – it will take many years to rectify the problems and re-establish thriving economies.
  • The world poverty and related hunger problems have increased exponentially on account of the pandemic – focus will have to be applied to bring changes to how governments and businesses operate (and corresponding and pervasive levels of selfishness will have to be addressed).

Realism suggests that we put the correct building blocks in place during this fresh year in order to realise a truly “new” year, otherwise we might just end up with more of the same – just “another” year! We need to reflect and learn from this past year:

  • 2020 taught us about the fragility of the human condition – we are not invincible, but weak, needy and dependent.
  • 2020 taught us that many of our systems and processes fall way short of what is truly needed to sustain nations – so much more needs to be done regarding the implementation of sustainable forms of energy, packaging, agriculture, production, etc.
  • 2020 taught us that selfishness is a cancer that negates any forms of progress and that we should rather focus on inclusion, care and valuing diversity. The dignity of the human being needs to be upheld.

We must learn from the above, lest we end up with just “another” year.

  1. With respect to a heart filled with hope, we need to approach 2021 with “planned anticipation”:
  •  Express gratitude – not taking blessings for granted, but taking an inventory of all the blessings that have been bestowed on you and being genuinely grateful (giving thanks). Gratefulness leads to peace and joy.
  • Begin with the end in mind (Dr Stephen R Covey – habit two of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) – this ‘reverse engineering’ means that you start with an intended result and then work backwards on all of the sequences that need to occur in order for the result to become a reality (even governments need to invest energy in this).
  • Make necessary changes – getting different results requires changes. You need to focus on the adjustments that are necessary in order to make progress on objectives. Adjustments will probably include changes in mind-set, attitude, habits, practices, networks, schedules, etc.
  • Apply energy – where your focus lies, that’s where your energy will go. So, bring critical success factors into focus and go after them. Create what needs to be created and chase them down – make it happen.
  • Exercise trust – there are some things out of our control (like a pandemic), but there are many things within our control (like wearing a mask and practising physical distancing when with others). We must do the things we can do and trust God with the rest.

How ‘new’ is your year going to be? You can’t wish it into being – that does not work. You have to approach it with a heart filled with hope and “planned anticipation”.

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