Reflect, rejoice, reset: why we should all celebrate our ‘wins’ of 2020.

"The issue with these success markers is that they set the bar so high that anything that falls beneath it can feel unworthy."

Words: Amber Badger 

Illustration: Kate Foley

2020 is officially drawing to a close; I bet most of us are pretty damn happy to bid it goodbye.


It’s felt like the longest and the shortest year that ever existed. While on one hand these past twelve months have somehow merged into an hour long episode of Black Mirror, Christmas 2019 also feels like another lifetime ago. 

For months, I’ve been urging on the end of 2020. I just wanted it to finish; to start again with a fresh slate in 2021. Friends have told me that they’re “writing off 2020” and that it doesn’t count. Sure, they say it with a slight laugh (they’re only half serious), but the underlying premise is there: this year should just be forgotten.

But what if we didn’t scratch 2020 from the memory books? What if, instead, we celebrated the wins of this rollercoaster year?

Wins – pull the other one, right? 


Looking back on the year may feel overwhelming. I get it. Especially if your business took a spin in the wrong direction due to He Who Must Not Be Named. And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably sick to death of the endless noise around 50k launches, scaling your business and *stepping-outside-of-your-comfort-zone*.


Sure. Those things are great. Who doesn’t want 50k in the bank? A business that’s bigger than your wildest dreams; hell yeah, I’ll take that. The problem is, it just hasn’t been the year for it for the majority of us. That’s a tough pill to swallow.


The issue with these success markers is that they set the bar so high that anything that falls beneath it can feel unworthy. 


That’s why I have been finding it near enough impossible to pinpoint the “success” of the past year. Because I didn’t tick the 10k month category. I didn’t launch a ‘new thing’ with the impact I needed (infact, anxiety completely took over and led to me cancelling the entire shebang when I tried).  For many months, my work plateaued. I held off taking the next step for my business due to a lack of headspace and motivation.


But that doesn’t mean I didn’t achieve anything. That I didn’t win, in my own way.


Success can be soft. It doesn’t even have to be physical. It could be the nuances of a new emotion or the intention of a future goal. Now, more than any other year, I think we need to take the time to pause and reflect on that.


This reflection and recognition goes far beyond a light tap on the back. Giving yourself permission to celebrate your personal triumphs can be transformative. 


  • It releases dopamine, aka the ‘happy chemical’…
  • … and encourages us to establish a success mindset…
  • … which motivates us for the journey ahead…
  • … while giving us the opportunity to learn and adapt…
  • … before boosting our confidence and resilience for all aspects of life.


There’s no denying it; it’s the bee’s knees.


We’ve all heard of gratitude lists; why not write one for your own strength and accomplishments?


Is it possible to take a step back and underline the many ways you have flourished this year, against all odds (cue Phil Collins soundtrack)? The countless things your body and mind has realised, of which you are wonderfully grateful?


For me, my 2020 gratitude list sits on a scale. On one end, there’s the typical markers of success; the things that, to the outside world, perhaps feel ‘more important’. The other end is far more gentle… the elements that are never going to make headlines. It’s the latter that means the most to me.


Here are a handful of my more mindful 2020 wins.


🌵 I committed to rolling out the yoga mat.


Yoga is my medicine; however, when life revs up a gear, it’s the first thing that goes out of the window.


This year I realised that this self-care practice shouldn’t be seen as a treat. It was – and is – an integral part of my life. It has made me fall back in love with my body and better understand my mind. 


🌵 I stopped apologising for my mental health.


While I’m not rejoicing in the fact that more and more people have become aware of their mental health struggles this year, it has led to a more open, understanding environment for honest conversations.


I hit some very dark points towards the middle of this year; places I haven’t been for a long, long time. Rather than hide that – or worse, be ashamed of it – I have shared my feelings and dips. Not once was I met with anything other than total understanding and appreciation.


🌵 I found the joy in writing for me, and me alone.


The first season of lockdown delivered an, at times, uncomfortable period of introspection. With all the extra space and time in the day, I couldn’t help but wrestle with the terrifying existential questions that we all just love agonising over.


But, as is often the case, the discomfort led to realisations. I discovered that, at my core, I wanted to be a writer. I acknowledged that the sheer act of creating was the *thing* that gave me the greatest joy. And so, I started to write a book. I guess you could call it my lockdown legacy.


🌵  I kept the business going.


It doesn’t sound all that exciting, does it? Except, this is probably my biggest achievement of all. Throughout a pandemic, my business (so far) has survived.


No one can underestimate the magnitude of this. Not just financially and through your client or customer retention and acquisition… mentally. That ability to keep showing up, even when everything is telling you it can’t be possible.


Whether that means owning a portfolio of six figure clients, or a loyal community of cheerleaders; take hold of that fact and squeeze it with all your might.


2020 may not have been the start to the new decade that we’d all hoped for, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it.


What are YOU proud of? What do YOU want to shine a light on? How have YOU grown, even in the smallest of ways, this year?


It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Success is yours – and yours alone – to define.


As Queen Bey says…


“If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.”


Perfection is overrated, anyway ✌️