What have you learned in 2021 and how on earth can you plan for 2022?!

It’s Xmas Day this Saturday! Oyvey! Where has 2021 gone? How is the year 1992 almost 30 years ago?! What is time?! What is life?!

Ahem, okay, so, it’s been an absolutely weird year, AGAIN!

BUT, as the global pandemic rages on, a lot of people are learning a hell of a lot about CHANGE and adapting to change where we can. We’ve also had a hell of a lot of shit to deal with this year and may still be dealing with. So, how can you start the New Year in even a slightly positive frame of mind?


Get help if you need it – it’s good to talk!

Firstly, as I always say, if you’re feeling down or anxiety or another mental health issue is affecting your everyday life, please seek some mental health help. Therapists and counsellors are amazing at what they do, they are there to help!

Here’s some helpful links if you’re based in the UK (For outside the UK, please google! I used to have a massive list of resources by country but, as you can imagine, it gets out of date very quickly):


Find a Counsellor

Find a Psychotherapist/therapist

BACP Register


So, how can you reflect on 2021 and move into 2022 while being kind to yourself?

Again, what do I always say? Get it out of your head? Go with whatever learning style works for you best, so maybe for you that’s one of these:

  • Writing a journal entry
  • Mind-mapping out your year
  • Talking out your year into a Notes app
  • Creating an images board of your year (similar to a vision board but reflecting on 2021 rather than next year)
  • Using a template/planner

For me, this yearly reflection has to be written down and I’ve found over the years that using someone else’s planner or template works best for me for this annual reflection. As well as my tax return (usually on boxing day when it’s quiet!), I find some time over the xmas period to reflect on my year and plan the first 3 months of the new year.

Specifically for my coaching business, I use the Coaching Tools Company’s Planner and, for 2022, Emma-Louise has got a free 3 month planner because, let’s face it, who the heck is gonna be able to plan for a whole year in advance right now? Definitely not most of us! If you run your own business, freelancing, microbiz, this planner might be for you.

When clients come to the end of their coaching journey with me, I send them my 3 month vision sheet as yes, planning per quarter of the year keeps you agile and accountable! If you’re not already a part of the Scaredycat Crew, then join and you’ll get access to this vision sheet as my 2021 xmas pressie to my Crew!

I discovered the YearCompass a few years ago and, as a free project, I think it’s fabulous! I can’t say I’ve done it every year (I haven’t!) BUT I really feel I need it this year! They have an online and a printable version, in different print sizes to suit your needs and it includes insightful questions for you to reflect on such as, in the past year, “the biggest risk I took”, “the most important thing I did for others” and a whole area for “letting go”. Here’s all the versions of the YearCompass. As with the Coaching Tools Company’s planner, the YearCompass helps you reflect on 2021 AND THEN look towards 2022.


What’s been my biggest lesson in 2021?

Well, I’ve been learning lessons all year, particularly when I’ve lost loved ones and friends this year. I’m also about to complete my 3 month planner AND my YearCompass today so I can guarantee there’ll be lessons coming out today!

But, the lesson that’s most current for me right now is this:

“I will continually remind myself that my own wellbeing comes first”.

Why current? I’ve just cancelled the January founder group of Career Happiness for Scaredycats. I am feeling upset and a bit shit about it BUT over December, several projects have come into being so that I’ve had to really sit down and take a good hard look at myself and admit to myself,

“if my wellbeing comes first, I CAN’T DO EVERYTHING I WANT TO DO AT THE SAME TIME!!!”.

I just can’t. With perimenopause and IBS, and that head/gut connection, doing too much and overextending myself results in me getting ill and downing imodium like there’s no tomorrow :(. It’s not healthy and it’s not part of how I want to run my business or my life as yes, business as a freelancer/solopreneur/own business IS PERSONAL!

Why am I upset? Well, letting down people who wanted to join the January group; realising that all my excitement about the group journey can’t come into action right now; just generally going “oh poo” (and trying not to be literal about that one!).

BUT, the brighter side is that lesson learned, that I will go into 2022 reminding myself (probably weekly via a calendar reminder or post-it, again, writing it down!) that my wellbeing comes first.


Recognising those emotions

If you’ve been going from happy to sad, to confused, to angry to, well the whole gamut of emotions in 2021, firstly, well done, you’re human! Secondly, when you feel that you’re beating yourself up for having those emotions or all those Shoulds rather than Coulds (and oh yes, I’m looking forward to writing about cognitive distortions in 2022!) then I’ll quote Susan David here who said

“give yourself permission to feel all of your emotions, not only the “positive” ones.”

Her book, Emotional Agility, is brilliant – highly recommend!


What’s next?

There’s a fantastic quote doing the rounds on Tumblr right now but of course I can’t find it just when I need it! The gist of it is “we are in the middle of a global pandemic, everyone is going through their own shit right now”

so, in the words of the great Harry Styles (whose music I discovered this year, he’s rather good!), I leave you with my wish for you reflecting on 2021 and thinking on 2022

“Treat people with kindness”

and that includes yourself x