2020 Reflections and 2021 Goals

Black and white selfie of Vancouver beauty and lifestyle blogger Solo Lisa

A very belated Happy New Year to you all, dear readers! I did not anticipate publishing my annual reflections/goals post so late into 2021. We had a very safe and cozy COVID Christmas where we had a prime rib dinner, watched a lot of TV and movies, slept, and went for long walks when the weather permitted. But as soon as Christmas vacation ended, it was back to work; I spent the next three weeks consumed with a huge deadline. Now that the deadline has passed though, I'm glad to have a chance to sit down and write this post.

Looking back at 2020

In the New Year's post from January 2020, while looking to the year ahead, I wrote: "In past years, I would come up with one or two key words to guide my goals and intentions for the year, or have a whole list of resolutions that I was keen to tick off one by one. This time around though, my mind drew a blank. All I could think was that I wanted to just be instead of do, so I'm kicking off this decade in a state of contemplative stillness and appreciating how I have the space in my life to do so. After all, who knows what the 2020s will hold?"

Wow, did I curse myself? Was that a Monkey's Paw-style wish? Because 2020 was filled with a little too much time being instead of doing what with the pandemic, things closing down in March, and WFH full-time.

That being said, as I look back on the year, there were a lot of things I was grateful for both big and small. In no particular order:

  1. Reading! Books were one of the few immersive and COVID-safe pleasures I had available to me, and there were countless times I was grateful for OverDrive access via the Vancouver Public Library. In 2020, I reviewed and recommended 70 books on the blog and read many more. I also made a conscious effort to start reading and reviewing more books by Black authors, and I'm pleased that I'm still keeping that up.
  2. Bar Method at home. I did 158 barre classes this year, which averaged out to 1 class every 2.32 days. Looking back, the studio did an amazing job of pivoting to online classes. The worst of the pandemic shutdown happened in March and they adapted so quickly, I didn't miss a beat with attendance, still managing to do 17 classes that month. I was grateful to have this physical and mental outlet for my stress and for how it helped me stay connected to the barre community. P.S. Major kudos to Sheila for keeping me motivated and accountable when it comes to class attendance.
  3. Conversations with friends! Whether it was over FaceTime, text, DMs, or phone calls, reconnecting made me feel much more grounded during an uncertain time.
  4. All the movies and TV shows that provided many, many hours of entertainment.
  5. Some travel. We were able to take a long weekend trip to Seattle in January 2020 before COVID hit, and went to Tofino in the summer.
  6. Exploring local museums, parks, and attractions.
  7. Good health. My father-in-law had heart surgery at the beginning of the year and my mom had dental surgery. Both recovered just fine. Our friends and family have been safe and sound during this pandemic. And hey, on a lighter note, I haven't had a cough, cold, or flu since last March. *knocks on wood*
  8. Being gainfully employed at a job where I can safely WFH, and feeling like I'm valued at a company that is growing and going through exciting changes.
  9. Our home's capacity to shelter us and provide for our needs. Despite my occasional griping about us being in a one-bedroom condo 24/7, we have fared remarkably well. This place has become our office space and workout space, we cooked more meals in our kitchen than ever, and it still feels comfortable for the two of us.
  10. Yummy takeout! There were so many moments where being able to get our favourite Korean fried chicken wings, ramen, aburi sushi, and gourmet pho, and eat it safely at home, lifted our spirits.
  11. The hope of getting the vaccine later this year.
  12. How wonderful Lawrence has been this entire time.
  13. Walks!

Looking ahead to 2021

My guiding word for this year is HEALTH. I was listening to an episode of the Bad on Paper podcast, during which Grace Atwood said her goal was to do one thing daily that would benefit her financial health, physical health, and mental health. This way of looking at health goals resonated with me so much that I've started thinking of my 2021 goals using this framework, trying to come up with specific, achievable intentions for each category of health.

I don't know what 2021 will hold, but at least I have some semblance of control over these goals:

  1. Get the vaccine when I'm eligible.
  2. Eat better. I tend to subsist on takeout for weeks at a time leading up to a big deadline. I've also been eating too much salt and sugar and having really carb-heavy meals, all of which have not been helping me feel as good as I could be. I won't be making drastic diet changes or anything, but I do want to watch my salt and added sugar intake, and increase the portions of veggies and proteins on my plate and decrease the portion of carbs.
  3. Make all the medical appointments I've been putting off, like get an eye exam.
  4. Start counseling! I've done counseling a couple of times in my life, and with the past year of pandemic and work stress, I feel like I could really use the mental tune-up it provides.
  5. Get outside and go for a short walk at least once every day.
  6. Stretch every 1-2 days. Even if I don't have a full hour to devote to stretching my entire body and using props, I can still do 5 minutes and stretch my shoulders, spine, and hips.
  7. Sort out what I'm going to do with my RRSPs, TFSA, and mortgage this year.


  1. I love love LOVE this! It's so nice to read your list of things that you are grateful for from 2020. Even though it was a rough year, it still gave us a lot to be thankful for. To me, 2020 felt like a mental reset. Instead of being cluttered with everything life throws at us, we were able to go back to basics and just see and appreciate the simple things in life.

    I'm also so happy reading your 2021 list of goals. It sounds like you're already doing a really great job at fulfilling some of these. Keep it up! And I'm here to support you in any way I can.

    Thank YOU for keeping me accountable too. I didn't gain much COVID weight from all of the exercise we've been doing, and I also feel stronger than ever!

    1. Aw this is the sweetest comment, and I love how you've reframed the narrative by looking at 2020 as a mental reset. Thank you for all the support you've shown me this past year and for continuing to support me going forward. We've got each other ;-) Now, onto this year's Fitness Challenge!

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