Reflecting on 2021 – glows, what’s so, grows, & what’s next
This year has had its share of challenges and triumphs, both personal and collective. For me, it started with two funerals in January, continuing with ongoing pandemic and not being able to visit home, my girlfriend’s knee injury and surgery and more. Despite circumstances, it’s also been a joyful and accomplished year. I celebrated 40 years on Earth, was granted a 2-year work visa, and grew as an educator and person among other happy memories.
I think it’s important to look back and celebrate my wins, strategizing what’s missing, what I can let go, and what I will re-commit to creating in terms of my habits, action steps, plans and milestones to foster my success in designing a creative and bountiful 2022.
If you enjoy this sort of personal growth, reflection, and planning content, you may also want to check out Podcast 032: Theme, Vision, & Project Planning for 2021, the 2021 Theme, Goals, & Vision Blog, the Stand & Objectives for 2021 YouTube Video, 2021 Goals 6-Month Reflection and Re-Set Blog, and Podcast 057: Vision & Goals for 2021 6-Month Reflection. In those I shared my objectives for the year and provided a midyear update, now we see how the year went as a whole!
Stand / Theme & Big Picture
2021 Stand: Abundance & Contentment / Reichtum & Zufriedenheit; overall, my sense of satisfaction is high thanks to the strength of my mindfulness and gratitude practices, and I am so thankful that I have weathered the pandemic with my health and grown in the process. I am abundantly provided for and competent to take each next step.
Purpose: Joy; Essence: Buoyant, Creative, Curious, Love, Leader
Mission: to inspire and equip dancers and liberated citizens
Vision: supporting students/clients/colleagues/community to live extraordinary lives through dance and yoga education and coaching
GLOWS: most proud of from 2021
- Consistently creating new content, including my weekly blog, podcast, video, email newsletter, and social media (was inspired to do “Daily Dispatches” when I read Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work!)
- Connecting with inspiring people online, particularly on IG and YouTube
- Being a guest on Lisa Hylton’s “Brighten Your Day” Podcast
- Appearing in HK Dance Magazine
- Started producing podcasts where I interview guests: Virginia Holte, Jolynne Anderson, Fumi Somehara, Kai Iguchi (and more to come!)
- Photo shoot with Marina Weigl
- One year as a certified yoga teacher, deepened yoga and meditation practices, teaching in English and German
- Helping Ela with her knee injury, surgery, and recovery
- B1 Deutsch, Lingoda and daily Duolingo
- Granted 2-Year Work Visa to Germany
- Renewed my US Passport from abroad
- Daily Gratitude & Abundance Practices, Morning Pages, Prayer, Yoga, Meditation
- Weekly Physical Therapy, Workouts, Dance Improv, Tarot Card Pulls, Music, Reflections
- Body Acceptance work, ditching Diet Culture
- Creative work and care of my Artist Child: monthly altars, Artist Dates, sketching, blowing bubbles, crafting, experimenting with new media (watercolor pencils), stamps, BuJo, Pen Palling
- Keeping up my 2021 Haiku Poetry Project, on track for 365 poems and 52 weekly blogs (may reflect on that experience in a future blog…)
- My Yoga for Sleep, Energy, and Rest/Relaxation Blogs, “Cinderella,” “Hansel & Gretel,” “The Nutcracker,” Dancing Body Acceptance, Dancing Recovery from Eating Disorders, and other blogs
What is So: Project Results
Business and Finance Goal – Creator, Supporting Others and Myself in the Process
A Blythe Coach YouTube Channel: 69 Videos, over 200 Subscribers (229 as of December 20th- how cool would it be to reach 250 by the end of the year?), over 500 hours of Watchtime. That was a big breakthrough! On the way to 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours watchtime…
A Blythe Coach Blog: published 45 blogs (this is #45 of 2021), got started on SEO tracking and metrics to optimize
A Blythe Coach Podcast: Hit one year as a podcaster, produced 40 podcasts (#033-077) in 2021, 1,199 total plays as of December 20th.
A Blythe Coach Social Media: producing “Daily Dispatches” fairly consistently, enjoy creating an aesthetically attractive feed with photos and inspiring quotes, 315 Facebook page likes (this number has gone down slightly), 141 IG followers.
******** HUGE THANKS to those of you who have been following me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, the Blog and/or the Podcast: it means a lot! ********
Slower growth in these areas than I had expected or hoped for, but nonetheless growing with time, especially on YouTube have started getting more comments, likes, and engagement.
- Renewed my US Passport from abroad in May
- Granted a 2-Year Arbeitsvisum (German work visa) in June
- COVID-19 Vaccinated in June, booster in November
- Turned 40!
- One Year Teaching Yoga since my YTT ended October 2020, improved my teaching live, online, & recorded
- Teaching Dance & Yoga online, live & hybrid
- German B1.1 with Lingoda (started the year at A2.2), finished Duolingo German Tree (working on “Legendary” to keep in practice)
- Reading Challenge – 51 books read out of my goal of 30 and I have so so many more that I want to read in the next year! If you use Goodreads, I’d love to be connected there and I also recommend Libby for borrowing digital library books and Bookbub for discounts on Kindle/electronic editions. A few favorites from this year in Fiction: revisited cozy mysteries such as _The Cat Who_ and continued the _Vampire Knitting Club_ series, _Less_, _People You Meet on Vacation_, _City of Girls_, and _The Signature of All Things_; Nonfiction: _The Bullet Journal Method_, _Real Happiness_, _Everything is Figureoutable_, _Show Your Work!_, _Steal Like an Artist_, _Keep Going_, _Creative Quest_, _Big Magic_, _Eat, Pray, Love_, _Intuitive Eating_, _Every Body Yoga, _Yoga Where You Are_, _The F*ck It! Diet_, _Intuitive Eating_.
- Writing & Publishing – weekly A Blythe Coach Blog, Haiku Challenge & Blog on-track, pretty strong on writing daily (morning pages and content to share), but not moving ahead toward publishing anything as quickly as I’d like.
- Yoga Practice & Study, Pranayama, Ayurveda, Adaptive Yoga, Chakras, Alchemy & Elements on-track, still working on arm balances and handstands in the New Year.
- Fitness – consistent PT & mini-workout (1-2x/week), a little bit less workouts in cold/sick fall, have been playing with Handstands at the wall in the second half of the year, but no progress on Pull-Ups…
- Meditation Challenges & Study – Deepak Chopra 21-Day Program completed in June- July, another one in October-November, did Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness 28-Day program, achieved 20 minutes daily, would like to work up to 30 in 2022. My meditation practice is different at different times- sometimes serene, others scattered, but I’m learning from it all. As one of Salzberg’s friends confessed: “‘I’ve been meditating for about three years now,’ he said, ‘and I’d have to say honestly that my experience when I’m sitting in meditation isn’t what I thought it would be or should be. I still have ups and downs; my mind wanders and I start over; I still have bouts of sleepiness or restlessness. But I’m like a completely different person now. I’m kinder and more patient with my family and friends, and with myself.’ […]” The effects are felt more broadly than while sitting in meditation.
- Poetry – I am on track to write 365 Haiku Poems for my daily challenge this year, have kept a weekly blog of what I wrote, as well as learning about other poetic forms and reading new selections. Considering weekly Sonnets or Limericks or other playful poetry challenges for 2022.
- Music – taught myself/created tabs for “Hawaiian Lullabye,” learned “Danny Boy” on Harmonica
- Financial Plan – not meeting all targets, but tracking income and expenditures, re-read _Your Money or Your Life_, aware of Minimum Viable Income, targets, developing business strategy, student loan interest in deferment during COVID, some increase in teaching over the summer, kept up social media marketing, pursued opportunities as they presented themselves
- Friendship (intentionally reaching out more) & Love Letters – have been letting correspondence slide, but some improvement in reaching out to friends for birthdays and at random, mostly electronic, still have a Pen Pal project goal, enjoyed wine weekend in Koblenz, art gallery openings, book readings, Pride/Christopher Street Day & Dyke March.
- Fun, Festivity, Recipes & Food – strong in this area! Meals together, pick a new dish to try each month (salads, goulash, corn soup…), Feierabends, restaurants & cafes when open in June, epic birthday celebration, book reading, Fall Wine Weekend in November, Petra’s birthday, Adventsbrunch, bought tickets to “The Nutcracker,” and to visit home in early 2022!
- Relationship – nursed Ela during her knee injury, surgery, and recovery July-December plus, enjoyed our weekend getaways, time at home together, new films, shows, music, playing with the cat, lots of laughter and fun
- Spirit & Magic – the yoga and meditation practices above, purposeful work, reading the Bible and Quran (slowly, around 10%), prayer & mindfulness practice, weekly Tarot card pull for intuition development (uncanny synchronicity!), Full Moon crystal charging, monthly altar decoration
- Artist Child (originally inspired by Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way): crafting fun, dates, adventure pack, bicycling, rose gardens, watercolor pencils, stamps, BuJo, cardmaking, letter-writing
- Podcast listening: Soul + Wit, The Connected Yoga Teacher, Marketing Yoga with Confidence, Sandwich Universe, Dark Side of the Mat, Tarot for the Wild Soul, Limitless Life, Brighten Your Day, The Bohemian Blonde…
- Cooking & Baking: Vitamix, nice jars for salads, new recipes (Blueberry Muffins, Summer Corn Soup, ) old favorites (Pumpkin Muffins, Ginger Snaps)
- Physical Therapy, working out, started body image/acceptance and ditching diet culture work!, self-care, well-being
MONTHLY THEMES & Topics
January: Starting Strong
This month was about visioning, starting new goals & consistent habits (meditation 1-minute increase monthly to reach 20 minutes daily, daily poetry, gratitude, yoga, spiritual practices, etc.)
In February, I focused on Artist’s Dates, Creativity, and self-care including cookie-baking, face masks, indulgent mani-pedis, bath bombs and the like.
We mourned Momi’s passing at a beautiful funeral. I played the Minsgame with my paper clutter, etc. in March.
April: Minimal Fitness and Move Your Body (+ Poetry +Letter-Writing)
This month I focused on my cross-training and physical therapy as well as doing spring cleaning (windows, fridge…). Celebrated Easter, International Dance Day, and the coming of spring.
May: Healthy Eating
In May, I made a lot of smoothies (so glad to have a Vitamix blender again!) and jar salads to maximize my intake of fresh fruits and veg to nutrients for energy and immunity and I also planned recipes to try in the coming months. Renewed my US Passport (which was necessary for my work visa in June). Also published my first podcast with a guest interview, with my mentor Virginia Holte.
June: Open back up for my 40th Birthday!
Renewed German Work Visa (for 2 years!), celebrated my birthday in the Ahr Valley (Heppingen), reflective Practice, midyear check-in.
July: Adaptive Adult Summer Dance Intensive, Dyke March
August: Rest & Recovery
Cologne Pride!, Marco’s Memorial, reading about finance and considering context around money, abundance, richness. Also collaborated with a magazine for the first time, in HK Dance Magazine’s “Tutus & Tapas” article.
September: Yoga for Energy, Dancer Pose, Ela’s surgery (and our 3rd anniversary!)
I learned so much through continued reading and inspiring podcast interviews with Dieticians Fumi Somehara and Kai Iguchi. This will be an ongoing subject of study and growth in 2022!
Reveled in gratitude, did another inspiring interview with Jolynne Anderson, thankful for Coaching, Dancing and Joyful Movement, Warming Up, Connecting Steps. I started releasing the Dancing Body Acceptance miniseries episodes recorded the previous month.
Was also a guest for the first time on another podcast: “Brighten Your Day” “Much Thanks” episode released on Thanksgiving 🙂
December: Celebrating Christmas and festivals of light, End-of-Year Reflections, “The Nutcracker”
GROWS: What’s Missing / to learn
- Not meeting my financial and savings goals (ok fair, it’s been pandemic and I’ve been trying to get established in a new country, but still an important goal that will carry forward)
- Publishing Book (writing itself is progressing)
- German Driver’s License (keep working with the App to help with the theoretical part, schedule First Aid, Eye Exam, Theoretical, and Practical portions)
- Letter-Writing (carry Pen Palling forward as a hobby project)
- Being able to do a pull-up (continue training?)
What’s NEXT in 2022
- Committed to working with a business coach!
- Putting myself out there as a coach in order to make more of an impact with my collected skills and abilities
- Reach out to experts on book publishing, learn more about marketing
- Keep going creating content, value, and sharing my process!
- Continue to grow through my yoga, meditation, writing, dancing, reading/learning and creative processes
- In the coming days I will celebrate Christmas, declare my Stand for 2022, and set up my Bullet Journal for January and beyond! See you here on the blog again then 🙂
Other Related Resources
- End-of-2020 Reflections Blog
- Stand, Objectives, & Projects for 2021 Blog
- 2021 6-Month Check-in Blog
- Meditation Practice Challenge Blog
- Reflective Practice Through Journaling Blog
- Healthy Habit-Building Blog
- Learning from Mistakes & Failure Blog
- Seeking Sweet Sleep Blog
- Wake Up! Yoga for Energy Blog
- Rest & Recovery Blog
- Simple Scrumptious Eating Blog
- Minimal Fitness Blog
- Minimalism Blog
- Goal-Setting for Dancers Blog
- Powerful Portfolios to Catalyze Action Blog
- Persistence Podcast
- Resilience Podcast
Questions for Reflection
- What are your wins from 2021? What did you learn?
- What goals are you carrying forward? What are you willing to simply let go
- What new projects do you want to take on?
- What support do you need to design a creative and extraordinary 2022?
Wishing you very Happy Holidays and a splendid New Year!
Blythe C. Stephens, MFA
she/her or they/them
A Blythe Coach: Dance Education & Coaching
move through life with balance, grace, & power