2020 Reflections and Goals for 2021

2020 was a long year for everyone, but I do think it had its blessings.

For me, 2020 was the year I got Etsu. On May 30th, I was able to take her home and I still believe she's the greatest gift I could have gotten.

Reflections and goals for 2021with Etsu and Me
From Prosperity to Focus

Here are some of the things I learned

  • I learned how to say "No", and was able to start advocating not just for Etsu, but for myself as well.

  • I learned how to follow through with my boundaries.

  • I learned how to respect myself and my own mental health just as much as the people I 'feared' or loved.

  • I found an online community of like minded dog owners who showed me that I'm not alone in this crazy but fun journey.

  • I started to put myself out there more, and stop holding on to the information or knowledge I knew out of fear that it wasn't enough, would get judged, or feel misunderstood and rejected.

  • I'm starting to find my identity less in what I know, and how others see me, but in a more solid foundation that doesn't waver.

2020 was the year I started to develop my own confidence -- all because I learned so much while helping Etsu develop hers.

2020 Word of the Year

I normally only do a 'word of the year'. My word helps me keep things into perspective, so I have a vision for my direction without getting overwhelmed. I'm not huge on 'resolutions', because I've learned that it doesn't help me move forward. Personally, that word keeps me stuck in what I need to change as opposed to genuinely shifting my perspective.

My word for 2020 was Prosperity.

For me, I learned that prosperity isn't simply about finances, or income, since we all know how difficult that area was for most people this past year. Instead, prosperity was about:

  • Overcoming my scarcity mindset.

  • Learning that my thoughts and voice matter.

  • Realizing that even though I constantly feel like I have so much more to learn, what I know now is enough to start with.

  • Allowing yourself to truly be part of a community as opposed to simply connecting with acquaintances and labeling them as your tribe (there is a difference).

  • Practicing how to have challenging yet loving conversations, not just one over the other.

  • Respecting myself, and no longer forcing myself into groups or individuals that don't respect or value me.

  • Seeing that I'm worth investing in, whether relationally, emotionally, or simply spending money on myself.

Don't get me wrong. I did lose a lot, experienced loss and grief, suffered in my mental health, had several mental breakdowns and panic attacks, experienced heartache and rejection from people I wanted to be friends with, got in arguments and fights because neither my partner or I were emotionally healthy, and even got laid off literally the last day of the year.

But I continue to see beauty in the ashes.

Word of the Year for 2021

My word for 2021 is Focus. I'm not sure what that fully means yet, since I never do when I first pick a word. It's usually something I pray over and let it unravel as the year goes on. But I have a feeling it will be a reminder for me to focus on the important things when hurt, pain, rejection or any old 'skin' tempts me to focus on the past.

Everything I learned this past year was just the beginning. 2021 will challenge me to continue growing in the same areas, requiring me to let go of my old skin, as I walk into the new. The more I grow in myself, the more my relationship with Etsu grow. I learned this past year that majority of my road blocks with Etsu and helping her grow to be the best version of herself, was everything I struggled with internally. So I'm grateful for every ounce of daily strength I have to keep going.

Goals for 2021

As I said earlier, I normally only do a word of the year. However, since I have Etsu, I wanted to make a list tangible goals we'll be working on in 2021 to help me Focus.

  • Develop neutrality and be calm around kids

  • Develop neutrality and be calm around other dogs

  • CGC

  • Continue desensitization and counter conditioning

  • Solidify heel in busy environments

  • Continue working on public access

  • Develop more confidence

  • Start agility courses

  • Be able to task in public

  • Recall away from prey

  • Recall in the middle of play time away from other dogs

  • Meet more IG friends and train together

  • Open shop with human apparel, possibly starting with sweaters

Looking Forward To 2021

Etsu and Me looking forward to 2021
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Overall, I started this blog to continue documenting our journey. But what I've learned even before starting it was how much Etsu helps me become a better version of me. Sometimes I get too close and I'm unable to see the beauty or progress. She helps me take a step back to clear my vision and stay present.

2020 helped me understand true prosperity relationally, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 2021 on the other hand will teach me focus. If I haven't already personally thanked you in the dm's, just know that you're one of the reasons we feel encouraged to keep going on our journey. I'm looking forward to enjoying 2021 with you.

Eat, train and play with Etsu & Me.


Etsu & Me

Creating clarity, confidence and developing effective communication with the dog in front of you, one day at a time. Eat, train and play with Etsu & Me. 

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