2020 will go down in our individual histories as one in which we re-evaluated our lives – a year of considerable reflection and re-alignment on so many levels. The year started with catastrophic bushfires, environmental and natural destruction in Australia, and rolled into political upheaval in many countries and the global COVID pandemic.

Change was the order of the day and the pandemic led to a major reassessment of what is central and meaningful in our lives. Our way of being was given a massive shake-up.

Insights company, InSites Consulting (2021) recently released their 2021 Culture + Trends report: Happiness reset.  The report, which surveyed over 15,000 people across 16 countries, identified 14 consumer trends on how people are now seeking and attaining happiness and wellbeing.  They looked at seven universal drivers people seek to achieve happiness – meaning, relationships, achievement, engagement, positive emotions, health, security – and identified new and visible consumer behaviours and expectations towards brands post-2020 over three areas – mind, body, soul.

While the report focuses on what the trends mean for commercial brands, it showed how and why we’ve changed over the last 12 months, and what we are now calling into focus on a social and individual level going forward. The overriding thing as a coach that I take from this report is the belief, as we all now know, that we don’t have to do the things we have always done, or do them in the same way. I’ve chosen a couple of areas from the report that I will concentrate in this and forthcoming posts.

Relationships and our connection to others

The COVID pandemic has highlighted both the importance and the fragility of relationships. Most of us have been, and continue to be, in varying states of lockdown. We have reflected upon and decided which people fall into our inner circle, our close orbit. We have called upon and made commitments to support each other through these challenging times. Many of us live alone and have relied on technology to provide contact with family, friends, and work colleagues.

Some have discovered that although we enjoy time to ourselves and can easily keep ourselves entertained, it changes when our activities are restricted or we are forced to stay inside away from our usual routines and contacts. It has been said the introverts love it, and it sends the extroverts into various states of panic. Whilst this is laughable in some ways, it has heightened our fragility and awareness of the importance of others to our ongoing wellbeing.

We have been called to re-define who the important connections are – family and friends, lovers, house mates, local community, work colleagues, pets (yes, pets) – and have chosen to focus our attention accordingly. The trend coming out of this is the concept of ‘chosen family’ and different family structures.

The chosen family is set to grow in importance as the way people relate is changing, as people-to-people interaction again becomes highly valued, and we re-imagine how we connect.

The lockdowns have also taught us the importance of living in the moment, that simple things and pleasures can be taken away quickly. Spending time with our chosen families is now more important than ever as it allows us to share experiences and celebrate this precious life we are living together.

What are your plans for connecting differently and deepening your people-to-people interactions in 2021? Have you chosen or changed your inner circle and what does that now look like? What is it you appreciate and value about them?

Please get in touch if you are looking to do things differently in 2021 and would like to discuss how best to do this.

© First published via the Mannaz Journal – reprinted here with permission.