September always marks the start of the New Year for me. From that perspective, this year is no different. But in every other way, it is.
I get asked, “how can I set goals and plan during this crazy time?” regularly.
Here are my 4 tips for riding the corona roller coaster:
1. Stick to the essentials
In the early days of the pandemic, the essentials included toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and a Netflix subscription. Your essentials have probably evolved since then, but it’s helpful to take the time to think about what they are.
Identify your 3 Rocks. What 3 goals do you want to work on or improve? You could choose both professional and personal ‘rocks.’
For one of my clients, her three rocks for the next 6 months are:
1) completing her Ph.D.
2) ensuring weekly time to socialize
3) daily exercise, outdoors when possible.
That’s it, 3 rocks. That’s all that matters for her right now, and that’s ok.
2. Focus on what you can control
It’s easy to make a list of the things that are out of our immediate control. In the best of times, the list can be long and occupy much of our thinking, draining our energy.
On the flip side, try writing the list of things you can control–where you can make a difference. It’s a longer list than you first think.
If you focus on the things you can control–you will feel better, anticipate new challenges with energy, take on opportunities, make a difference in the lives of others and flatten the corona roller coaster ride.
3. Be agile
I’m a planner – but I realize that sometimes, I have to adapt my plan. I have to be agile, especially now as the world is changing quickly, and new data informs my daily choices.
The good news is that as humans, we have a great capacity to adapt and innovate. Think about the last few months and how agile you’ve become. Celebrate your agility and continue to approach each new situation with an adaptive mindset.
When one of my 20-something clients found out that the full-time contract she started in January came to a quick end due to the pandemic, she came up with a new plan. She took on a couple of small contracts unrelated to her area of interest, so she had some income. She registered for two courses at the local university to upgrade her skills directly related to her career goals. She’s volunteering in her local community and she’s working on launching her own business with a former colleague! All along the way, reviewing her budget carefully to make ends meet, decreasing her expenses, and benefiting from some government help.
And that’s ok. She’s progressing in her goals, she’s showed initiative and self-leadership and demonstrating agility. And she has a great story to share as she navigates her career into the future.
4. Insert joy into your day
It is often the small things in life that bring us the most joy, whether during a pandemic or not. Maybe it’s reminiscing with a friend you haven’t spoken to in years, admiring a sunset, dancing in the kitchen or writing a heartfelt thank-you letter.
Once you make your ‘joy list,’ do one of them every day.
Even if you’re dealing with the most difficult challenges in life, or you’re tired and feeling grumpy, or don’t think you deserve joy, force yourself to undertake that joyful task, and see what happens. Every small joyful act will have a ripple effect.
And remind your colleagues, friends, and family members to do the same. It could change your entire start to the New Year – at home, school, and in the workplace.
Happy New Year! Schedule a time to discuss how I can help you with the ride.