Deciding What to Keep From This Time Moving Forward
Instead of seeking to return to life as normal, considering how to implement what you’ve learned is crucial.
The current pandemic has given us more time. Whether that takes the form of a stay in place or the fact that our usual pursuits are off-limits to us. For some of us, it’s been business as usual (I’ve been working at least 40 hours, which I know in the state of things is a gift) but we have had time to think about what is vital.
What have you been learning about what matters most and how will you capitalize on it moving forward?
For many, family time has brought us closer together. For some, it has been being fearless in trying a new routine. Some of us have had to change our definition of work and have found something we truly enjoy. These are things that have added value and need to be condensed into our daily lives.
As we get ready to enter the after stages of the pandemic, now is a good time to figure out what is crucial to you and what you want your new normal to look like.
What is worth returning to and what would you like to change?
Even taking a small amount of time to implement family time, working on a new goal or practicing a new hobby will continue to pay dividends.
In small interjections, the four things that I’ve learned from this time and plan to keep implementing even when it’s announced the coast is clear are very simple. Maybe they will resonate with you as well:
1. Increase gratitude.
I’m reminded to be thankful for the little things: The time I get to spend with my mom after her medically imposed quarantine. The fact that my boyfriend is a tremendous cook. The ability to write things that inspire.
If we haven’t been mindful of what is good, this time is a big lesson to not take things for granted.
If you’re not someone who takes time to find 3–5 things you’re grateful for on a daily basis, I encourage you to start.
I’m also learning to reimplement my own gratitude practice. For me, this involves writing a daily dose of 3 or more specific things in my bullet journal. I’m back on the road to making my list of 1000 individual things I’m grateful for.
It’s easy to take things for granted. Times like these remind us of why it’s vital to be grateful for the small things daily.
Gratitude bestows reverence… changing forever how we see the world.-John Milton
2. Make a list of things that bring you joy and fulfillment
What fills you up on a regular basis? What brings you joy?
In the rat race that life was before the pandemic, it was hard to make time for those things. Maybe this time has been a chance to reconnect with some of those old hobbies and activities that we left dormant to chase “the important things”.
Make a list of what makes you feel great, what makes you feel alive and glad to be so. Mark time daily, even as the world gets back to the new normal to practice these things.
Maybe the pandemic made you aware to a few routines, hobbies and practices that bring you joy and satisfaction. Remain open to putting these into practice as well.
For me, taking my dogs for a walk, making time for an actual morning routine and recreating a bullet journal are all practices I’ve restarted and plan to continue daily.
It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of a pursuit. -unknown
3. Focus on 1- max 2 goals at a time.
I read recently that we should write down 25 important goals to us. Circle the top five. Each of the other goals that we didn’t circle become the avoid at all costs until we get the five that we circled completed.
I’d like to challenge that notion of working on 2, especially if they are large goals. It’s easier to focus on a few things until they are done and done well then continue to split ourselves in a million different directions.
Splitting your attention leads to many loose ends, many goals unfulfilled and it makes it harder to get anything done instead of easier.
Right now, what are the two most important goals you’re working on? How will you know when you are done? Define what you want and go after it, wholeheartedly. Then when you finish, it’ll be easier to pick up the next thing.
Lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem, we all have 24 hours in a day. — Zig Zigler
4. Make a list of fears- do something that makes you feel the fear and do it anyway.
I have a major fear of rejection. A fear that tells me that no matter what I do, it’ll never be enough and that people won’t take me seriously.
This fear has left me stuck when it comes to things that I really love. It has made me start and stop on things like writing on this platform so many times.
What if I’m not as good as I think that I am? What if people think what I say is a waste of time?
I’ve been working on this fear by forcing myself to begin publishing and letting myself be in the position. Not everyone will like my stuff, but there will be those who do.
What keeps you stuck? What are you afraid to do, either because of proven or not so proven reasons?
Identify one fear and find a way to expose yourself to it. You don’t have to do exposure therapy and expose yourself multiple times a day (though there is a benefit to doing something like this in some situations. For example, if you’re a freelancer who needs to find clients). Just start small. One-piece at a time. One tiny action after another.
Maybe publish a story, take a drive, ask someone out or go to one meeting (once we go green). Then try it again a few days later.
It takes time and courage, but eventually, you will make it across that finish line where it stops being fear and starts being a piece that you enjoy or are just not as afraid to do.
Life is short, as this pandemic has reminded us. I’d rather face the fears that hold me back and mitigate them, and I’m sure that you probably feel the same way.
Even if you fail by your definition at what you attempt, it’s better to know that this isn’t the way you’re going to make your mark than to never try at all.
It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. — President Theodore Roosevelt.
Please don’t take this time as just a “thank goodness it’s over”. Please take the time to evaluate the lessons that you’ve learned during this time.
Decide what is worth keeping and what is worth discarding instead of going back to the overstressed lifestyle we all lived before March.
In closing, please ask yourself what you’ve learned about what matters. Make time for those things daily. It will help as we all settle into what is being described as the “new normal”.