Setting Small Goals to Adapt to Next Normal

Setting Small Goals to Adapt to Next Normal

10/12/20 Laura Gibbons

Whether you are working remotely or just returning back to work; whether kids are online learning, hybrid learning, or back to school; from disappointments due to cancelled events, missing out on milestones, or unable to celebrate and see loved ones; many find themselves trying to adjust to the next normal.

If adjusting continues to be a challenge, pause for a moment to think about what you are experiencing. What we are experiencing is a clue to how we may need to change course by setting small, effective goals.

Disrupted Routines
For those who feel like they are out of their normal routine, accept that things look different. Look at routine in smaller chunks. Plan day by day or week by week. Remain flexible, and take note if strict routines led to missed opportunities and enjoy adding in some activities that enhance relationships, connectivity, and fun.

Missing Structure
For those who rely on and appreciate structure that comes with working in an office, attending scheduled activities, and enjoying social engagements, may be missing this built-in structure with COVID-19 restrictions. This can lead to feeling less productive, focused, and on task. Challenge yourself to create new structure and routines. Schedule your workday and activities, schedule healthy daily habits such as meals and exercise, and commit to events and social interaction even if virtual.

Feeling Frantic or Overwhelmed
If you feel frantic, slow down. Some feel if that they stay busy, it will help with feelings of anxiety, worry, and uncertainty. Or some may feel that with all the changes in our lives, that they don’t have the luxury to slow down. However, our bodies and minds need a break to function at its best. When one feels overwhelmed, it is beneficial to slow down and set purposeful goals. Try to allow time to be still. Practice mindfulness or yoga. Read a book. Journal. Listen to calming music. Start or return to a hobby, especially ones that uses one’s hands – this automatically slows down the mind and refocuses on mindful attention to the activity. We find when we allow our mind to slow down, we can find more clarity and calm.

Feeling Stuck
If you feel stuck – move. Take small steps to get unstuck. This could be going outside because you are spending too much time inside. It could be taking a walk because you are primarily sedentary. It could be trying something new or returning to something you once enjoyed because you are feeling lack luster. Although taking a small step seems minor, it often has big results in getting unstuck.

Too Much Isolation
It is easy to isolate especially during these unusual times. However, isolation can lead to loneliness and other destructive patterns. If you notice that you have become more withdrawn, are not in contact with family and friends, or not even venturing outside into nature, take some steps to reconnect. Make plans with friends and family, join a club or group – even if virtual, take your pet on a walk, or connect with nature with a hike, bird watching, or gardening.

Too Much Together Time
For those households where adults are working from home and kids are online learning, it can feel too close for comfort at times. Trying to be productive while also maintaining some space and privacy can be a challenge. Taking some small steps will be important to set up work and school spaces, define at-home rules, give each household member some space to do what they enjoy and for self-care, and also take advantage of more together time to do things that may seem less likely due to busy schedules.

It is important to know when we need to do disrupt patterns and change course. Doing the opposite or modifying what we are doing stops feeding patterns, which may not ultimately be helpful in keeping healthy, positive, and productive.

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