Here in Michigan, we just retightened our pandemic restrictions again because our COVID cases are skyrocketing.
Can we have a moment just to let the magnitude of that moment sink in?
Granted we weren't exactly wide open yet, but we had SOME recreational activities we could do, such as have dinner with friends, go bowling or to the movies, are even hit a casino if we wanted to. Uh uh. Not anymore. It's back to our homes unless working from home is "impossible". But this week is Thanksgiving, and, although it may be celebrated differently than usual, it is a big holiday here in the US. And I do like me some holidays.
The truth is that I’ve always loved milestone days in the year because I am a total sucker for new beginnings. There’s nothing I love more than a fresh start and a chance to wipe the slate clean. I love having the chance to start over, to set new goals, and to get completely re-focused.
And if there was EVER a year that needed a clean slate, 2020 is it!
So I’m taking it!
I’m using this extra-long weekend to press the reset button and get myself reorganized and to get refocused on some new goals for the winter. I don’t know about you, but I’m SO ready for a little positivity and for feeling productive again. If that’s how I want to feel, then it’s up to me to make it happen!
Because, as I always remind my kids, the one thing you can control in life is YOU.
And so, if you’re ready for an internal fresh start too, here are a few simple steps you can take:
ESTABLISH A NEW ROUTINE - As humans we are creatures of habit. We need a regular routine to keep us on track, and, when we get out of that routine, it is very easy to get distracted, overwhelmed, and unmotivated. In fact, studies show that maintaining a regular routine helps lower stress and boost your immune system, which is probably why eight months of quarantine has been so hard on so many of us!
Thus, I recommend starting your reset by taking some time to create a daily or weekly schedule for yourself (and your family, if necessary). Even if you’re still working from home or homeschooling your kids, it’s important for your sanity to have a regular rhythm to your days and weeks. Get intentional about what is going to happen when and actually take the time to write it down!
BUILD BETTER HABITS - As you’re settling into a new routine, it’s the perfect time to also start establishing a few new more positive habits in your life, whether it’s taking a morning walk, drinking more water, practicing gratitude, or any other changes you want to make.
But know this--the key to making those new habits stick is to not try to do too much all at once! Start small, with one tiny tweak, and try to find a way to “stack” that new habit with something you already do--whether it is putting your workout clothes on right before you brush your teeth, drinking a glass of water before that first cup of coffee, or (my personal favorite) tidying for five minutes before drinking your evening beverage (did I hear hot cocoa with Baileys..?)!
SET CLEAR GOALS - When you don’t have clear goals, it’s easy to feel like you’re spinning in circles-- just trying to keep up, but not really making any progress. And to be honest, that’s pretty much how these last eight months have felt for most people I’ve talked to. All those plans for 2020 seemed to go out the window in March and all the uncertainty has made it hard to know what to focus on.
But even if you still don’t feel like you can make big long term goals, you can set some clear short-term goals for the next couple of months. What is it that you most want to accomplish this winter? What would you still like to do before Spring? Get clear about what you want, and you’ll be amazed at how much happier and lighter you feel almost instantly. Studies show that humans are happiest when we are STRIVING for something--it doesn’t really matter what it is. So pick a goal, something that fires you up, and make it a priority this winter. I promise it will change your entire perspective!
GET YOUR FAMILY ON BOARD - If there are other people in your family sharing the same space, then it’s pretty important to make sure you’re all on the same page. Consider holding a family meeting to set some goals as a family, dole out responsibilities, and create a family rhythm that works for all of you.
ELIMINATE STUMBLING BLOCKS - Finally, make sure you’ve accounted for any of those normal life challenges that might get in the way of your progress this fall. In our family, it tends to be meal planning and keeping the house tidy, but in your home it might be something completely different. But whatever tends to trip you up, plan for it! Find a way to solve the issue before it starts. And bring it up in your family meeting--you might just be surprised at who comes up with a solution that you never would have thought of!
Mother Theresa once said “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Along those same lines, Ashley Ormon pointed out that “You can’t make up for lost time. You can only do better in the future.”
In other words, it’s never too late to get back on track.
And so, my challenge for you this week, if you too are ready to feel productive and positive again, is to take some time this weekend to press your reset button. Get intentional about establishing a new routine, adopt some new habits, and set some clear goals. Then make sure you’ve gotten your family on board and made a plan to handle those stumbling blocks that could get you off track.
You might just be amazed by how productive this new season can be!
Live with purpose, friend, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families will sit down at exactly the same moment...halftime!