How have you spent your time during the last four weeks? Does it make you proud or does it make you cringe a little? If it makes you proud…yay and keep it up! If it makes you cringe, let that go and let’s regroup. None of us knew what was coming our way a couple of months ago and none of us could predict how things would play out or how we would respond to being quarantined, so let’s cut ourselves some slack.
At this point in time, what is important is to look forward, make a plan and choose to come out of this thing better than you were going into it. We have at least two more weeks (likely more) so there is enough time for you to do something that will make yourself proud. Two weeks is plenty of time to start to form a new, healthy habit. Two weeks is plenty of time to clean or organize something in your home. Two weeks is plenty of time to read a book, listen to an educational podcast and start to learn something new. Two weeks is plenty of time to reconnect with someone you lost touch with. Two weeks is plenty of time to set up create new structure to your days. Two weeks is plenty of time to find new, creative ways of bonding with your children or partner. Two weeks is plenty of time to create a plan for how you are going to kick butt at work and set yourself up for a big promotion.
The first step is the hardest…you need to commit to something that will result in personal or professional growth. Think about what will make you feel good and/or proud of yourself. How many times have you said, “if only I had time” or “someday I will get to it”? Guess what – unless you are a front-line worker (and if you are…thank you and stay safe), you now have the time and “someday” is “today”. Commit to something today. If you are saying “I can’t”, do you really mean “I won’t”? That question is not meant to be disrespectful. It is meant to challenge you to think about the difference between “I can’t” and “I won’t”. Often, we don’t commit to something because we know it will make us uncomfortable or that it will be hard, however, when we do commit and follow through, the reward is so worth it.
“I can’t run” was something I told myself for my entire life and because I told myself that I could not run, I didn’t run. “I can’t run” was really “I won’t run” …until I committed. I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to become a runner. I committed and I started very small. It was uncomfortable and it was challenging but I felt proud of myself after every workout, even those where I did not go as far. As I said, the first step is the hardest, but it is also the most important so commit to something that will push you to grow.
The second step is to make a plan. You can’t just leave it to chance that you will do the thing you committed to.
If it is something that will make you uncomfortable or challenge you, your mind will try to get you to avoid it and if you don’t have a concrete plan, your mind will likely win. Once you decide what you want to commit to, schedule it out. Decide the days and times you will focus on doing it, anticipate the things that will get in the way and have a plan to overcome the obstacles.
Go all in! Commit. Make a plan and be excited about doing something that will move some aspect of your life forward. Do something that will make you proud of you. Think about it, if you watched one hour less of television per day, what kind of growth could you have in your life. Think about it, if you spent one hour less on social media per day, what kind of growth you could have in your life. Think about it, if you spent one hour less playing games on your phone, what kind of growth you could have in your life. We all have things that we do mindlessly that take up hours of time each week. Figure out what yours are and factor them into your plan. Cutting out things for just an hour per day could open up seven hours each week for you to do something new, that will help you grow and that will make you proud of yourself.
Imagine a month or two from now when we start living whatever our new “normal” will look like. Imagine you get together with people you have not seen in person for two to three months and you start talking about how you spent your time in quarantine. What would you say? Would it make you proud?
There will be people who come out of quarantine ten to twenty pounds heavier. There will be people who come out of quarantine drinking more than they ever have. There will be people who come out of quarantine who spent a good part of each day binge watching Netflix. There will be people who come out of quarantine with relationships that are more strained than ever before.
There will also be people who come out of quarantine ten to twenty pounds lighter and in better shape overall. There will be people who come out of quarantine who cooked at home and ate healthier than they had in the past.
There will be people who come out of quarantine who spent time each day learning something new by reading books, listening to educational or inspirational Podcasts, by watching YouTube or by taking online courses. There will be people who come out of quarantine with improved relationship because they were intentional about making others in their lives feel special and working through things that were problematic. There will be people who come out of quarantine reconnected with people they lost touch with over the years. There will be people who come out of quarantine who have their homes more organized and cleaner than they have been in years and there will be people who use their quarantine time to start or reconnect with a hobby that brings them joy.
Which person do you want to be? You can come out of Covid-19 lockdown better or worse…your choice! I challenge you to see this time as an opportunity to turn “someday” into “today” and to commit to something that will move your life forward. When we improve one area of our lives (however small), it will inevitably impact other areas of our lives. You deserve this and you are worth it. Day one or one day…you decide!