This has been an unprecedented and overwhelming year. Even as we move into winter, COVID is not letting up. Our lives have been compromised by the significant consequences of this pandemic and we all feel the cumulative and collective stress and worry. We’ve figured out various ways to cope this year, and with good reason to do so; if a pandemic doesn’t give us license to do whatever we have to do to keep our chin above water to get through this, then nothing does!
Consider what habits you have leaned into this year as a survival mechanism. Are you overeating? Drinking too much or too often? Not exercising enough or at all? Exercising too much? Are you escaping into social media? Doomscrolling? (Never heard the word until this year . . . guilty!) Too much TV or gaming or shopping? Or just numbing out in whatever way works best for you?
Hey, I’ve been through some intense stuff in the last seven years and I’m all for cutting yourself some slack. We need to take the edge off here and there. Because it works!
Until it no longer works. Until it no longer supports your overall health and well-being. Until you can’t deny that it has become more detrimental to you than supportive.
Might you have overindulged too frequently this year? Might you have lost some of your focus and commitment? Might you be telling yourself “I need to cut back” or “I need to get back into my routine?” If so, I am right there with you.
As we move forward into the uncertainty of 2021, consider how you might change some of your own behaviors, or habits that you’ve fallen into that undeniably aren’t supporting you to be your best self. Is there really a good reason to wait if you’re dragging yourself down? You can start right now:
- Make a list of what actions or habits are not supporting you. Check in with yourself, only you know what is and isn’t working. Pick one or two things to focus on. Then, make a plan; how, when, and where you will implement this change. When discomfort sets in, and it will, look to your plan.
- Make small changes, tiny changes even. Think of it as building a foundation for lasting change.
- Set clear and attainable goals (again, think small!) For example, “I need to get back to my old routine of an hour a day six days a week” may not be the most helpful goal to start. “I am going to exercise three times a week for 20 minutes” would be more realistic. Once you’ve integrated that into your routine, add to it. Keep building on it.
- Find inspiration from blogs, articles, books and carefully curated social media. I have been listening to podcasts over the last several months, there is an amazing wealth of knowledge and inspiration that is out there! I credit some of that for helping push me into taking action.
- Find support if you need it. If you’re on Facebook, it has some really great groups if you are looking for a bigger community. Some people find accountability by sharing on social media. Or reach out to supportive friends. It’s icing on the cake if you have a supportive partner.
Keep in mind that good habits are tough to establish and bad habits are hard to break. Understand that at some point you won’t feel like doing whatever it is you’ve set out to do, or you will want to cave in to whatever it is that you are trying to avoid. It will happen. There will be discomfort in resisting the urge. If it happens, forgive yourself and pick up where you left off the next day. Keep following your plan, because it’s worth it. You’re worth it!
None of us knows what the future brings. We can only control how we choose to bring ourselves into the future. Time moves us all forward regardless. Your future self is waiting. . . how do you want to show up?
Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16+ years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at www.advancedathlete.com.