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Taking Back Control Despite the Pandemic
Like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended my routine. Experts say it takes over two months to develop a new habit; with that in mind, I am asking myself how quickly I can achieve success with self-management. As the pandemic wore on, self-management became difficult for me. Staying up late, sleeping in, binge-watching shows, making unhealthy snack choices – these are things I’m cringing at remembering. I normally eat healthy, but one cheat day turned into too many cheat days to count, my regular workouts became sporadic, and I procrastinated when it came to tasks. Structure and routine were gone, and I felt as though things were spiraling out of control. That’s when I decided to take actionable steps to improve myself.
Whether the pandemic is receding or surging, it’s clear to me now that I need to acknowledge the pandemic while taking steps to improve myself. By giving myself goals to work towards and creating good routines, I can also help my family. Where do we begin when we need to start “adulting” again and set goals?
- Take a Deep Calming Breath
Looking at the big picture of what I need to do in order to regain control of my life, at first I feel overwhelmed. But then I realize how easy it is to jot down a list for running errands or going grocery shopping. The simple act of writing things down helps me accomplish what I need in an efficient manner. It just takes a few minutes. I take a deep breath and feel ready for the next step.
- Make a List of What You Want to Do or Change
You’ve heard this advice before, right? Make a to do list. But this time, for each “to do” item, make sure you think about details to make it “actionable.” In this way, you can easily have a detailed plan to achieve success.
- Create an Action Plan
I start my action plan by creating a vision board or writing actionable goals down in a journal. These are both great places to start when creating a plan of action. We can give ourselves deadlines for completing actionable goals and ways to measure whether our goal has been met. If our goal is to save money, we can track our spending and decide where to make necessary changes to our spending habits. If we are trying to eat healthier, we can keep a food journal to help keep us on track. If we want to lose weight, we can give ourselves an attainable goal of losing a small number of pounds in 6 weeks by both committing to working out regularly and eating healthy food.
Adjust Deadlines as Needed
There is no reason to panic when a deadline is approaching. These are your goals, and you have control over them. Deadlines can be adjusted or used as a gauge to see how close you are to reaching your goal. If you see how much progress you have made, it can motivate you to keep working towards the goal you have set for yourself. Whether your goal is to be more present, spend more quality time with the family, or perhaps save money for a rainy day, keep pushing toward your goal. Everyone has setbacks – it’s important to acknowledge that and press on towards your goal.
Look at your action plan — do you need to adjust your goals or timeline? Make the necessary changes needed to continue onward towards your objective. The path to get there might change, but keep persevering and you will reach it!
Self-manage Your Way to Success
Managing others can be easier than managing yourself. It can take far more determination and self-discipline to self-manage. For some people it may be effortless, but for others, it may take more incentives and a great support team.
Self-management helps students feel that they have control over their behavior. Recently, my adult son told me that he felt he had no control over his life when he was younger. I believe this is why he acted out so much as a child. If SEL had been a part of his curriculum, perhaps he would have felt empowered and more in control. He would have learned how to control his anger and express his feelings in a productive way rather than acting out. Finding out how to best achieve his goals would hopefully have been easier as well.
Now that I have my actionable list of goals in mind, I feel empowered and in control. I have my pencil and paper out and am about to start writing my “to do” list and an action plan. My actionable goals will include healthy eating, exercise, and being more present. The pandemic and other problems may wax and wane, but I am determined to achieve success regardless.
How do you get back on track when you have been derailed?