I just finished my annual planning day, and am very excited to share with you some reflections about how I adjusted to this crazy year, to make it one that I can look back on with gratitude instead of negativity. Although I’m typically a beaver-golden retriever personality style (CS on the DISC) who likes my routines once I find effective ones, I do experiment with habits to keep my life interesting–tossing out what doesn’t serve me well and incorporating what does. That became increasingly important in 2020 when so many things turned upside-down, and the tendency was to focus on what we didn’t have instead of what choices we still had/have.
Hoping that my list might help you see how you made some pivots for the better this year, too–or ones that might influence the goals you will be setting for yourself this week for a new year’s fresh start.
- Creative exercising. When the gyms closed, it was a real let-down as I use my gym time as me-time, personal-development time (with podcasts/audio books) and fitness time–then it was gone! I walked my neighborhood every possible way, hiked local Badger Mtn and bicycled more than usual, found The Body Project videos on-line to exercise to, and escaped the Tri-Cities to some beautiful place in the NW for hiking with a mask on.
- Re-upping the diet. While I didn’t gain 19 lbs in COVID-19, I still got to a weight that didn’t make me feel my best–mostly from so many sedentary Zoom appointments. In late October, I re-committed to losing that extra weight, and now need to push to get to a healthy weight in early 2021.
- Chiropractic care. After a few years of unresolvable neck/shoulder tension, including trying massage therapy, I bit the bullet and walked into my local chiropractor. I was nervous, and it’s unsettling at first to get adjusted, but it really made the difference to getting a nagging physical issue dealt with.
- Dental surgery. Another thing I was putting off was getting a gum gap in the back of my mouth addressed so that infections would not creep in. I dread the dentist as it is, but this one was a much bigger oral surgery. Glad I did it, and it made sense to do during quarantine when I wasn’t giving in-person presentations.
- Expensive pillow. Yes, I bought a $100 pillow. I knew the research was saying how sleep was even more important during lockdown than it was before; so I invested in a quality pillow to better ensure quality sleep–to attack each day out of abundance of rest.
- Clean comedians. I needed to laugh more since I couldn’t laugh in person with friends like in past years. On Sirius XM radio, there is a LaughU channel that I turned on first whenever I got into my car (which was much less often). People probably wondered about me, as I laughed out loud while alone in my vehicle. But it was good for mental health!
- Social connections. With everyone behind their own closed doors, friendships suffered. Networking events ended. Fundraisers went virtual. My wife and I found some friends who were willing to let us into their bubble and get together outside or in limited capacity restaurants in the fall. This was HUGE for exiting isolation for a couple hours here and there and laughing/commiserating with friends–especially because we became empty nesters this year.
8. Coaching. Since I’m a coach, and I believe everyone needs a coach to maximize their potential, I re-upped having a coach, too. I chose the coach who got me started in the business back in 2011, and utilized him as a sounding board all year every other week.
9. Podcasts vs. audio books. I went back and forth throughout the year on these 2 ways to learn through earphones. Podcasts give me short burst of ideas and inspiration and keep me current, while I can go deeper on a topic by listening to an audio book. I discovered Mid-Columbia Library’s Libby app for renting audio books for free, as well as utilizing my one credit per month on Audible.
10. Certifications. With no in-person conferences this year–where I normally light up my creativity–I had to find another way to obtain skills to be more of a help to my clients and prospective clients. I chose to get 2 certifications virtually: Extended DISC (behavioral style) and Emotional Intelligence Quotient. Now I can offer the assessment and the debrief to an individual client or a team going (growing) forward–2 more tools in my facilitator toolbelt.
11. Outsourcing. One of the key ways I know I must do to scale my business as a solopreneur is to build a team, and it starts with outsourcing to contractors who are way better at their craft than I am on that aspect of my business. Instead of sloshing through tasks that take me twice as long, I continue to find contractors to relieve some of my load.
12. Office re-organization. Knowing I was “stuck at home” for an undetermined period of time, in late March I decided to move the layout of my office to create more space to spread out–and for a better background for Zoom calls (though it’s fun to put virtual backgrounds of past vacations behind me). What a difference! Everything is more accessible! I also ended having a rented office across town, and utilized FUSE (a local co-working space) for whenever I needed a conference room.
13. Thriving While Teleworking. Responding to the need in the community, I got a lot of “mileage” from developing this seminar in early April, using it for big and small organizations, helping people be healthy as they began their tele-working “new normal”. I added humor and tried to show how much I cared about them being successful at home.
14. Quarterly planning. With everything seeming to be changing so quickly, I decided to add quarterly planning retreats to my calendar in July and October, booking a room in a local hotel, and spending time recapping the highlights of the last quarter, and goal-setting what I could actually accomplish in the next 90 days. I will definitely keep this new habit, adding it to my daily, weekly, monthly and annual review/previews.
15. Thematic goal for the new year. Each year I pick a word or phrase to be my theme for the upcoming year–something visionary and compelling that draws me into it, all year long. After reflecting on what went well and what I struggled with in 2020, I chose a theme for 2021 to specifically go after that. Then I made 3 objectives under which to set action items/next steps to keep chipping away at throughout the year. A friend told me about Notion, an app for tracking goals–so I’m trying it.
16. Grocery-delivery. At the beginning and end of the COVID year, we utilized grocery delivery, which saved both shopping time and germs from encroaching on our lives. So convenient to having it dropped at the door!
17. Date nights. We are officially empty nesters, with my daughter graduating virtually in 2020. Whoo-hoo! However, I still love my young adult kiddos and decided to do date nights with them, like I do with Laura, every 10 days or so–even if it’s just takeout food and playing a game.
18. Being generous. I fully embraced the non-profit moves to online fundraisers, participating in as many silent auctions as possible. I feel everyone wins with an auction: the donor of the item, me (the purchaser of the item), and the non-profit. Got some fun stuff, too. This I added in addition to giving regularly to my church and a handful of other non-profits in town.
Hope those were at least interesting, if nothing else, to read through–and that you saw where you, too, tried new things to either cope or thrive when so many fun things were off-limits. Let’s dialogue about yours. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Happy New Year! Time to turn the corner!