Whatever our expectations for the year were at the start of it most surely went right out the window when the pandemic engulfed us. Goals and plans were scrapped or put on indefinite hold while adapting to the rapidly evolving situation. Now that the lockdowns have lifted, and we are all tentatively looking around at our surroundings, how do we start getting back to living our lives? How do we get back on track with our goals for the year?
The phrase “the new normal” is everywhere nowadays and symbolizes that many of us won't be the same after this pandemic. We've had to adapt, and we possibly learned things about ourselves and our true priorities that have caused us to shift our mindsets. Perhaps the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year need to adapt as well to our so-called “new normal.” And that's ok. The important thing is that we continue to look ahead and get back to focusing on improving ourselves and our lives.
Regaining Our Health
Being stuck at home, out of our regular routine, and anxious, a lot of us have noticed our health and fitness taking a negative slide. If your health goals have faltered, getting back on track will help you physically as well as mentally.
The easiest way to get back on track with healthy eating patterns is to, well, make it easy. Keep your nutrition as simple as possible with whole foods that you can eat raw or require little cooking, like steamed vegetables or a stir fry. Even if you're still at home, consider meal prepping. Spending a little extra time on Sunday preparing your meals for the week will help you make better choices throughout the week, save you time, help you avoid restaurant crowds, and save you money on takeout or making individual meals.
If you've been telling yourself that you can't work out because the gyms are closed, or you're not comfortable in communal gym spaces, that's just an excuse. Toning, building muscle, increasing flexibility, and enhancing your cardiac health can all be done without a gym membership. Develop a calorie-burning routine at your local park, search for good jogging or cycling routes close to you, or download a free fitness app to guide you through exercises. If you want to stay inside, find a good workout program or two on YouTube and order yourself a set of resistance bands, a yoga mat, or handheld weights. You might even prefer working out outside of the gym even after they are open and deemed safe, which can have the added benefit of saving you money.
Maintain New Good Habits, Ditch the Bad
Learning to bake sourdough jokes aside, the lockdown forced us to get creative – either out of necessity or boredom. If you learned new skills, developed good habits, or found a new hobby, maintain those even when life starts picking up steam again. If you keep healthy habits or hobbies up, you'll reap the rewards long-term, physically and mentally. If possible, involve your friends or family; having a team with which to enjoy things together will help ensure you stick with them.
Alternatively, if you've developed negative habits, such as eating too much comfort food or not exercising, you can regain your positive habits. Start small and gradually build up to where you were before the lockdown. Just as you can involve your friends and family in enjoying positive things together, you can involve them in your efforts to improve and get back on track. They might need it too!
Finding the Motivation
Staying motivated can help refocus our attention away from stressful changes and towards a more hopeful future. It's possible that before the pandemic, you were on track with your goals and feeling pretty good about your path. Then the pandemic hit, and everything came to a crashing halt. Obstacles in life are to be expected, but nobody could've predicted the enormity of this one. With the sudden standstill, it's understandable that your motivation to restart your goals is lacking momentum. So, what can you do about it?
First and foremost, find you where you are today. We all have dealt with the pandemic in different ways, we've had to adapt, and many of us are doing things today we didn't imagine doing even a month ago. Take some time to reflect on where you're at now – how different is it than where you were when you first set your goals? Have your priorities changed? Perhaps you're not motivated because your goals no longer align with your purpose. If you need to, change your goals to reflect your new mindset.
Remember your “why.” Think back to why you set your goals and what you planned on achieving with them. If your reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will reflect that. Focusing on your “why” could help reignite your motivational spark.
Little accomplishments create big accomplishments. Build on small successes by breaking down your goals into mini-goals and taking one task at a time. As long as you're gaining forward movement, even if minuscule, your progress can create momentum and increase your motivation along with it.
A support system is paramount to sticking with goals. Connect with like-minded groups, friends, or family who can support you, whether in person or virtually.
Whether you are sticking with the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, or have established new ones post-lockdown, embrace the opportunities getting back on track will give you. Focus on what you need to do to ensure you can continue to live life to the fullest.