What in the Hell-o Happened?
In January 2020, like many of you, I had the best intentions to get so many great things done. “2020, my year of Vision,” I told myself.
For months, I kept on target. But gradually, something started pulling at me — overwhelming me. Maybe you experienced it too?
I have now come through the valley, and I’m creating a strategic journey back up the other side — into the Light.
It’s so rewarding when you can look back and use the stumbles as learning opportunities to move you forward again.
The Best of Intentions
On January 4th, 2020, I started publishing an article per week on Medium. I was still figuring it out but intended to ramp it up to two articles per week, then up to three. But I had to pace myself. My energy wasn’t up for two or three articles per week yet.
Then, COVID hit, but I kept publishing. I stayed on track for months —but I didn’t “ramp-up” as I’d hoped. Never-the-less, I was so proud of myself for sticking with it.
Four months into this successful run, some life-stuff intervened, and I missed a week. I was bummed to have broken my streak, but I jumped back in and published the following week.
Oops! There Goes Another. . .
Then I missed another week — and another. I let life overwhelm me for seven weeks. I was so disappointed with myself. Why did I drop the ball? And worse, why didn’t I get back up — right away? I beat myself up about it a while.
Get over it! I told myself. Just jump back in. Everyone knows you’re human, in theory. Just get back out there.
Yo, Mojo! Where’d Ya Go?
I got back on the writing wagon. . . for three entire weeks, then missed almost four. Then I was back for two weeks — with two of my more popular articles. Then — Poof! I was gone for the year.
So. . . Why then. . . did I completely fumble the ball?
Honestly, I‘m not sure exactly what happened. I kept trying to find my motivation. Somehow, my mojo slipped out for a vacation.
I later learned — (from Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, by BJ Fogg, Ph.D.) it’s not all about motivation, as we tend to believe. A few other factors are playing into building habits.
No room here to elaborate. You’ll need to read this excellent book or visit his website.
But this information came to me much later.
It took me a while, but I finally remembered a book I’d read the previous year, The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, by Gay Hendricks, Ph.D.
He tells us about “the upper limit problem” — a self-sabotage issue we inadvertently bring about just when we are making some of our best progress and reaching our dreams. Then we go and muck it up.
The Big Leap is about how we do this to ourselves and how to overcome it. It’s one of my favorite self-development books. I listen to it or read it about twice each year. Amazingly, I pull more out of it each time.
As I mentioned earlier, it took me a while to remember “the upper limit problem” concept. Meanwhile, I struggled to pull myself back up.
What’s Up with This?
What is wrong with me? I wondered. Why can’t I pull myself together and get this stuff done?
Life started to feel. . . just. . . weird. There was a strange sort of drag happening — a heaviness “in the air” all around. Not physically — but mentally, emotionally, maybe even on a spiritual level. It felt like this COVID-thing was wearing everyone down — even me.
My article, “The World Feels Different Now,” mentioned this back in May 2020.
With my mojo misplaced, I started falling behind on other things — feeling overwhelmed. Looking back, I now realize it may have been a short bout with depression. I’d heard others were battling something similar.
What Puzzled Me Most. . .
I was already at home most of the time when all this started last spring. I lost my J.O.B. over 8-years earlier when I became chemically sensitive, and my health took a dive.
Due to the ever-present synthetic chemical fragrances and other toxic products people routinely use and wear, I’ve had to wear a mask when around most other folks — way before it was cool.
My point is, because of where I already was — in a redirected career and a modified quarantine — the pandemic shut-downs, in theory, shouldn’t have affected me as intensely as others. My biggest adaptation was learning to order groceries for pick-up or delivery.
Beating the COVID-Blues
So why were the COVID-blues affecting me as much as they did? If I could figure out why, then I could fix it — heal it.
Maybe it was because of my emotional sensitivity to others in the vicinity. Or perhaps an overall energy-shift within the population.
I had picked up on something — perhaps a collective struggle of navigating the strange, disorienting heaviness I mentioned earlier.
Cool. Maybe it’s not just me.
I wondered how we could overcome this.
We cannot let this pull us down! We need to be reaching for better-feeling thoughts — looking for and focusing on all the positives we can find. Breathe. Pace. Flow. Gratitude!
I mentioned breath and pace in another article I wrote last year, “Finding Our Calm In Troubled Times.”
As 2020 Drew to a Close, I Made a Promise to Myself
I had to regain control of my life and my goals again. My sanity depended on it.
“2020 got so derailed — Please, let’s not go there again!
As we begin 2021, I promise to re-examine where I stumbled, how it was possible, and why — and fix it so I don’t repeat it. I am re-committing to my AMP mastermind course — catching back up, keeping up, and digging deep. I’ll work smarter.
“I’m re-examining my goals and routines — course-correcting where necessary, and scheduling the smaller tasks to consistantly build and accomplish those goals. And I’m ready to dive-in and finish specific courses I have. I will implement what I learn — empowering me to create the Future Self I want to become.”
How could I fulfill this promise to myself and re-emerge with renewed purpose?
Slippery Little Rascal
I wish I could blame COVID-craziness for my derailment. But honestly, while the pandemic certainly doesn’t help and it’s caused many distractions, I have to take some responsibility.
I allowed a few great daily habits to slip away — habits that would have buffered me a little from the downward-pulling lull. No more!
Ultimately, I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps — or at least those tabs on the back of my plushy-warm slippers.
I suppose my frustration and disappointment with how far off-course I’d become had to sink in — and really sting. Only then could I dig deep enough and find the grit I needed to make some changes.
I adopted a word duo for 2021: Discipline and Focus.
It took a major dose of self-administered determination and discipline to thwart a repeat of the 2020 doldrums.
I started with a refresher on the upper limit problem — listening to Dr. Hendricks’ book again.
January 2021 Has Been My Re-Boot Month
Goals and routines — re-examined and course-corrected. ✅
Mastermind program — I’m plugged back in and caught up. ✅
I choose to make the most out of the remaining year of it.
My course-corrected goals are written in my journal, where I see them on paper, daily. ✅
Morning and evening routines — revamped to support everything I’m working toward. ✅
I’ll continue tweaking throughout the year.
Upgraded daily writing habits. ✅
My accountability partners — Reaffirmed connections and goals. ✅
I rely on their feedback to keep me on track. I get to do the same for them.
What’s Your Frog for Today?
I read or listened to over a dozen books in 2020. By reading — you feed your mind. This gives you valuable life tools for creating the Future Self you want to become.
I’ve read another great book: Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating by Brian Tracy. It’s based on Mark Twain’s quote —which basically urges us to get the important tasks done and out of the way as soon as possible. First thing in the day.
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” ~Mark Twain
Brian Tracy’s book offers excellent advice and doable steps toward overcoming procrastination. This helps you complete those daunting important tasks. His tips also follow Stephen Covey’s (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®) concept of the big-rocks first lesson, as demonstrated in the short video below.
Exiting the Storm
I don’t know for certain if the worst of the pandemic is behind us or not. I’m optimistic. I believe the future is looking brighter on the horizon already. It’s my hope we can all come away from the last year with valuable new lessons learned. Always look for the lessons.
We have more control over things in our life than we might believe — including how we choose to see the world, experience the events around us, and how we choose to react.
I choose to focus on how I can improve my life for the better.
Although I didn’t intend it — I let my derailment happen. But this also means I have some control to fix it.
I’m frequently reminded — these things happen FOR us, not TO us.
I was asleep at the switch and didn’t realize it. Although, in my defense — in our defense, the source was rather nebulous and unfamiliar. I think that’s how it snagged so many of us, unprepared. But I’m wise to it now.
I’ve developed new strategies to help me navigate these weird times we’re living in. Supportive family, friends, and my accountability partners are the reason I didn’t completely implode. They helped me stay forward-thinking. They reminded me what’s important. They nudged me when I needed it. And, they helped me stay afloat and course-correct. I’m back.
How will you inoculate your spirit against repeats of the 2020 doldrums? What positive active steps are you taking to improve your life in 2021?
Stay positive. Be good to yourself. Get outside for some fresh air when you can. Keep moving forward. And please be kind to others. We are all trying to do the best we know how to do, with what we think we know, and with the tools at our disposal. Be Well,
Paula High-Young is a freelance holistic health and personal development copywriter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. She’s also fluent in holistic wellness coaching, herbal medicinals, Reiki, and essential oils. You can find her website at HolisticWellnessWriters.com and connect with her on LinkedIn, at Holistic Wellness Writers on Facebook, on Flickr, and sometimes on Twitter.
Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, by BJ Fogg, Ph.D.
The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, by Gay Hendricks, Ph.D. https://hendricks.com/
Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating by Brian Tracy
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People® by Stephen R. Covey