I am so excited to be back to my Monday blogs! A few weeks of website updates and changes had me in limbo so thank you for the patience and it is nice to be back with everyone. In pondering what December would focus on, I came across the quote that is the featured picture for this blog:
What if 2020 is the year that changes everything?
My guess is that when the quote was written, it was implying a positive change in the new year, exciting new adventures, and 365 days of possibilities. Fast forward eleven months and there is so much power in that quote that could never have been predicted so long ago.
2020 was the year that changed everything for all of us. We learned what social distancing truly is (isolating and lonely). We learned what mandatory masks looked like (and how to match them to our outfits). Zoom was no longer for the lucky few who utilized it to teach amazing graduate students online – it became our way of connecting. Businesses were closed, schools were closed, social activities were no longer available and my favorite west coast mouse took an extended vacation. Life slowed down for all of us in a way that was initially refreshing but now can feel suffocating. We thought it would end in June and now we are not sure when the end will come.
2020 can only be described as a surreal change from a global perspective, but what about for you specifically? What challenges did you have this year that became barriers or maybe growth? Change occurred overnight in March of 2020, but internal change often takes small steps to get to where we want to be.
In his new book, Atomic Habits, James Clear uses the example of an ice cube. Ice melts only when it hits 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Does that mean the energy required to raise the temperature of ice from 25 to 26 to 27 to 29 to 31 degrees doesn’t matter? Of course not. You may only see results when you hit 32 degrees, but you never would have seen the ice melt had you not done all the prior work.
“Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change,” says Clear, who researches and runs workshops on habit development. The problem: “People make a few small changes, fail to see a tangible result, and decide to stop. Once this kind of thinking takes over, it’s easy to let good habits fall by the wayside.” Clear, J. (2018)
As we look back at all the changes we were forced to make in 2020, what changes do you want to make moving forward? Life may never look the same for quite a while or ever. But it can be good and fulfilling through which you thrive.
This month I thought we could take a look at all of the forced changes of this year and begin to create changes of choice. Changes that move you closer to your dreams, your ideal situation, or even your ideal location. How you define change will be different than how I define change. We are both correct and both definitions are equally as important for our growth as individuals.
I have to admit that in some ways 2020 was very kind to me, but in other ways, it was one of the most painful years that I have had in a long time. I am a firm believer in creating a word of the year instead of resolutions. We will talk more about that later in the month, but my word for 2020 was Peace. My goal for 2020 was to pursue opportunities, relationships, and environments that promoted peace instead of stress. This was coming from a pretty chaotic year in 2019 in which peace was really needed.
The year started off fabulous and I was on track to achieve my focus. Then March 17, 2020, hit. I remember the date clearly since I found a level of irony in the fact that my town shut down on one of the most celebrated drinking days I have ever seen no matter where I have lived in this country. So on a day that most plan months in advance, we were all at home wondering what just happened and the implications of what was to come next.
We have all been stretched, challenged, tested, and left wondering how to make decisions this year. I do not feel anyone was exempt and speaking for myself, there is still a level of confusion as to how to best move forward most days. As a clinician, it was my job to hold space for my clients to process their fears, frustrations, and uncertainties while I was managing my own. Health issues, family issues, and significant changes within my business left me questioning as much as my clients were. Work was where I was able to find my stability because I could do what I did best – partnering with clients to achieve their goals.
But at the end of the day, the exhaustion level was present – emotionally and physically. Seven months later it is still there. It looks different and feels different, but it is still there. Self-care vacations have become productive home organizing staycations. My people are states away so the disconnect was present more than it has ever been.
Through it all, I continue to hold onto hope that I can impact change on what is within my control. Small steps will get me where I want to be. Perhaps where I thought I would be by now if the world had not turned upside down.
I can choose to stay right where I am at or I can choose to change to get where I want to be. The decision is mine just like it is yours. Every day we have the privilege to choose which way we want to go.
Which way do you want to choose? The path of growth, energy, and focus that will lead to change? Or the path of least resistance that is safe, but will keep you in the same uncomfortable space you are in right now?
Check back next week as we dive into setting goals that are realistic and achievable so you can see the change you are seeking.
If you need help finding your “why” so you can establish the goals you desire to achieve the change you are seeking – let’s chat! I provide online therapy in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, California, and Pennsylvania. I’m proud to offer online therapy for helping professionals, online therapy for busy professionals, and Therapy for Therapists™. I specialize in treating imposter syndrome, burnout, and anxiety using The Daring Way™ and offer online workshops to clients who want to overcome shame. Contact me today and let’s be rockstars together!
As always, take care of you and know that you are not alone –