What did you hit pause on over the last 2 years?

I was at a wedding recently where someone described their move to a country town as their ‘Pandemic Pause’. It got me thinking about how much Covid has shaped not only our day-to-day activities, but also those big life decisions. Our pandemic world has caused a contrast of reactions: either it was the push you needed to change your situation OR it was a time when you hit pause on making any decisions.

For those of us who struggle to make decisions, it provided a bit of a ‘get outta jail’ card and gave us a valid excuse for holding off on making a life choice. You couldn’t possibly change jobs or meet someone or move anywhere during a pandemic, right?! To a certain extent, this may have been true. You may feel like you had no other choice to stay still and wait it out.

How do you move on from your ‘Pandemic Pause’?

Moving out of your ‘pandemic pause’ doesn’t always involve drastic changes (although it may eventually lead to this). Instead, it can begin with small sustainable commitments to yourself and your future self. In a very short space of time, you can totally change your life and the circumstances you currently are in for the better through consistent action.

The very first step is getting clear on what you really want. This requires less action and doing and more time for being still and reflecting. We often revert straight to our logic mind to sort our problems. and don’t get me wrong the logical mind is a very useful tool. However, if you really want to kick start your 2022 vision, the power is all in the creative and imaginative mind. A great question I recently read by Glennon Doyle is ‘what is the truest most beautiful story about your life that you can imagine?

Just take a moment and read that question again.

What a wonderful way to shift your thinking.

The 5 to 1 reflection

This ‘5 to 1’ reflection exercise is a great way to get the creative juices going and to help you free yourself from your pandemic pause situation. 

  • 5- List 5 people you want to spend more time with over the next few months. Who are the people that lift your spirits that inspire you and support you? You want to make sure you are spending your energy with the right people.
  • 4- List 4 things you want to achieve in the next 6 months. This can be a combination of personal and professional goals or areas you want to improve. In particular, consider some areas that you have neglected because of the pandemic
  • 3- List 3 feelings that you want to lean into more in the next 6 months. Maybe you want to feel more joy and fun or perhaps its greater calmness in your day to day world. Remember; when those thoughts are connected to a feeling, it will call us to action and create the results we see in our lives.
  • 2- List 2 non-negotiable tasks you are going to do for yourself every day that will enable you to tap into those feelings you mentioned in step 3. Think small and achievable to increase your success rate.
  • 1- Your Mantra; jot down your motto for the next 6 months. What is going to be the phrase or sentence that you want to focus your thoughts on as you work towards some of these goals?

This ‘5 to 1’ list is nothing too original, but it provides a great starting point when you start to feel the urge to change or evolve. Display it somewhere- maybe next to your work laptop or as a screensaver on your phone. You might want to write your motto on some post-its to stick around the house. This helps keep your brain focused on the overall goal or vision.

It’s important to recognise that you might not achieve everything on the list. Ticking off the list in a certain period is not the real aim of this. It is simply a structure to allow your mind to imagine and think creatively. It is also a reminder of why you are doing what you are doing and brings you back to the big picture of the life you want to create. This 5-4-3-2-1 is also a great activity that you can tweak and use at work. It helps teams reconnect and come together on a shared vision or goal, especially as we move back into the office after our extended work from home stint.

The most important thing to remember as we make our way through 2022 is to be kind to ourselves. It’s ok if you weren’t ‘kicking goals’ in 2021. However, if you are feeling a little discontent with your current situation, take this as a good sign. It means your imaginative mind is just itching to be used and is given you a little nudge that you are made for great things if you dare to believe in yourself!