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2 Questions to pivot your goals while sheltering-in-place

Six more weeks in quarantine. I’m not going to get through this.

The first weekend of Shelter-in-Place felt like a deep, two-day sigh of relief. The normal rhythm of urgency died down to a quiet pulse, and it hit me: I finally have the bandwidth to finish sewing curtains for the living room.

I started the process of measuring, ironing and pinning. It felt good to accomplish a discreet, tangible goal. Three hours later I was fed-up. I wanted to be done.

That’s exactly how I feel about quarantine. I want it to be over.

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Quarantine threw my goals into an open blender and splattered them across my kitchen ceiling. Staring down four more weeks in isolation – and who knows what at the end of April – I’m digging into the ‘why’ underlying my goals and identifying What is the right thing to do, right now?

At first, pivoting on my goals felt overwhelming – like I was letting myself down. In week one, I planned day by day. By week two, I found new goal inspiration left and right. Week three, I pushed myself to be more productive than ever. But new routines at home have also brought clarity to the underlying reasons for some goals, sparking new insights for moving forward.

Below are two questions to reframe and pivot your goals:

1. What are your life roles?

On the cusp of spring, now is a great time for a bird’s eye view of your primary roles and responsibilities. Bonus points if you can use fun descriptions for each area of your life.

Some of mine include…

  • Adventurer-in-Chief (Creating innovative, fun experiences for family and friends)
  • Community Connector (Reaching out to family, friends, people from church, the homeless and sharing stories on the blog)
  • Rambunctious Researcher (Leaping and bounding forward on research projects that can be done well remotely)
  • Audacious Learner (New acquiring and refining personal and professional skills)
  • Bodacious biohacker (Refusing to count calories or weight on the scale, while focusing on healthy habits)

The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.Epictetus

2. What can you control, and what is out of your control?

Think about your life roles for just a minute or two – is there something that would be particularly life-giving for the next month? If one of your big goals is on pause, look at the other roles in your life. Maybe there’s a dormant goals that would be perfect for this month.

Here’s a personal example: One of my goals for spring 2020 was to host more dinner parties. That goal is no longer in my control! Tabling that idea, my partner and I have had a boatload of fun taking on home-making projects. The next time we host a party, we’ll have more creative, serene and uplifting aesthetics to share.

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With more autonomy over your schedule, you may feel more driven than you have in a long time. There’s no excuse, right? It’s tempting to have sky-high expectations for a super-productive month.

Time is our most precious asset. Let’s spend it on the goals we can control and focus on the right priority, for right now.

Focus on what matters – avoid taking on too much.

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