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Typically, people and organizations set their objectives at the start of the new year. However, the coronavirus pandemic presents a unique opportunity to establish new goals. In fact, if you’re not using this time to establish and reach new goals (or at least rethink your old ones), you could be left in the dust when life starts to return to normal. Why not use this time to your advantage?
Before you get to goal setting, you should know that establishing new targets amidst a pandemic isn’t the same as writing out new resolutions before the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31. If you plan to use this time to establish better habits and reach new goals, you need to use a different approach.
While it’s tempting to jump right in, it’s important you have a solid base before establishing any new goals. Prior to turning your attention to anything else, take stock of your current situation to make sure you’re secure during this uncertain time. Be honest with yourself as you examine the protections you have in place for your family, finances, and business.
Due to the current state of the economy, small businesses, in particular, are at risk right now. If you have any doubts, seek legal advice for questions regarding issues such as employment law and contracts and how those things may have changed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
As you review your current situation, this is also a good time to note any bad habits that might hold you back from achieving your new goals. Since the start of the pandemic, many people have spent more time on their smartphones. With much of the world at home, screen time has dramatically increased across demographics. While scrolling Instagram and checking for new tweets may seem like innocent distractions, these habits can quickly turn into a smartphone addiction. According to Bradley University, Americans spend an average of 5.7 hours on their smartphones every day. If that sounds like you, just imagine how much you could accomplish if you put that time toward achieving your new goals. Success will likely mean stepping away from the screen or, at the very least, limiting the time you spend looking at it.
With an understanding of your current situation and any bad habits in check, you’re ready to establish and reach new goals. Regardless of where you set your sights, flexibility is essential.
Goal setting during the coronavirus pandemic is like walking across an icy parking lot. You may know where you want to go, but it’s likely you’ll need to make adjustments for how you get there.
At first glance, your path may seem clear. Then, you’ll step on a patch of black ice and need to catch yourself before you fall. In normal times, you’re able to set your goals with some basic guarantees in mind. In terms of the icy parking lot, perhaps you know the maintenance man salted it.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, however, there are fewer givens. What you could count on in the past may no longer apply. That uncertainty makes flexibility critical. Set your goals with the understanding that they may need to change. As you work toward them, monitor your progress, and don’t be afraid to pivot if something isn’t working.
Like flexibility, communication is vital for establishing and reaching new goals during the coronavirus pandemic. Success doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and you will likely need to work with others to achieve your objectives.
Whether you’re leading during these uncertain times or trying to fulfill your responsibilities to the team, clear communication is a must. As your team establishes new goals and starts to work toward them, it should be understood that the organization is adapting as its learning.
If you’re a leader, be aware that team members are likely feeling anxious at this time. The best way to reassure them and reduce anxiety is with prompt and balanced communication.
Both leaders and team members should be wary of news sources. Harvard Business Review contributors Martin Reeves, Nikolaus Lang, and Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak suggest that organizations “don’t assume that information creates informedness.” When it comes to sharing news, they advise thinking critically and evaluating the source before acting on it.
At this point, you’re likely inspired to make something positive out of this situation and start using the coronavirus to establish and reach new goals. But as you start working toward your new goals, remember to go easy on yourself. You are learning how to function in a pandemic. This is an unprecedented situation.
While those facts shouldn’t hold you back from pursuing new targets, they should be a part of how you frame your overall perspective. Much like transforming a bad day at work, you can acknowledge your situation while still controlling how you feel about it.
Above all, set and work toward goals with a resilient mindset. Even in the face of unpredictable challenges, people and organizations can survive and thrive with the right approach in place.