Navigating 2020

Surely, you’ve seen the memes.

The ones that show how misguided we were as we exclaimed, “2020 is going to be my year.”

I’m a huge New Year’s Resolutions guy. I make detailed goals following the S.M.A.R.T. acronym (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based). I make them for work, writing, fitness and spiritual and personal growth.

None of those goals were made with me thinking “hmmm … but say there’s a worldwide pandemic, will this goal still work?”

To get an idea of how challenging 2020 has been, imagine balling up the piece of paper with your 2020 goals on it.

Just as you are about to shoot it – and honor the time-tested tradition of yelling “Kobe” as you release – you’re reminded that even that is a source of pain. Bryant was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame posthumously on Saturday, months after he died in a helicopter crash.

So what are to do with 2020?

Our circumstances may not change, at least not for the foreseeable future.

But we can.

That’s the theme of Dr. Spencer Johnson’s book Who Moved My Cheese, a quick and easy read about how four lab mice – Hem, Haw, Sniff and Scurry – react when the cheese gets moved to a different part of the maze.

Maybe you are like me, trying to adjust to a new reality; needing to modify 2020 goals for a season and implement 2020 Quarantined S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Here are my three steps to navigating 2020.

The first step is to lament.

Maybe you’ve been hit especially hard by COVID-19. You’ve lost a loved one, lost a business or lost a job. Or maybe you didn’t lose those things personally, but someone close to you did. And you are mourning with those who mourn.

Maybe the loss you feel isn’t quite as bad, but you’re still feeling the loss of everyday freedoms, and you’re starting to go crazy quarantined in your home. Part of moving forward is taking the time to properly grieve what’s been lost. And since everyone has a different story, it’s impossible to put a timetable on how long the lament should last. Skipping this step to run toward productivity could have negative effects on your mental and emotional health.

The second step is to re-assess.

This is the stage I’m in now. I’m taking stock of my life. I have less access to exercise equipment – and restricted mobility – but I have more time to exercise. Such and such goal from my 2020 Resolutions doesn’t make much sense to pursue right now, but I do have more time for my reading goals and writing goals. I’m taking inventory of my life. In that process, I’ve been able to realize how to better navigate these circumstances with a positive outlook.

The third step is to re-calculate.

I can either focus on what I can’t do or what I can do.

And just starting to set new Quarantine 2020 Modified Goals has been invigorating for me. Yes, I can still finish writing this book. Yes, I can still lose five pounds by summer (although all these snacks around the house are proving to be a formidable opponent.) Some goals have been put on hold, of course, but others are still within reach. And although not one of us would wish for these circumstances, it may even allow you and I to pursue some goals that we wouldn’t have been able to pursue otherwise.

We’d love to hear from you. How are you navigating 2020?



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