Because let’s face it, 2020 so far has been a write off. Zach Margolius spoke to the experts to understand how we can all set achievable goals for the back-end of the year, and make the most of it.
For many of us, the last few months have been characterised by uncertainty, introspection, and the option to wear pyjamas for the entire working day judgment-free. But with much of Australia now returning to some version of normality (apologies, Melbourne), should we just hit the ‘reset’ button on 2020 and start again?
Please, DO NOT go recycling those doomed New Year’s Resolutions and hash tagging #NewFinancialYearNewMe on Instagram. Because according to a 2018 Statista study, only 8% of people actually follow through with them.
So how do we do it?
Invest time in goals and planning, and break-up with their ugly stepsister ‘resolutions.’
Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Maria Scoda says as restrictions have forced habits of over-indulging and under-exercising into our lifestyles, “Setting some goals for the remainder of 2020 as we begin to loosen restrictions and return to the new normal might be helpful to get us going again. “
Life Coach, Simone Franchi doesn’t believe in resolutions either, and instead advises his clients looking to escape toxic relationships after extended periods at home, or seeking a career change, “It’s a good time to plan, to create something new and to move towards what’s important,” for the second half of the year.
How to approach goal setting for 2020, and beyond
Franchi says, “Thinking about the goal has to give a certain emotion. That spark that comes from something that is believed to be real and true.“ And it begins with the right energy. In practical terms, “the energy is what you need to get to the gym or go the beach and run, or focus on business.“ No emotion, no success.
Goals work in tandem
Consider that results from one goal may have spin-off effects on others. Take health and fitness: “If someone is healthy in the body, they may likely have stronger self-esteem than someone who is less healthy with habits of eating junk or drinking. Someone who has a routine of fitness and movement is likely more into taking action and more energised.”
Often we don’t hit our goals because they’re just too damn big to begin with. “If they’re too big, they’re not feasible and we’ll never reach them.” So stay realistic, start small.
Scoda suggests, “Incorporating a social element to achieving your goals, where you have connection with others, might also give you more motivation. While Covid-19 has diminished the opportunity for group activities, many people have still managed to incorporate social interaction in their lives by joining online classes and discussions.”
Make it personal
Franchi says if you plan for more time to connect with yourself but struggle getting your head around meditation, then do something you actually enjoy. Whether it’s pouring over an engrossing novel, or getting greased-up in the garage fixing 80’s muscle cars, “If time passes by and everything else stops while you’re doing it, that’s meditation.“ Additionally, “we’re more likely to persist with and achieve our goals if we enjoy doing them, “ says Scoda.
Finding meaning post-isolation
With an eternity to self-reflect, Franchi’s clients have begun focusing more energy on pursuing meaning and contentment. He says some are successful corporates but, “they don’t have meaning because it’s all about work, relationships at work, and they hide their emotions because of certain ethics and cultures.”
Often this meaning and purpose can be found in the form of new interests. Franchi forecasts many Aussies will be looking to turn “passion into profession” after extended time road-testing potential side-hustles.
For Caroline Ossowski, a dormant passion for art unearthed itself serendipitously during a period of adversity. Emigrating from Germany to live with her Perth-based husband, Caroline is a qualified architect who’s struggled for work opportunities in Australia, further magnified by the current economic climate. “I quit my job just before Covid-19 and thought I would find another one quite easily but unfortunately when Covid-19 came, I had a couple of interviews that got cancelled, so I was unemployed for four months, ” says Caroline.
Admitting the financial strain was “really tough,” she attributes her husband, Todd’s insightful Christmas gift as the spark that both helped her stay positive and ignite her artistic fire. “My husband gave me an acrylic and watercolour painting set for Christmas. I was a little bit surprised because I had never painted acrylic or water colour on canvas in my life.”
Feeling down after weeks in isolation, she stumbled into a daily paint challenge on YouTube and decided to dust off the unopened paints, triggering a renewed sense of confidence. “I became better and better from every painting. So it became a little bit of an addiction to do it every day, and you have motivation to get up and paint one picture at least.”
After receiving rave reviews from family and friends on social media, even agreeing to sell some of her eye-catching creations, Caroline was inspired to explore her passion further but doesn’t wish to feel obligated to pursue it.
“It would be nice if it becomes a little side business where I still sell them (art pieces) and have a little bit of freedom, but I don’t want to dream too big because it’s a hobby and I want to keep it as a hobby.”
Asked if she has any advice for those looking to follow a new path at the halfway mark of 2020, she says, “Just stay consistent. Don’t think about failing, just never forget the fun in it and continue doing it. If you give up straight away, then it will never work out.”
Zach Margolius is a Perth-based lifestyle writer and blogger. Find him on Twitter @zachjaymargo.