I am not sure who else needs to hear this but the pandemic is slowly but surely taking over our mind and is hijacking our energy.
2020 was all about adjusting to a sudden drastic shift in our daily life of a world as we have known it only so far. It may sound strange, but the pandemic as it arrived came with a weird curiosity for me whether the world would finally slow down and become more conscious and connected with itself: All over the sudden it seemed we all looked through a convergent lens focusing on what is secure for us. The extra time with family and friends, the little things like a chat with the supermarket cashier mattered more. I felt calm and relieved knowing there are not thousands of flights taking off at the same time into the sky and employees were now not rushing to offices at high heart rate with their coffee in one hand and the laptop in the other. Experiencing the pandemic in my home in the center of Munich, despite it is very calm and quiet, I felt the energy a few streets further calming down as traffic subsided. As I started a morning routine of 5am meditations for around 70 min and focused on my Coaching business I thought I have a great plan to spend the pandemic meaningfully.
However, as time passed, even the strongest positivity and discipline faded for me at times and especially with the beginning of this year as it seems the positive effects of a new normal have found their not so great counterparts such as procrastination, ungratefulness, lethargy (hello!) and have changed into a strange routine.
Being a coach, I get a lot of questions from friends and contacts in my network on how to FEEL LIVELY AGAIN because it seems like all effort, obedience, discipline and positive thoughts are not leading anywhere right now. It is so hard to enjoy this home office routine after the novelty of having longer morning self care routines while downloading those emails or having that morning walk in the park start loose their magic with a missing outlook.
It is hard to imagine to start that passion business now or that new career.
Finding a self-care routine to stay focused and centered and not run around in reactive mode and on auto-pilot requires a huge amount of self-control which may be impossible due to a lack of clarity and motivation right now.
I had these moments several times in my life and used different techniques to find back to my ‘flow’. This was reflected in unusual high DHEA levels – the vitality hormone, basically the opposite of stress induced cortisol – and high HRV heart rate variability, also found in monks, theirs’ being still much higher than my rate of course. But I never stop learning – and getting unstuck at times !
On this occasion I like to share with you my favorite activity I included in my morning routine:
JOURNALING, a 15 min invest which helps me to get clarity and create change, and some of you have started using it already.
Yes, with all we have to accomplish daily the resistance for most of us is very high to write unless it is a shopping list or simple to do list. It takes time, we don’t know what to write, it can be even scary.
For my part I always thought Journalling is writing a diary and I just don’t have the patience as an adult to write down single events of my day. I actually find it a bit profane still to muse about my breakfast, starting the washing machine, checking emails …. but wait! There are incredible moments in between. Don’t we all capture that instagram shot of the flower on our balcony we just watered before that run in the park? The smoothie bowl or our kids making funny faces … and it can be therapy to do it daily (think: Gratitude journal, 3 things we were grateful for today!).
When it comes to complex goals that seem to be not achievable in the first place, and that require a large invest from our side on figuring things out, a pandemic to stop, motivation, money, time and courage it helps to journal in a more advanced way. Here I add three things to the rational way to define a goal in a ‚smart‘ way: no limitation in terms of correctness, feelings and intuition. It really helps to free-style write without correcting oneself and write out your thoughts in a stream of consciousness. This way one gets a clearer picture on deeper laying longings and their limitations, it is a way to unleash creativity if we are stuck not knowing what we want to achieve exactly and the how. A special technique that includes guiding questions then allows to connect with the goal as if it already happened. To achieve transformational goals it is important to go beyond check-lists, smart goals and visions. This is because your core beliefs and values drive what you do. If you’re unconscious of these, you can unwittingly sabotage your dreams.
While gratitude journaling or visualization in pictures on social media is one great habit, I like to journal on goals that require profound change and that are a bit hard to crack because of some resistance I have. For example : writing a book, changing career, starting my own business, taking a sabbatical, moving to another city. Basically every great idea that ends with a BUT.
I used to write down goals in SMART form (Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Timely), that’s what I learned during my time in Management Consulting. Well, while we work SMART (usually in quarterly, 1-3 year goals) in larger businesses and follow measurable and realistic goals, I do not suggest this form for personal goals at all. Why? Because I like to include my subconscious mind not only what is already at the surface and needs to be done – because that just brought me so far!
Interested to know which questions to follow in a journal to facilitate the process? Let me know in the comment field and I send you a simple guideline and a template for your daily journal practice. Would you like to share the method that worked for you?