“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” -T.S. Eliot
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” – Joel 2:25 KJVA
Last year closed out with a sense of satisfaction. Of eleven goals, I managed to reach nine of them with progress made on the remaining two . Eleven was a big number, as experts recommend 7-10, so I was pushing the envelope anyway. Several of them, were habit goals now incorporated into my daily life, supporting new goals for that particular life domain. All in all, I am pleased.
In addition, we managed to do a few extra things that did not distract from the other goals (well not much) but were necessary. The best “extra” was the mission trip to Indonesia that came out of the blue between Thanksgiving and our 40th Wedding Anniversary in December. Wouldn’t, couldn’t pass that one up.
Once home, we enjoyed quiet Anniversary and Christmas cerebrations complete with tree decorating, a trip to Illuminations at our local Botanical gardens and our traditional viewing of the newest Star Wars movie. We headed into the New Year, with plans to do our annual Best Year Ever review and 2018 goal setting the first part of January. Then….whack – it hit!
A series of speed bumps conspired to slow down, derail and generally knock the stuffing out of us before we even got going. It started with having to say goodbye to another of our fur babies. Midfield. He had been diagnosed several years back with feline HIV, so we knew he had a compromised immune system. But, with good care he lived to 14 years of age
in good health. This time, he did not respond to treatment and it was time. RIP Middy. You were a good cat.
Then, in spite of the shot and the usual precautions, both my husband and I came down with the flu. We do not get the flu at our house! We do not do sick gracefully.
At the same time, the Kansas temps plummeted and, a pipe joint in our wonderful Victorian home froze and began leaking. Seriously? We have been in this house since 1988 and never had this issue.
So as we, mostly my husband, mopped up floors and, while also mopping our fevered brows, we emptied the closet where the leak was and salvaged the clothes stored there. Fortunately, nothing was permanently damaged. The clothes were able to be laundered or dry cleaned and I got rid of some things that needed to go anyway. A small leg up on one my goals for 2018 – clean out closets.
Reacting While Surviving
We managed to get through the Best Year Ever goal setting by the end of January but I felt behind. Commitments I had made before this on slought were piling up. By the grace of God, I managed to keep them, while my spouse pitched in any way he could between teaching. Yet, much of our activity has been reactionary and tactical and until now has lacked strategic planning. This unbalance is not sustainable, so I have taken a few days away in the middle of February to regroup. To get a fresh start.
Recovery Strategy – Preping For A Fresh Start
When you get hit with a series of set-backs, there are intentional steps that can short circuit the long-term effects and get you back on track:
- Endeavor to remain objective and avoid overreaction. Adding emotional drama to the situation is rarely, if ever, helpful. In our recent challenge, we were a bit tender after the decision let Middy go. Add the reality we were both really, really, really, unwell, it was tempting to drop into a puddle and just cry when the pipe leak added insult to injury. But, why use already limited energy resources when it will do nothing to resolve the situation?
- Contain the immediate situation. Then breathe. In our case, stop the leak, lay out the closet contents to drain and go back to bed.
- Ask for help. In our situation, we propped each other up and dealt with things ourself. However, there are times when you need to ask for reinforcements. Help from neighbors, church, family or even hired services may be warranted. I gave our amazon prime a workout instead of going out shopping. Sam’s Club pick-up shopping service enabled hubby to pass by the drive through pick-up saving energy and further exposure to cold and germs. Our dry cleaners even has a drive through drop off and pick up. I am grateful for these services.
- Regroup and recover. Once we got to feeling a bit better, I did one small thing at a time. I wanted to get it all back in order ASAP, but the flu thing took a while to fully recover from. I stayed in tactical mode much longer than I wanted to, but stewing over what was not getting done did not help.
A Fresh Start
Now that we are upright, back up to speed and the aftermath of the past six-weeks behind us, I took a few days away to, well, think. To do some strategic planning and preparing. I am using my three favorite frameworks:
My life-plan. I review my life plan quarterly as recommended in Living Forward. But after a time of reactionary activity, I find it helpful to use this as a starting point to assess the amount of drift these events may have initiated. It is tempting, when one goes through these things, especially if they are long or deeply traumatic (this one was neither), that once things calm down, to pick up where the situation left you emotionally, physically, or even spiritually, without assessing how much you may have been pushed off-course. It is wise to stop and figure out where you now are and recalibrate.
My Goals. I review my goals daily. It was hard to see little or no progress on goals as we dug our way out. Although, we did get our new goals drafted, they were done with twelve months in mind and were in draft from. Now that we are six weeks into the first quarter, goals and/or deadlines may need to be adjusted in light of the delay. It is early enough in the game that if adjustments are made now, I may still meet the original plan. However, to press on without this assessment may lead to unnecessary pressure if the original time line proves unworkable
My Full Focus Planner. This tool has been the tactical tether in the midst of these set-backs. It has kept me faithful to commitments, my daily rituals and “what must be done nows” so that my head could rest.
First World Issues
After having been in a third world country recently, talking about these events as set-backs seems shallow. In other situations, localities or times, the flu, as awful as it was this year in the United States, could have been deadly. And loosing a cat, even one as sweet as Middy, is, well, a cat. A pipe leak, means we have clean running water. Our wet clothes went into automatic washers, dryers and to the dry-cleaners. I am grateful.
Yet, the steps I outlined above, work in more devastating and deadly situations. I take this as good practice. Yes, I am grateful.
What strategies do you employ to deal with set-backs? Please comment below and don’t forget to subscribe!