Helping Your Employees Adjust Their Goals in Times of Transition
New day-to-day and work routines due to COVID-19 can be a significant source of stress for your employees. How do they maintain some sort of momentum amidst all the chaos? Here are some tips you can pass along to your employees:
Start with Why.
Understanding one’s “why”, or set of personal values, is an essential step in maintaining long term goals. Through this clarity of values, an individual starts moving toward an integrated and eventual intrinsic motivation for meeting goals that align with a sense of self. Setting this foundation gives one confidence that adjusting their original goal to fit their “new normal” makes it just as legitimate as the goal they were moving towards before. For example, if vitality and sustained energy is a person’s “why”, it’s likely they will still find themselves inching toward health-promoting goals throughout their lives, even despite extenuating circumstances. Health coaches are specifically skilled at helping individuals figure out their “why”, and guiding them toward goals that align with those individualized values.
Stick with the goal. Adjust the specifics.
Some might actually find it easier to maintain a goal by simply adjusting the specifics. Maybe walking to work is no longer an option, but taking a socially-distanced stroll a few times around their block will get in the same amount of steps as their former morning commute. Or, they could pack a gym bag (as they would before) to prepare for their morning home workout, while also keeping a good habit for when the gym opens back up again. It’s easy to allow oneself to get caught up on what isn’t available; a simple mindset shift can activate problem-solving skills to maintain some momentum.
Challenge as an opportunity.
For some, sticking with familiarity as much as possible resonates more with keeping to one’s goals. For others, it may be helpful to view this change of routine as a time to tap into creativity and seek new ways to promote their wellbeing. The Fitbit Premium app is a great place to start, with a wide variety of exercise videos, mindfulness practice tips, and guided programs. Working with a health coach can be especially beneficial in individualizing the way a person approaches their overall health during this uniquely challenging time.
Create a new system.
Structure, or “systems” as James Clear calls them, is the foundation for making these actionable goals happen. Once the dust has settled and the kinks of working from home are (mostly) worked out, setting up a system is essential in continuing to move forward. Working from home can make it challenging to effectively break up the day. Constructing a system helps to iron out the details of how/when they will tend to their responsibilities and goals. Remember: goals do not happen without action, and action isn’t sustainable without a plan. This may include setting up one’s environment in a way that makes moving to the next thing seamless, while also communicating plans to others in the household. Even a small amount of time (like 10 minutes/day) added to the daily structure turns into progress over time.
Go easy on yourself.
We should all keep an eye on the amount of pressure we’re putting on ourselves. Caring for oneself includes addressing individual capacity, and health goals should always support, not undermine, one’s health. When identifying goals, anticipate challenges and make a plan for how to address setbacks. Remember, it takes time to adjust, and anything one can do to promote health is beneficial in navigating this pandemic together.
Ask for support.
It may be overwhelming to even think about prioritizing well-being during this adjustment. Each individual’s circumstances are unique, and what works for one person might look vastly different than their peers or coworkers. Finding a virtual community, scheduling regular calls with friends, and including family members in health-related activities are just a few ways to include support. Working with a health coach can be especially valuable right now. Health Coaches are skilled at meeting individuals where they are at; not only with accountability, resources, and knowledge, but also empathy and understanding.
Even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, learning how to adapt behavior in order to maintain goals, big or small, is a lifelong tool. Encourage employees to continue to take care of themselves, primarily by making creative adjustments; either to keep a trajectory toward their original goals or to pivot and devise new realistic goals. Especially during this unique time, it’s important to remember that any bit of progress is still progress