Set Goals and Create the Post-Pandemic Life You Want

For some organisations and individuals, near-term survival has been the only agenda item over the last two years; others have been peering through the fog of uncertainty, thinking about how to position themselves during the ongoing crisis, as well as once the crisis has passed when things return to “normal”.

With a new year ahead, we asked Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of MultiNET Home loans to reflect on everything he experienced during the pandemic and what he personally did to motivate himself.

One of the most pertinent question to ask is ‘What will normal look like?’ While no one can say how long the crisis will still last, what we find on the other side will not look like the normal of recent years. The same goes for average people who would like to now thrive after two years of fighting to just survive.

In the face of an ever-changing future, it is important to re-evaluate goals and release the pressure of performance by breaking those goals down. 

“Goals generally guide us to find our own internal motivation to change a behaviour,” says Rademeyer, “be your own coach – get your journal out and draw on motivational interviewing questions when setting your own goals.”

In a more normal year, common career goals might include landing a new job, getting a promotion or learning new skills. But depending on how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted your life, not to mention your job, the plans you set for yourself at the beginning of 2020 and 2021 may not have played out like expected.

In the past two years, MultiNET as South Africa’s only independent bond origination company, has experienced unprecedented growth, despite the negative market impacts. Which is why Rademeyer is well-placed to give us tips on how to tackle whatever may come this year.

“Before you start thinking about 2022, take stock of everything you accomplished in the crisis period” Rademeyer says. Think big and small and look beyond the scope of what you did during working hours. Here are Rademeyer’s top  questions you should ask yourself to kick off and guide your goal-setting.

What have you accomplished this year?

“Did you write a blog post? Apply to jobs? Start a meditation routine?” he says. “Even if you had higher expectations for yourself, anything you accomplished during such a tumultuous time is worthy of your recognition and pride.”

Plus, he adds, “writing down your accomplishments will help you create a more positive mindset going into the new year and post-pandemic world.”

What makes you come alive?

“Pick one or two bigger goals to focus on, and then think through concrete steps that you can do each week or month in order to make progress on them” says Rademeyer.

His favourite question to ask for inspiration is: “What makes you come alive?” Think about times when you are working on something that makes you feel at ease and that you feel is worthwhile. What tasks are you completing? What kind of environment are you working in? Who are you interacting with?

Maybe you have spent the past few months organising virtual events and really enjoyed it. Rademeyer says to think about the jobs, companies or industries where those skills, like community building and delegating, can translate into paid work. Tap your networks, both social and professional, to learn about other opportunities, and to also find supporters who can hold you accountable over time.

“If you’re shouldering it all yourself, it won’t happen,” Rademeyer says. “No one gets to where they want to be on sheer will alone.”

What do you not want?

Sometimes as people we have a hard time thinking about what we want to do and accomplish. We have found that turning the question on its head helps in brainstorming some new ideas:

What type of work are you sure you definitely do not want to do?

Based on your experiences, you may already know that you do not enjoy certain tasks or working in certain environments. From there, think about what you would enjoy and ways to get closer to making that part of your day-to-day future.

What can you accomplish by yourself?

Many goals involve waiting on another party, the way starting a new job requires waiting for job listings to be posted, waiting to hear back from the personnel manager and waiting to go through the interview process.

Shaun suggests you plan for goals that you can accomplish entirely on your own.

Your ultimate goal may be to lock in a new job in 2022, but he recommends you build in achievements that aren’t reliant on anything else. That could mean your new-job goal includes benchmarks of researching a new company every week, or attending a networking event each month.

How are you spending your time each day?

As the CEO of MultiNET Home loans Rademeyer, likes to do a periodic time audit and creates a pie chart that shows how he spends every hour in a day. From there, he can see how much time he spends on various tasks and meetings for work.

You can do the same and, after reviewing your time pie chart, consider if you are spending time on things that really matter most to you. If you are spending more time than you would like in one area, he says, set goals that can move you toward your ideal.

What helps you find resilience every day?

If the past two years were a lesson in letting go of your original goals, 2022 is about sustaining the resilience you gained through challenging times, says Rademeyer.

Think about what helped you get through especially turbulent days these past months : How did you organise your time? How much flexibility did you need from your  employer in order to do your best job at home and at work? What did you do to take care of yourself each day?

Rademeyer says you can apply those lessons to your intentions for the new year — for example, if you know exercising in the middle of the day helps you feel productive and focused, schedule that time for yourself in your workday. Or if you’ve come to dread video meetings, consider changing them to phone calls that you can take while on a walk outside.

As a valued employee you should communicate these ideas with a manager and leaders should also model this behaviour. Ultimately, Rademeyer says, “redefine what success looks like for you.”

In tenuous times, we are tempted to control our world. We gain more power over our own actions when we keep the focus within. Make time this week to go through the “Reflect, Set, Go” process, and put yourself on a path to take control of your life in 2022. You deserve the best life, and it starts with you.

To help you get  going here are 7  personal goal suggestions for 2022:

Now that you know why goal setting is helpful, and how to set better goals, here are a few ideas to inspire you when you think about what you want to tackle this year.

  1. Move your body

Taking good care of your body is one of the most important things you can do to improve your mental wellbeing and maintain your overall health. How we think and feel directly depends on how well our brain is functioning. A healthy body provides the foundation for your mind to function at its best.

Adults aged 18 and 64 should try to be active for at least half an hour on most days of the week. If you have not exercised much before, or it has been a while, it can be daunting to know how to start. We have put together this guide to help you get started.

Ideas could include:

  • Join a walking or running group
  • Set yourself a fitness goal (learn to do a proper push up)
  • Do an at-home online fitness class
  1. Eat the good stuff

Aim to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet in 2022. Following a healthy diet means your brain will have the right balance of nutrients to work at its best. It will also improve your energy levels, sleep patterns and general health, leaving you fresh and ready to handle life’s day-to-day challenges.

Ideas could include:

  • Have a friend choose a new cuisine for you to cook – send them photos and a recipe once it is done
  • Pick your favourite vegetable to learn a new healthy recipe with it
  • Go meat-free one night a week
  • Try meal prepping or cooking a new recipe once a month.
  1. Get more rest

Sleep gives your brain important down time to process and store the information it receives during the day. Just like eating more healthily and getting more exercise, it’s possible to improve our sleep. With a little time and commitment, hitting reset on your sleep routine can boost your physical and mental wellbeing in the long run.

Aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night. This is not always easy, but even a small change like shifting your bedtime forward could make a big difference to your energy levels.

Ideas could include:

  • Test different pre-bed routines. Maybe a cup of herbal tea or read a book
  • Decorate your sleep space
  • Try getting active during the day (it promotes good sleep).
  1. Connect More

We got really good at finding new ways to connect during the past two years. Feeling connected to people, groups, places and culture plays a big role in our wellbeing. Regular positive interactions stimulate the production of a feel-good chemical in your brain, boosting your mood.

Fostering stronger relationships and connections to your community will also strengthen your social networks for the times you might need extra support.

Ideas could include:

  • Video call a friend or loved one every week
  • Write a letter to a loved one
  • Ask a friend or loved one a new question every time you see them next. For example: What’s something you think every person should experience in their lifetime?
  1. Travel: Redefine the way you do it

We may not be able to travel freely right now, but with South Africa offering a range of opportunities – traveling around our beautiful country and continent provides an amazing way to learn about our big backyard.

Ideas could include:

  • Take a sh’ot left and explore a province or town you have never visited before.
  • Explore a new farmers’ market or walking loop every week
  • Get out to national parks
  • Visit a small local art gallery
  • Test out some new cafes.

However, if you are waiting for a bigger trip overseas, 2022 is a great time to really do your research. Understand the history, try to learn some of the language and jump on Google Maps to study where you want to go and what cool things you can do there.

  1. Learn something new

Keeping your mind engaged with new ideas and experiences plays an important role in your mental wellbeing and brain function. What’s better is that many skills and hobbies can be learned online – sometimes for free.

Ideas could include:

  • Explore a new hobby like knitting or writing.
  • Study something useful or interesting to you – there are thousands of excellent free online courses available online
  • Learn about a new topic through a podcast
  • Join a local sport or recreation club.
  1. Small celebrations

Many celebrations keep being postponed for us in 2021. In 2022, finding small moments to celebrate can be a great idea. While it may seem trivial to celebrate little wins like getting out of bed, making time to go on a long walk, starting a new project, or cooking a delicious meal, they should still be celebrated.

Celebrations act as a reward and can keep you accountable for the goal you set, and they act as motivation while you are working to achieve them

Ideas could include:

  • Plan a gift-free Christmas in July
  • Celebrate the latest season of your favourite show coming out by organising a viewing night with friends (in person or online)
  • Make a bigger deal of birthdays, anniversaries (it doesn’t need to cost a lot)
  • Get behind a new sporting team and celebrate their wins.

Whatever your goals are for this year, they don’t need to be big, long or numerous. Start small and finish big. South Africa is truly alive with opportunities, especially those you make for yourself.

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