Moving the Needle

We all deal with specific issues in our private lives. Stress, worry, negativity, they all creep in from time-to-time. Some are the result of traumatic events in our lives, but some, are the result of a chemical imbalance, which can lead to life ambushes we deal with daily.

Now add the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing, shelter-in-place orders, and many jobs and businesses that have shut down, many of us are home for days on end. Only leaving to get the essentials. 

This can cause us to feel isolated, or separated from friends and loved ones. Isolation is something that is tied to depression. Being social creatures, human interaction is key to our survival. And when we get down, we don’t move, we don’t progress.

Bring on The 3 Ps

Human behavior is tied to two critical things. Structure and Progress. These two things combine to create productivity and when we are productive we feel good about ourselves. This current pandemic has led to massive disruptions in both areas and so many people feel lost as both their structure and progress have been thrown out the window. Throughout my life, I realized I needed that structure and progress.  But I also recognized it could not just be in one area of my life. I needed balance. I needed grounding in all aspects to truly feel good about myself and to truly feel productive. This realization led to the creation of the 3 P’s of goal setting. Identifying one goal every day in three key areas that accomplished what I knew every human being craves. Structure, progress, and balance. 

The 3 P’s are – one physical goal, one personal goal, and one professional goal. Together they achieve balanced productivity and regardless of what is going on in your life, if you accomplish these three things every day, you will move the needle in your life.

Physical

Part of the definition of depression is lack of movement. This is a big part of why my plan of 3 Ps includes Physical. Movement, with intention, can change a person’s emotions. Especially with the quarantine and self-distancing going on, we have to find ways to keep our bodies in motion. 

If you go to a gym regularly you’ve been experiencing some down-time. There are many different ways to get your workout at home, and we can always get outside-weather permitting-to get exercise. Even getting those incessant chores done around the house, or the home improvements and repairs you’ve been neglecting to finish can help you move your body and move the needle.

When I say move the needle, what I mean is, continuing to progress despite the uncertainty in our lives today. We do that through structure and discipline. So having a schedule to keep, even when leaving the home isn’t a regular part of the day anymore, can be HUGE in maintaining progress in all of the areas my 3 Ps cover.

Physical health is key to not only maintaining and prolonging your life, but as for me, it actually saved it. That’s right, my high level of physical fitness contributed to my very survival with my traumatic wounds and blood loss.  Sure, the chances of you going through what I did on the battlefield are very slim, BUT, life throws ambushes at us all, whether it be through stress or worry, physical injury or mental health issues, your physical health CAN save you. Please don’t ignore it.

Personal

The next area in which we need to constantly be moving the needle is in our personal lives. As I mentioned before, this can be tricky today, being somewhat shut off from others given that we are social beings. But we still need to be leading in our personal lives during this time of isolation.

A big part of that is our mental state. Are we taking care of our minds during this time? It’s important because if we’re not, our physical and professional lives can really suffer. How we feel about ourselves is an integral part of taking care of our personal lives.  So many underestimate the power of taking care of those small personal things around us.

We all live in a world that is constantly demanding of our time.  Even during this pandemic with the extra time we have; hobbies, relationships, home projects, cleaning, communicating with friends and family are all critical parts of our well being.  Which is why I caution people not to lose sight of the impact of personal accomplishment.  Cleaning that closet or the garage, doing the dishes or even something as small as making your bed provide tremendous dividends in the long run.   

Professional

The last P is professional. It is that area of our life that is either helping us make money to pay the bills or making us better through education for higher opportunities later. The problem is in this pandemic so many are on the X professionally. Some of us are out of work. Some have had our hours cut. If we’re blessed, we have found a way to work from home which brings its own level of professional challenges. Regardless of the situation, we must progress! The good news is most of us have more time on our hands, and we can take that time to help us advance in our careers. We can also find new opportunities, if what we were doing prior to the pandemic already made us feel like we were stuck on the X.  It is never too late to set new goals and change.

The running theme here is discipline and structure. A way to keep the needle moving is to set aside some time each day to address your situation. If you’re needing work, it may be searching the job boards, or updating your resumé. It could be taking the time to learn a new skill, learning how to start your own business or maybe learning more about opportunities within your current industry. 

Maybe you’re not satisfied with your current vocation, but you don’t know where to start. A great place to start is by doing some soul searching and  finding a new purpose. Search your values and what drives them. The fact is, many of us do have a lot of spare time, and there is a great deal of uncertainty. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop progressing. 

The reality is this; great blessings can come from life’s ambushes. And maybe for you, an opportunity you never dreamed of becoming real pops up. I call it the new beginning out of the end moments.  Your whole life could change. So, keep pushing. It’s not just about getting off the X, sometimes it’s about staying off the X. And if you keep that needle moving in these three areas, I promise you, you will progress despite life’s challenges and you will overcome any and all adversity.

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