According to ABC News, the United States is reporting 26,747 diagnosed cases of the COVID-19 virus, the third-highest total globally as of 03/22/20 (1). Health officials are declaring that it is critical to remain isolated from large groups of people to slow the spread of the virus and the inevitable deaths associated to it. Still, many continue to perceive the cautionary actions as punitive sanctions towards their rights allowing only negative feelings to fester.
What are we actually being asked to do? Wash your hands, avoid public transportation, maintain a six-foot distance between yourself and others, and stay home. Really? That’s it? In a nutshell, this pandemic could possibly be forcing you to do exactly what you should have been doing all along. Slow down, smell the roses, put your cell phone down, and rethink your priorities.
When you think about it, this isn’t much different than correcting the disobedient child that has been given a “time out” to ponder their previous actions and correct their behavior. A brief pause in the action to evaluate the course that was being followed and an opportunity to make improvements. Maybe, just maybe, it was time for a “time out”.
The vast majority of us will continue to grind on the same path and refuse to change our ways until we are forced to. This is usually not because of ignorance, but rather due to the familiarity of knowing the outcome of our actions. We all fear the unknown, so breaking from routine is difficult, if not impossible until something forces us to make drastic changes. The government has closed the schools, the gyms, the bars, placed restrictions on businesses, and restrictions on gathering in mass. The time is NOW to reflect, reset, and establish a new routine with a new set of priorities.
According to the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. The 2009 study also stated that it only takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. Embrace this opportunity to make the change you want to see in yourself and in your life. While you are being quarantined, list the goals you want to achieve and set a path towards them. C’mon, you are only 66 days away from the new routine becoming the new you.
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In closing, please remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together.
Be aware, proactive, and safe.
Bill Barna President, Bolo Stick LLC www.bolostick.com