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The Power of Expectations

Why do we love Fridays so much? At face value, it seems like Saturday or Sunday should be people’s favorite day of the week. Generally, those are the days we get to take work off, sleep in, and spend time with our families.

But there’s no restaurant called TGISaturdays. Katy Perry never wrote a song called Last Saturday Night. What makes Fridays so special?

Emotionally, the Future Is Now

People don’t really live in the present. Our emotions often have more to do with the future we are anticipating than the present moment we are experiencing. That’s why people often feel a strong bout of anxiety on Sundays – “the Sunday Scaries.”

Our psychological tendency to fixate on the future can profoundly impact our present-day quality of life. When the future seems bright, we can endure brutal circumstances.

But on the other hand, when we are confronted with an uncertain future, our sense of anticipation is shattered.

What This Means During COVID-19

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, many people have experienced a seemingly unbroken period of stress. Even on our days off, even when we are fine for the moment, our concerns about the future chip away at our sense of happiness. Our perception of what comes next is undermining the moment we live in now.

Thankfully, our relationship to the future is something we can partially control. For those interested in living a better life today, here are a few ways you can make your future a little bit brighter.

Building A Brighter Future

1. Plan A Vacation (Or A Staycation)

Travel restrictions don’t mean that you should stop taking time off. Breaks from work are a necessary part of maintaining your mental health.

If you feel comfortable traveling a bit, plan out a socially distanced vacation by renting a cabin or a beach house. If you’d feel more comfortable at home, take time off for a staycation – watch your favorite movies, cook your favorite meals, etc.

My husband and I just bought a little condo along the North Shore. It’s both a fun project for us (it needs work) and also a great place to escape and on the water. I also joined a wine club that adds a fun element of surprise every month.

Even if it’s just a socially distanced gathering with neighbors and friends (anyone up for a “Six Feet Apart-y?”). Find what works best for you – make plans that give you something to look forward to.

2. Build New Habits

Someday, when the pandemic is over, there will be aspects of quarantine that we will genuinely miss. When your grandkids ask you about the pandemic of 2020 someday, do you want to tell them how awful it was or how you used the time to improve your life?

Many of us have gained a sudden surplus of time. Don’t waste it. Personally, I’ve found more alone time in quarantine as an opportunity to listen to new audiobooks while getting outside more for walks. For others, this may be a chance to learn a new skill or meet a new fitness goal.

Pick something that makes you happy so every day of the week becomes a day you look forward to.

3. Do Crazy Hard Things

There has never been a better time to create change. Though it might feel like the right time to sit still, it is a time of transformation.

Start a new project. Move. Take a leap and start a new job. Doing big things takes courage, but it also takes time and energy. If you have a surplus of time and energy right now – use it to propel yourself, your work or your career forward.

We will be talking more about this at our next Huddle event with Jim Olson on Tuesday, July 14 at 1pm CST. I hope you will join us.

Give yourself the gift of something to forward to – something you anticipate that makes you happier, lighter and excited. Make some improvements – for your company, your life and yourself. And find ways to progress on some of the bigger things you have wanted to change, but haven’t been able to before. Little steps lead to big changes.

About the Author

Pivot Strategies

Pivot Strategies is an innovative communications agency with a relentless passion for the power of strategic employee communications and smart change management to transform your organization from the inside out.

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