A New Year’s Resolution: Survive & Thrive!

A New Year’s Resolution

Last year, at about this time, I wrote a blog on this same general topic. It was a fairly ambitious article with 5 categories and 20 resolutions. But this was just before the pandemic began. I’m sure a lot of resolutions got lost in the impending storm.

I remember writing another blog from very early last year that that had a line which said “as this is being written almost a thousand people have died”. Wow! How times have changed in just 11 months. We now have 320,000 who have died.

So, now that we are in the peak of this pandemic and after all we have endured during the past, it is not over. Hope certainly is on the horizon. Millions of vaccine dosages are now being delivered across the country and in many other parts of the world.

Yet, most everyone agrees that although that wonderful help is on the way, it will be several months before enough have been vaccinated to stop the spread of this terrible disease.

So, what kind of New Year’s resolutions are appropriate, right now, less than two weeks before the new year begins? If you want some good and normal business ideas, the article from last year, linked above, is one that I would recommend. All are related to staffing companies.

But now, at this particular time and circumstance, and, even though this article is still being addressed to staffing companies, I would like to suggest some different New Year’s resolutions that are less about actual “business” and more about those human qualities and resources it may take to get us through an extremely difficult period of the next 3-6 months.

As fallout from this pandemic there will be increased problems of anxiety and depression, with endurance, survival concerns, and difficulties in keeping focus on what can be done now.

In that spirit we might want to be firmly resolved, not to yield to anxiety and/or depression. There are certainly reasons why many are vulnerable. I am not speaking here about clinical conditions that would be more serious and require professional help. If that is needed or suspected, get help. The diagnosis in our current situation would be “situational” not “chronic”.

What I have in mind is the more common situation that when there are very clear reasons to be afraid, it is certainly not neurotic to have anxiety. But anxiety, although quite normal, can become dangerous and therefore is something worthy of a resolution to not yield to it and be on your guard about.

I would say almost the same about depression. Yes, there are reasons for it that are quite real. There is a great deal of sadness in the country now and there will be more. It would probably be abnormal not to be sad or even depressed at times. But depression (or simply sadness) can also be a danger and therefore deserves to have a resolution not to yield to it.

At the risk of being thought political, President Roosevelt said, during the peak of the depression, that “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”. I would agree with that bit of wisdom but only with a pair of caveats.

Anxiety (fear) and depression (sadness) are normal human emotions and, as such, they are not really “enemies”. Fear is helpful. It warns of real danger and motivates changes to avoid it.

Sadness is helpful too because it reminds us that something very good and even beautiful is missing that ought to be present. We have lost a lot of good things and hopefully that experience has reminded us that even the ordinary events and people in our lives are really missed. So, we learn to appreciate them and look forward to the time when most, if not all, will be returned to us

So, we need not be afraid of fear or sadness. Treat them as you would good friends. Just don’t let them take over your life. That is the only danger, and we need to be resolved that it does not happen.

A second resolution would be “to Endure”. This pandemic will end, and we want to be there when it does. Endurance is a strength that we all need right now. It often means being patient. Just being able to accept what we cannot change.

First of all, there is a lot that we need to endure. The dictionary says that to endure is to continue in the same state, to persist, to suffer firmly or patiently. That is a tough job especially given all the things we have had to endure, and which will continue for a while longer.

Those seemingly simple things like not being able to have lunch or dinner with friends, no visits with extended family, no going to the gym, no weddings, no graduations, no birthday parties, no movies and even no funerals! etc., etc., etc.,

One key insight about dealing with frustrations is that although we cannot change many of the conditions imposed by this pandemic, we can change our attitude towards them. That is difficult in the extreme but certainly within our capability. Not perfectly, of course, but just being open to, and experimenting with changing our attitude will help in reducing our suffering from these many frustrations. It would conserve a lot of needed energy and should increase our ability to endure with some peace. Again, it is well worth a New Year’s resolution to cultivate our ability to endure.

A third New Year’s resolution would be “to Survive”. To survive we will need to do all in our power to protect ourselves from this disease. Ironically by taking all the necessary steps to protect yourself, you are also protecting the entire community. In this disease one infection can cause 20, and those 20 can cause 200 and on it goes. It is a geometric progression that we are seeing the result of today.

Today, hospitals are increasingly “at capacity” and every new case makes the entire health system at risk. The health system and the number of cases is a threat to every business including, ironically, the health system itself.

We need to be resolved to survive for ourselves, our families, our businesses, and our entire community.

A fourth and final resolution is to stay focused on what can be done. Make a list: Here is a sample:

  • Focus on the business that can be done at this time.
  • Keeping contact with clients who have closed. They will re-open.
  • If you need help, get it. Yesterday, Dec 21st, hundreds of billions of dollars in actual grants became available through the federal government (Payroll Protection Plan (PPP). Get the application here.
  • Get other SBA relief here.
  • If business is slower get those projects done that you never had time for (one possibility is “Getting the Most from your Staffing Software”.
    Take a look at the 20 suggestions for business related New Year’s resolutions that are contained in the article cited above but linked here also..

I know this article has been a lot different than most blog articles about New Year’s resolutions. But to write an article that ignored this gigantic “elephant in the living room” was something I could not do.

We have a tough situation, and we need to stay focused, to endure it, and to survive it physically then mentally by dealing realistically with its dangers.

Stay Safe and Happy New Year!