We are halfway through the year, and already people say “good riddance” to 2020. This has been a difficult year!
There is uncertainty about how the pandemic will play out and whether we will go back to “normal” ever again. There are many important events and future outcomes that are outside of our individual control.
Trials are always painful to go through. But there is little human progress without trial. It’s like the dumbbell we use to strengthen a muscle. Trials have the potential to strengthen us and help us become better and more capable than we thought possible. They are the refiner’s fire.
While we may not be able to control the trial itself, we have significant control over how we respond and what type of person we become.
So how do we do it? It’s all about what purposeful habits we create. I am not referring to existing habits we do without thinking. I’m talking about purposefully doing specific things each day so that they become habits, and ultimately become our identity.
What character trait do you admire in others that you want to develop? Maybe you notice a friend isn’t as bothered by what’s going on and has a great sense of peace. Find out what that person does. Speak with a religious leader. Research what psychologists say can help you find peace. Then figure out what you can purposely do each day to develop such quality.
One of the most challenging things about New Year’s resolutions and habits in general is that they take a long time to cultivate. A lot longer than 30 days or even 90 days. A habit is not about crossing a finish line; it’s about changing who you are. Your future self is largely dependent on the purposeful habits you do today, tomorrow and every day thereafter.
Several years in the future, when telling your story of 2020 to your kids or grandkids, what will you say about 2020? Will it be the year you forever want to forget? Or will you tell them about the difficulty of the pandemic, but how it was a catalyst for your personal growth – that through it you became a better person. The good news is that story is 100% in your control. It’s going to be based on your purposeful habits.
2020 is only half over. There is still much to do. Make it a great year!