After a year that changed so many things in our lives, many of us have begun to experience or see the hybrid on the horizon. It’s a transition that’s leaving us feeling both excited and anxious. It’s also an opportunity that we can only hope will not happen again in our lifetimes. This is the time to take what we’ve learned and commit to do everything we can to create our Ideal Next Normal.

As a mindfulness-based behavior change expert and co-owner of a professional planning and accountability coaching company, I spend my days helping people take intentional consistent action in support of their most pressing goals and bravest vision. Doing this work during a year like 2020, was equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. Nothing changed in our process or how we deliver our coaching but week after week, I witnessed people face extraordinary challenges and I had a front row seat to what really carried them through. 

So, what worked?

Awareness, Structure + Support. They prioritized being honest with themselves, creating a strong personal foundation, and having a plan with the right support in place

Now collectively, we are facing new nuances. While there is much to make us feel hopeful, simultaneously, there are a lot of unfamiliar things to navigate. 

To walk you through this change, I teamed up with Annette Kurtz, Author of the best-selling book, Harmonize Your Home. Annette is an expert in Feng Shui, Space Clearing, and a Professional Work From Home Consultant. Her practices connect us to the profound effect that our environments have on our mental and physical wellbeing. 

No matter how you’re feeling at the moment, we know that you can completely alter your energy and trajectory by taking these actions. 

Cultivate Awareness 

Begin with reflection. Looking back on the last year, what did and didn’t work? What would you love to continue to do and let go of?

Allow your vision to surface. Take some time to envision your ideal next normal. This can be done through writing or images. As you open up to the possibilities of what can be, here are a few starting points:

  • Quality of Life – What do you want a typical work and off day to look like? Think about activities, commitments, commute time, quality time with family, and so on.
  • Schedule(s) – Have you or are you returning to the same scheduled activities? Or maintaining newer routines for both you and other members of your family?
  • Location – Did you relocate or plan to? If so, what has or will change? Are you familiar with your new surroundings?
  • Work Space – How much will you be working from home? 

After you’re done, feel the benefits. What does this ideal next normal do for you in your body? Do you feel energized? Refreshed? Relaxed? 

Nurture your Foundation

Would you buy a home with a crumbling foundation? Our personal foundation is from where we launch our personal and professional life, and make a difference in the world. Yet, it often is the first thing that goes. Why is that? We have been working in reverse. Move yourself up to the top priority and build from there. 

Over the past year we have cultivated a new lifestyle and many changes will stay for good. Besides new daily routines which can include increased family time instead of long commutes to work, or preparing fresh meals and spending more time outdoors, the way we dress has changed, too. 

Acknowledge the change(s). All you have around you is reflecting your new lifestyle and who you are now instead of creating a suggestive pull back into the past

Prior to the new normal, our homes mainly served us as our sanctuaries. Since 2020 happened, our homes now hold a lot more functions. Our sanctuaries may also serve as kindergarten, classrooms, board rooms, lecture halls, meeting rooms, offices, etc.

A clear and energized home is the basic foundation for our life to flow well. It is our sanctuary. It is our place of rest. It also strengthens our mindset and nourishes us. Therefore, it is very important to redefine and adapt our routines and self-care to our new lifestyle, as our homes reflect it back to us, turning it into a virtuous cycle.

What does your Work From Home setup look like? 

More and more companies are moving to permanent WFH setups, and 1 in 4 Americans will work remotely in 2021 (Source: Forbes Magazine). Whether you are full-time in the office or doing a hybrid, based on your recent experience, your needs for seating, sound and light around you might have changed. What does your preferred work flow look like? What systems do you wish to implement to make the new hybrid arrangements a seamless, better practice?

Executives are seeing the opportunity to make work lives more purposeful, productive, agile and flexible (Source: HBR May-June 2021). Have you defined your ideal hybrid, your personal anywhere, anytime hybrid? It’s a good time to design this with your teams or to channel your courage and voice your suggestions about what type of hybrid you would like to see created.

Moving forward – removing blocks that keep you stuck. What are the things you told yourself you would accomplish over the past year that are still unfinished? Assess these unfinished commitments, as they are hidden stressors. These stressors can impact how you feel about yourself and hamper your forward momentum. If you are experiencing pent up emotions such as frustration or disappointment during this assessment, give yourself permission to let go of what no longer serves you. 

Make a Plan that Excites You

Start by giving yourself permission to do things in any way that you’d like. Knowing what you now know, what is non-negotiable moving forward?

Name your Priorities. What are your top 1-3 priorities for the next 3 months? 

Connect to your Motivation. How can you make your priorities energetically appealing and nourishing? 

Turn your Priorities into Goals. Write your goal(s) in a way that makes you feel excited and allows you to measure your progress.

Create a Strategy for each Goal. What is your best guess on how you’re going to accomplish each goal?

Take intentional action. What is the first tiny step you can take?

Ask for support. Change is uncomfortable and having someone to check-in with is extremely helpful. Who can you pair up with to exchange feedback and hold each other accountable?