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  • Darci Daniels

Finding Your “New Normal”

3 steps to start figuring out what you want


I’ve seen this term everywhere lately, and I’m betting you have too. If you’re sick of hearing it, hang in there, because it’s not going away anytime soon. I actually like it, and I’ll explain why in a minute. But for now, just trust me that this article will not only help you get more of what you want in your life and less of what you don’t (if you answer the questions below), it will also make that term “New Normal” feel less annoying or triggering. Interested?


(Caveat: This is a simplified version of how to make positive changes. Very, VERY simplified. Want to get more in depth? Email me at lifecoachdarci@gmail.com and let’s talk.)


When I saw a few people express their irritation with this term, it confused me. Once I asked them why, it made more sense: they saw it as disempowering and hopeless. “This is how it’s going to be, like it or not, this is your new normal so get used to it!” As if a not-so-silent but unseen parent was ‘making’ them do something they didn’t want to do, such as eat their vegetables before they left the dinner table. “Too bad about the pandemic and wearing masks and possible death, oh, and don’t forget the civic unrest and people yelling at each other and spreading disinformation online, the racial tension and crazy politics, but this is just the way it is. This is your new normal, like it or not!” Ugh. No wonder the phrase sounded awful to them.


I couldn’t help but be surprised though. I’m supposed to be the pessimist, but this is not at ALL how I feel when I hear ‘The New Normal’ -- I feel like it’s a clean slate! I talked to several other people who feel the same way I do… empowered, and hopeful for the future, like we’ve been given an (albeit very weird) opportunity en mass for a fresh start. We all get to stay home, everyone has to slow down, and we get to reset what we want for our lives moving forward? Sign me up! There’s no FOMO, because no one is doing anything, and all I have to do is wear a mask when I’m in public, wash my hands a lot, and be nice to people because we’re all living through this shit show together? Ok, sounds reasonable. Don’t forget, people are finally paying attention to the racism and mess in this country, and willing to have real conversations about difficult topics because they have time since they’re at home and can’t ignore it anymore and pretend everything is okay when it’s clearly not? FINALLY!


Everything is a matter of how you choose to look at it. This is the perfect time to evaluate what’s working in our lives, and what is not. Eventually we’ll get back to a semblance of normal, and some people are already trying to do so, but it will never look exactly like it did before. Not only is that okay, it’s necessary. We need to evolve and grow in order to be happy and healthy. That includes as a society. But societies, like people, typically don’t do that until we’re forced to get uncomfortable. I don’t think anyone would disagree that 2020 has been an uncomfortable, if not downright painful, experience. Whether you think everything happens for a reason or not, I hope you choose to take this extraordinary (not in a good way) year and turn it into something positive for your future. I want to help you do that.


1. What about your “old life” (pre-2020) do you miss the most? Why do you miss it? What was it about that thing you miss that makes your life less fulfilling now? (If you’ve lost a loved one, I offer my deepest condolences. I’m talking about habits and ‘things’ here, not people. If you want to skip this and move to #2, that’s not bad idea. Your loved one cannot be replaced and your grief is real, and I wish I could give you a hug.) Is there a way you can (safely) put this thing you miss back into your life now? If not, is it something you can plan on adding back in the future? For example: I miss gathering with girlfriends over dinner. Is this something I can do now? Maybe, with social distancing and being careful, but it’s still tricky. What I can do is catch up with them over Zoom, or have them over to my backyard and truly social distance. And as soon as it’s safer to do so, I will be planning lunches and dinners out with my friends more often. It’s something I will make more of an effort to put on my calendar moving forward.

2. What about your “old life” do you NOT miss? What is now unnecessary or gone that makes your life easier, more peaceful? Can you keep that thing “gone” moving forward? Can you feel grateful that you haven’t had this thing to deal with and figure out how to keep it this way? How important is this to you? Two examples that keep popping up over and over with my clients are long commutes and too many kids activities/running around. Here’s where you get to prioritize your mental health and family time over what you think you “should” do. Keep it simple – one extracurricular per person at a time. That includes you! Unless you want to be running around and have no free time, then by all means, fill your calendar again. But here’s your permission slip – you don’t HAVE to. As for the long commutes, well, I think that’s largely going to be a thing of the past. Working from home not working for you? Want your commute back? Great – as soon as your company says you can go in, do it. For the rest of you, how can you create a hybrid model of home/office work? Or how can you improve your set-up to work permanently from home? Whatever you do not miss, figure out how you can eliminate it completely from your life permanently. If that’s not possible, how can you lessen it’s impact on your life and increase your happiness? Get creative. Brainstorm ideas even if they seem impossible. Tweak. Re-work. Find ways to create peace, and don’t apologize for making your peace a bigger priority than someone else’s preference.

3. What is something that’s changed that you want to keep from this year? For a lot of people, it’s spending more time with their families. Or time to workout. Or just a slower pace of life in general. Get specific – what about this new way of being is making your life better, and how can you sustain it moving forward? This may take effort, as things open up and we seem to push back to a version of normal. Knowing what you want to keep and making a concerted effort to make it a priority in your life (regardless of what the world is doing around you) will ground you and be empowering. Honestly, it will just flat out feel good. You’ve already decided this is important to you, so honor yourself by making sure it stays important. The great part about this step is you’re making the choice to do something, not waiting to see if it will “work out” to keep it a priority. Make it one. It’s your life – you get to choose. Using the workout example: if you make it a priority to schedule in workout time during the week, then plan other things around that, you’ve not only kept a big promise to yourself, but you’ve also put your foot down that YOU are actually the priority in YOUR life. Novel concept, huh?


I’m about to paraphrase a lot of memes and a famous cliché now, so pay attention: You get to decide what is important for your life. What are you willing to trade-off, and what’s important, no matter what? What do you truly value? We could use the word compromise here, but when it comes to your time, compromise feels like a win/lose situation. If you compromise your time or values of what is important to you, you will feel crappy about it. But if you CHOOSE, if you make a decision to trade-off your extra time so your kid can play one more sport, or set aside time for doing an activity your family loves, then it feels better. It’s not a compromise (you’re not getting your free time back, but people you care about are getting what they want), but it is a trade-off. All you have to ask yourself is, are you willing to make it?


That’s what this all comes down to: living on purpose, not by default. Making a choice with what reality has given us. What do you miss and want to make a priority? What do you NOT miss and want to keep gone? What do you want to keep going forward?

I want to keep my hope. Remembering that we’re all in this together, by virtue of all living on earth at the same time. The least I can do is try to make it as good as I can, for myself and for others. Thanks for reading my little love note to change and the New Normal. I hope it helps you!


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