• Dr. Kristen Mitteness

21 Ways to be More Adaptable in 2021

Because if 2020 taught us anything, it's that you aren't really in control, are you?

1. Understand yourself better through the Enneagram, Four Tendencies and Five Love Languages. When you understand why you do things the way you do, you can adapt to situations so much better. It also helps you understand why others may approach or react to a situation differently than you. After you understand more about yourself, I highly recommend you have those closest to you do the quizzes, too. These three quizzes drastically changed my relationship with myself, my partner and my friends.


2. Improve your breakfast. Mom was right, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets your hormones (and thus, your mood) for the coming hours. Take kids, for example. Do you think your kid will perform better at school after eating pancakes for breakfast or eggs? Adults are the same! We are just better a keeping our emotions in check (most of the time). Give my 30 Day Breakfast Challenge a try and see what happens.


3. Find movement you enjoy and do it consistently. The exercise you do every once in a while is not going to move the dial very far. It's what you do on a consistent basis that makes change. Exercise does not have to be and shouldn't be miserable all of the time (some days you won't want to do it and that's okay, do it anyway). There are so many options! And you can add elements to make it more fun like music, podcasts, friends, nature, challenges or rewards. Try new places and things. Improving your fitness will vastly improve your adaptability both physically and mentally. I have two measure of fitness ability I think are most important: 1. Can you get yourself off the ground without help? 2. Can you get yourself on and off the toilet without help? You would be amazed at how many people cannot do these tasks. Please keep yourself well enough to take care of yourself as long as possible!


4. Try something new and creative. I have never considered myself creative, yet I surprise myself all of the time when I do try a new creative skill. Improving creative skills will help you be more adaptable (and creative) in your work and in life. I learned how to sew on Skillshare this year and I look forward to taking many more courses to keep my creating juices flowing.


5. Help someone else out. Yes, taking care of yourself is good, but I think taking care of others is even more important. Not that others should come at the expense of you, but that when you focus more on helping others, you will naturally feel better and your perspective on life may completely change.

6. Get money smart. Understanding your money situation and, as a result, improving your money situation will make you infinitely more adaptable. Whether it's talking to your bank, a financial advisor, listening to podcasts or doing some research on your own, getting money smart is beneficial for you and your family. Money won't buy happiness, but it will make your life much more comfortable and you more adaptable.


7. Set goals, but leave plenty of room to pivot. Yes, goals are great, but not when you are so married to them that if one thing goes wrong the whole plan goes up in flames. I am the ultimate planner. I want to know every detail of every step and I don't do well with quick changes in my schedule. I know this about myself and set goals accordingly. There are also lots of things you can't control at all. So, goals are great in giving your life some direction, but practice pivoting with grace rather than resisting change so hard that anger boils up every time something goes awry (oh, only me?).


8. Schedule time OFF. If you like to plan everything (*raises hand*), then it's extra important to schedule time off. I have found this super important this year when rules and work change to fast and so often that the fatigue is real. I also like to be productive all of the time. So, if I don't schedule time off, I won't take it unless I'm leaving on vacation. Having actual days or half days off will allow the days you do work to be much more productive and you'll be much happier.


9. Build or reinforce your tribe. You've probably heard the quote from Jim Rohn, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Who are you surrounding yourself with? What qualities in your tribe do you see in yourself? If you became more like those around you, would you be a better person? What do you do to support your tribe? When you are surrounded by great people, you will also be a great person. And then you can accomplish and adapt to nearly anything.


10. Reflect. We often get so focused on looking ahead that we forget to look at where we've come from and what we've accomplished. What worked? What didn't work? Learning and understanding the past will help you shape the future and move forward more effectively. Don't forget, history repeats itself. And doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result is called insanity. Every year I complete a reflections and planning worksheet. Download yours here:

2020 2021 Reflections and Goals Workshee
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Download • 39KB

11. Feel your emotions... and then move on. I have a tendency of bottling my emotions until they explode out. This is my reminder to myself to feel the emotions. Sit in them. Recognize how they feel in your body. It's okay. The quicker you feel the feelings and process the emotions, the easier and more efficient you can move on. We are never going to feel happy all of the time. And if we never feel sad or angry or upset, we can't appreciate happiness and joy. There is no timeline and moving things along faster or slower than they need to is out of your control - and that's okay!


12. Get adjusted. Research shows that getting adjusted can help your nervous system adapt and better connect your brain and body. Chiropractic adjustments are similar to very specific exercises. The adjustment is improving any dysfunction through the spine and joints to improve the way you feel and function.


13. Take cold showers. I've been taking cold showers for 6 months now. I can't say I enjoy them, but the benefits are vast and the buy in is low. The research on it is ever increasing (medical term: cryotherapy) and it's pretty freaking cool.


14. Use your non-dominant hand more often. I'm a nerd when it comes to improving brain function. I started brushing my teeth with my non-dominant hand for over four years and while it felt weird at first, it's completely natural now. It's a great way to improve neuro-pathways and coordination. I carry a few genes associated with Alzheimer's so I'm doing as many things as I can to keep my brain extra sharp.


15. Fix something yourself. Rather than calling an expert, why don't you try fixing it yourself? It will probably be hard and you may get frustrated, but have you ever successfully completed a task and felt mad about it? And if you do feel mad about it, just know that next time you can call the expert! The internet (and especially YouTube) is full of free tutorials that can guide you to fix nearly everything.

16. Ask more questions. This has been a goal of mine for a few years now. I am quick to take things at face value without asking questions or fully understanding something. Practice asking more and better questions (in a respectful way, please! Us upholders don't love being questioned). Doing so can help you to improve and grow in all types of situations! Whether you are asking someone about him/herself (everyone loves talking about themselves!) or asking questions about a project (what a great way to support something or be inspired), asking questions is sure to help you grow and adapt.


17. Simplify. Have you ever come across a process that was so complicated and unnecessary that you totally avoided it all together? Simplifying anything requires substantial understanding of the subject and is very helpful to everyone else.


18. Take a different route. Do you always take the same way to work? Do you always walk the dog along the same path? Try taking a new route. You'll be stimulated in new ways and you'll learn your area even better.


19. Stretch. Your muscles, ligaments and joints only stay adaptable if you give them some love. Regular stretching and mobilizing will keep you nimble. Moving well will also make you less prone to injury. I have a few mobility videos on YouTube and the internet is full of great stretching and mobilizing tips so you'll never run out of ideas.

20. Learn some survival skills. One of my patients is learning outdoor survival skills as part of his physical education class this year. What a great idea! Being adaptable in the outdoors seems like the ultimate way to be adaptable. While I love camping and hiking, there are always more skills to learn. I'm looking forward to Heights Archery to open back up so I can hone in on my bow skills.


21. Brush up on history. Learning about the past makes adapting to the future so much easier. Whether it's the history of your family lineage, where you live, your country or other countries, we can learn so much from seeing how other places evolved over time. And you'll never be as appreciative of the current times, if you don't know what happened in the past. Dan Carlin has some intense, thorough history podcasts. Or check out your local library!


I'm wishing you all another great year to grow and adapt. Cheers to 2021!

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