Have you ever watched an event like a 100-metre sprint or a formula 1 race before the actual start? Before athletes get into their blocks or cars, line up into the grid position is key when nothing happens. These moments are in-between moments.

One of the greatest Olympic swimmers of all times, Michael Phelps, was asked what he did at these waiting times. He said he would be counting the strokes he would take or visualize touching the wall and turning. There was mental preparation. If you followed what he did pre-race, you’d see a series of warm-ups, a regimented routine which he did religiously to the point of obsession. Phelps in-between time was packed with purposeful activity.

Typically the period between Christmas and New Year is an in-between period. The workload has dropped off – at least a little, and a manic Christmas has come and gone. So what do we do with this gap? Of course, Christmas 2020 was anything but typical. The pandemic has seen to that.

Yet, we are still in an in-between time. In-between the peak of a pandemic and the promise that all will be back to normal once the vaccine kicks in. So what do you do while waiting? Is there anything you can do?

Maybe if you are over 75, at high risk or work in a health care arena, your turn to get vaccinated will be sooner. Most other people face a long wait of six months or more. Obviously, all you can do is wait. You can’t speed up the process. Waiting doesn’t mean doing anything. Waiting does have to be passive.

You can actively wait. You can prepare for a vaccine, or at least to increase the chance of it having a greater effect. While all headlines say the vaccines have a 70-95% chance of success, this is based on averages. Some of us will be on the wrong side of the average percentage. But some things tilt the table in your favour.

Research from other vaccination programs like the yearly flu vaccine-which has a success rate of up to 50%- has shown that things like exercise increase the body’s production of antibodies. It’s also known that overweight people produce a smaller response than people who are of average weight. Given that most will be waiting months, the in-between time is long enough to do something that increases the odds in your favour.

I have a friend who is awaiting a major surgical procedure that will happen in a few weeks. She is now in an in-between time. She’s busy preparing herself mentally for the procedure and arranging things at home for her recovery period.

Any surgery puts a strain on your body. The stress response is inevitable; however, it’s possible to prepare for it. Cardio training increases the effectiveness of heart function. Physio and strength training exercises that increase your lung function have been shown in many studies to decrease the risk of complications. Her days are also about doing brisk walks and even HIITs to increase her chances of a speedy recovery.

For people undergoing chemotherapy, some studies show that exercise before and during chemotherapy affects mood and reduces some of the side effects of the chemotherapy drugs. Some scientists even advocate fasting to reduce the side effects of chemo or protect normal cells.

So even in the face of extreme health challenges, the in-between time is valuable. Your small actions at these times can have a positive effect. For some of you, 2021 is a year of fresh starting blocks and exploring new horizons. Maybe you want to attempt something new like marathon running or trading stocks and shares, yet are not near the starting blocks. Waiting can still be an active time.

If conditions aren’t right, but motivation is high, then the advice is to learn, gain knowledge and practice in low-risk environments. This helps in moving forward while standing still. There are plenty of resources on training for a marathon or virtual trading platforms that you can use without risking your house.

The in-between period is a valuable time. Whatever you are facing in 2021, you can prepare physically, mentally and spiritually.

We at Team Momentum encourage you to make full use of the lull before starting the race:

  1. Find inspiration that will carry you through dry periods and help you overcome obstacles.
  2. Reflect on past failures so as not to repeat mistakes.
  3. Reflect on past successes as these motivate.
  4. Practice in safe areas to build confidence.
  5. Cooperate and confide in safe people to gain from others.

Plan flexibly for future success, and when the starter gun goes off, all the preparation of the in-between times will lend momentum and speed you onward.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.