2020 has been an unusually difficult year for everyone.
An impending new year typically puts people in a ‘fresh start’ frame of mind, but this new year will likely feel different. The pandemic and resulting complications for our collective wellness and the economy will carry over into 2021. Many people feel a degree of dread about this, but that doesn’t mean we can’t thrive in the upcoming year.
Reframing our thoughts to reflect on all the challenges we have overcome lays a foundation for strength and hope for the challenges and opportunities the new year will bring.
Overcoming adversity is a practice. Every day we navigate through adversity is a success, even if the outcome isn’t always what we want.
This three-step process can help you approach adversity head-on as you prepare to hit your goals for 2021.
Draw from past experience
The pandemic will be inextricably linked to memories of 2020. However, if you dig a little deeper, you might find that certain challenges were already simmering before the pandemic turned up the heat.
Perhaps your small business’ digital pivot revealed that your customer base was too small. An interruption in your household income might have made you and your spouse realize that you haven’t been putting enough money into your emergency savings account.
As your teenager grappled with paying college tuition for a less-than-ideal college experience, you might have realized that your child’s deeper challenge was vague career goals.
Gratitude is a practice, not simply a feeling
It can feel wrong to appreciate all the good things in our lives when so many of our friends, family, and neighbors are suffering. But positivity and gratitude are essential fuel to overcoming adversity. If you don’t appreciate the good things, it’s impossible to get a read on where you are in life and where you want to go.
Quarantining and adapting our lives to incorporate social distancing is hard. We aren’t out of the woods yet. But as you reflect on this experience, focus on the fun and creative ways you and your family spent time together. Being stuck at home forced us all to be more creative with how we spend time together.
Appreciate the game nights, the cross-country Zoom get togethers, the movies you watched, the online classes you took. Be grateful for all those extra meals and breaks you got to share with your kids while they were learning at home and you were working from home.
In fact, as you look at your Return on Life index, you may discover that displacement in some areas of your life (like work) has improved your Return on Life in other areas (like leisure and family time). These are meaningful changes that affect what you really want out of life going forward, regardless of what caused those changes in the first place.
Adversity is a powerful teacher
What is your 2021 going to be like?
Despite all the uncertainty we’re still facing, it is possible to answer this question. The key is to apply what we’ve learned in the past year to the things in our lives we can control little by little every day. Yes, it was hard. We are all facing challenges. But you did it. You made it through, and the challenges serve as powerful teachers to adapt our actions and expectations in the upcoming year.
So, as you look ahead, try to set aside the pandemic, elections, and market worries. Instead, think about where retirement is plotted on your timeline. That major life transition is still coming.
Coronavirus might have altered your path a little bit, but we can stay on track by making some adjustments to your financial plan. The same is true of that home renovation, your daughter’s wedding, or the dream company you’re preparing to launch.
Understanding where our clients are coming from, where they are right now, and where they want to be in their golden years is the core of our planning process.
Our four decades of experience means we are there with a plan of action and a way to build the life you desire. We aren’t simply financial advisors. We’re dream architects.