With each new year, people start talking about “turning the page” and “putting last year in the rearview mirror.” It’s likely that 2020 is going to stick with all of us a bit longer than a typical year might. While not necessarily a bad thing, life will continue to be very different for the foreseeable future. Reflecting on the challenges you’ve overcome could provide a roadmap for overcoming new challenges.
This three-step process can help you approach adversity head-on as you prepare to hit your goals for 2021.
1. Learn from past experience.
Covid-19 will be inextricably linked to your memories of 2020. If you dig a little deeper, you might find that certain challenges were already simmering before the pandemic turned up the heat.
Perhaps 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.
Sitting down to evaluate your comfort level in various aspects of your life often brings these important areas to light. The end of 2020 might be a good time to see if any recent experiences have reset some of your baselines and recalibrated your long-term goals.
2. Practice gratitude.
It can feel wrong to appreciate all the good things in our lives when others are going through hard times. But positivity and gratitude are essential fuel to overcoming adversity. If you don’t appreciate those good things, it’s impossible to get a read on where you are in life and where you want to go.
Yes, you’re going to remember being stuck at home. A lot. What about all the fun and creative ways you and your family spent time together? Appreciate the game nights, the extended family calls on Zoom, the movies you watched, and 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, you might discover that displacement in some areas of your life (work) has improved your life in other areas (leisure and family time). Those meaningful changes could affect what you really want out of life going forward, regardless of what caused those changes in the first place.
3. Decide on your next steps.
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.
As you look ahead, try to set aside the pandemic, elections, and market worries. When is retirement plotted on your timeline? The major transition to retirement is still coming. Covid-19 might have altered your path a little bit, but you can stay on track by making some adjustments to your financial plan. If you don’t have a financial plan, find a CFP® and create one. Starting a plan can uncover a clearer path to retirement and maybe a few other future plans like that home renovation, your daughter’s wedding, or the dream company you’re preparing to launch.
Working with a trusted advisor like the professionals at Marca Life Planning creates an understanding of where you are right now and where you want to be. We want you to continue to thrive in 2021.