Usually, as we approach the end of the year, people start talking about “turning the page” and “putting last year in the rearview mirror.” But it’s likely that 2020 is going to stick with all of us a bit longer than a typical year might. And that’s 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. 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.
When we work through our Fiscalosophy exercise, quantifying your comfort level in various aspects of your life often brings these formative experiences to light. The end of 2020 might be a good time to revisit that exercise and see if any recent experiences have reset some of your baselines and recalibrate your long-term goals.
2. Practice gratitude.
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 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. But what about all the fun and creative ways you and your family spent time together? Appreciate the game nights, the cross-country fam jams on Zoom, 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 ROL Index, you might 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). Those could be meaningful changes that affect what you really want out of life going forward, regardless of what caused those changes in the first place.
3. Integrate your learning.
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.
So, as you look ahead, try to set aside the pandemic, elections, and market worries. Instead, think about where retirement is plotted on your $Lifeline. That major transition is still coming. Covid-19 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. Let's schedule an end-of-the-year chat to discuss all the challenges you've faced this year and how your plan can help you continue to thrive in 2021.