It’s hard to believe that we are already three weeks into the new year.  The days are getting longer, although that may seem to be wishful thinking.  Being the eternal optimist that I am, I am hopeful that this year will turn around and bring us back to some sort of normality, even though what that looks like, no one really knows.

What we know or have learned for sure is that there are a lot of external factors that we have absolutely no control over.  The only control we have is how we navigate through those ups and downs.

Many of us have experienced food insecurities, the inability to pay bills, the loss of someone close, depression, isolation and the lack of control. A lot of which was caused by COVID-19.

We have had to make the necessary changes to manage through this nearly year long crisis, and boy, does it ever make us realize how vulnerable we truly are.

So, what have we learned?

  • To focus on how important family life is, or to learn more about ourselves if we happen to live alone.
  • To hopefully have a higher bank balance, if lucky, because we are not spending like we normally would eating out, commuting or shopping.
  • To be more creative with the food that we have in our pantry, fridge and freezers.
  • To learn how to work from home, do Zoom calls, and maybe be thankful that we don’t have to spend an hour commuting to work.
  • To get out into nature and breathe deeply.
  • To slow down and be a lot more patient.
  • To dream?

So where am I going with this?  Have you thought about life post Covid-19?  Have you truly reflected on what that looks like for you?  Through the pandemic, have you thought about travelling again, or buying a new car or home, or decorating your living room, getting your kids back into organized sport, or perhaps a new career or retirement?  Have you only thought about it, or have you planned it out?

Having a vision, goal and plan for this year, for the next 5 years, or the next 20 years depending on your age is something to work toward.  It costs nothing to dream and plan, only your time, and that, you have control over, even during a pandemic. It can also be a mood booster, giving you something to look forward to.

Take this time to write down your current and future goals. Lay out what that looks like, the steps involved, how much money it will cost to take that plan from a dream to reality. Oh yes and it takes discipline!

Examples:

  • Vacation: $1,000 (approx.)  ETA – December 2021 – must save 1000/11 month = $90.00/month. That seems doable.
  • Need to lose 10 lbs to fit into your bathing suit for that trip to Cuba – what does that look like?
  • Train for half marathon – do I need to have a trainer, running buddy, proper equipment?
  • Price out and save for the cost of what your child needs to get him/her back into organized sports, dance, etc. – so you can hit the ground running when things open up again.
  • Plan your spring garden – what plants/vegetables, when to plant, garden layout, cost. There are loads of free resources on the internet available to help.
  • Talk to your HR department, banker or advisor to realistically figure out when you can retire. I did it 5 years before I planned to retire – those 5 years flew by!
  • Change careers – what does that look like? How much will it cost for me to take the necessary courses to get me to that goal, and how long will it take? Can I do it while still working full time?
  • Buying a new vehicle – lease or buy? Do your homework. What can I truly afford monthly? Does it make sense that I wait one more year before I buy something new?
  • Thinking of downsizing in the next 5 years – start purging now!  Start making a plan to slowly purge the items that you have accumulated over the last 40 years. I work with so many seniors who wish they had started a lot early.

Maybe try something you never thought of, like learning how to play the guitar or skydive!

Pandemic or not, setting realistic goals and planning them out short-term and long-term will set you up for success.  Keep those plans handy, celebrate those milestones getting you there, and review/update as required.  We know that this past year has created bumps in the road for most of us, requiring us to change the way we do many things, creating added stress… imagine how stress free it would be if you knew what changes were coming because you planned for it.

Don’t regret not having tried. Life is way too short, as we all know after this crazy year!

Stay safe and be well!

Janet Ireland
Space For Change

Leave a Comment