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With 2020 thankfully behind us and a light of normalcy at the end of the pandemic tunnel, we each have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pause and get deliberate about where we go from here. A year ago, we were all catapulted from our old routine (old normal) into a new normal (aka dysfunctional pandemic normal). Like it or not, our cheese was moved and, on average, things got worse. But if you are reading this, you survived the pandemic, and it seems we are on the verge of catapulting into a new future (post-pandemic) normal. This is a real opportunity if properly harnessed!

Most people just let life happen to them. Those who accumulated “bad” new habits during the pandemic (i.e. drinking or eating too much) risk keeping the bad new habits and accelerating them now that they can dine out and travel again. The white space created for many as a result of found time from eliminating commutes and business travel could easily backfill with non-productive activities and habits not conducive or aligned with your ideal future. Furthermore, good new habits formed in the last year could sadly fade away.

Here is my suggestion. Get deliberate. Take some time to re-assess your go-forward priorities, values, health, relationships, routines, learning opportunities, career, overall well-being and how, and who, you spend your time with. Doing this now will allow you to take control and increase your odds of emerging better and happier in the post-pandemic future normal.

To help you think about this, I will offer my personal experience as an example. Prior to and during the pandemic, I got healthy. I lost 130 lbs. and got in great shape. I did this the old-fashioned way—eating less, eating smarter, and moving (exercising) more. It would be easy to slip back into my “old normal” gluttonous and slothy routine. But, I have decided to maintain my new “good” habits, continue to log my calories and movement (for at least another year), and announce this to the world (to make me accountable). Pre-COVID I was on a plane traveling for business every other week. In retrospect, this was not always healthy for our business or family, nor was it conducive to my personal health. Looking forward, I will travel some, but continue using Zoom to minimize travel. Prior to COVID, nearly 100% of my reading, learning, and focus was on business. This contributed to Savant’s success, but I admit it did not always result in my being an interesting or balanced person. When travel stopped during the pandemic, my wife Sharon and I became level 3 sommeliers! While you will not see me pouring wine in a local restaurant anytime soon, it has been great fun, gave me something to do with Sharon, and made me stretch mental muscles I had not used in many years.

Of course, your ideal future is different than mine. So, while I hope my example is helpful, I strongly encourage you to take some time to think about your own life and ideal future. Thinking about the following seven questions may help:

  1. What “good” new habits do you want to retain coming out of the pandemic?
  2. What should you stop doing now? For example, bad habits to eliminate?
  3. What can you do to improve your health?
  4. What new thing can you learn that will make you and your life more interesting?
  5. What relationships do you want to create, build, refresh, enhance, or mend?
  6. What haven’t you yet done on your important list?
  7. If you knew you were not going to make it through COVID, what would you have done differently? And more importantly, what will you do differently now?

Getting deliberate, identifying what is important to you and your loved ones, and setting new milestones and goals will not guarantee success. But I assure you, it increases your odds of success, will make life more colorful and rich, and can increase your confidence and wellbeing. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t waste it.

Cheers to your post-pandemic future normal!

Author Brent R. Brodeski Chief Executive Officer / Financial Advisor

Brent is a founder and the CEO of Savant. He is a regular columnist for Financial Planning magazine, a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events, and recurrently featured in local, industry, and national media.

About Savant Wealth Management

Savant Wealth Management is a leading independent, nationally recognized, fee-only firm serving clients for over 30 years with more than $10.1 billion in assets under management and assets under advisement (as of 3/31/2021). As a trusted advisor, Savant Wealth Management offers investment management, financial planning, retirement plan and family office services to financially established individuals and institutions. Savant also offers corporate accounting, tax preparation, payroll and consulting through its affiliate, Savant Tax & Consulting.

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