By Daniel Crosby
My father paid off our home at the age of 35 by keeping his goal front and center in his mind. He did this by tracking his progress with the outline of a home filled with tiny squares, each representing one thousand dollars he owed. Each time he made a payment toward the house, he colored in the appropriate number of squares.
Inspired by my father, I set goals every year and memorialize them in a simple, graphical form on a poster hanging on the back of the door of my home office that is until the pandemic seemed to push many of those goals out of reach.
My despair was short-lived as I remembered the words of my favorite psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who said: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” With Frankl’s example in mind, I tore up my poster full of goals and set a single new goal—win each and every day.
Winning the day means knowing what is controllable, working to control those things, and leaving the rest alone. It’s a mindset that can benefit you and your clients through good times and bad.
Keep relationships strong. Relationships are one of our greatest sources of happiness. Take the time to call, send a video, or just text friends, family, and colleagues to check in and maintain a sense of normalcy. If you have built the habit of connecting virtually with people you might have otherwise overlooked, keep going! This applies to client relationships, too: if virtual flexibility lets you engage with more family members than just the “breadwinner,” then it makes no sense to abandon the practice in a rush to “return to normal.”
Keep moving – physically and mentally. Physical activity is a source of wellness that can be easy to overlook. Being active is as much about maintaining good mental health as it is physical health, and regular activity of some sort is a must. Decades of research have shown “advancement,” or getting better at something each day, and “engagement,” or doing meaningful work, are crucial to lasting happiness.
Be mindful. After last year, I can promise you I will never again take for granted the availability of milk, eggs, or toilet paper. A focus on what you want should always come with an appreciation of what you already have. It is a truism of human behavior that you see what you look for. If you’re looking for fear mongering and negativity, there’s certainly plenty to go around. Still, there are also once-in-a-lifetime chances for stillness, connection, and recommitment to what is most important in life.
Life can always change in an instant, a fact typically obscured by the normalcy of our 9 to 5. While none of us can predict the future, I can remain committed to winning the day, confident in the fact that great years are really just the culmination of a lot of great days.
Daniel Crosby, Ph.D., is the chief behavioral officer of Orion Advisor Solutions.