After living through 2020, just about everyone feels a little less certain about the future. For a lot of us, 2021 so far has been about figuring out how to navigate that uncertainty.
It would be easy for me to just tell you not to worry and that everything will be fine. But it’s become increasingly difficult for that to feel true, as each day seems to start and end with some new event none of us saw coming.
Almost 15 years ago, my family migrated to Australia with 100k in debt. In that time, I earned about $120 per month working night shifts in a bakery during my summer breaks from school in China. So, you can imagine how much 100k in debt felt to our family 15 years ago. But today, we’re living comfortably without financial stress. My parents are now in their late fifties and still work hard every day by choice as they could retire whenever they want to.
Was it scary? Yes. But now we live with the assurance that no matter what happens 5 months or 2 years from now, it can’t be worse than 15 years ago when we landed in Sydney in debt, unemployed, with no English.
Right now, you might be at an all-time low. You may have never experienced hardship like you have in the past year. If that’s the case, the only way you can go from here is up. Stick around and see how you rise up from the hardship of the past year.
At the end of the day, the only thing we know for certain is that the sun will rise tomorrow. That’s about it. And that’s always been true, even if it didn’t always feel quite as true as it does now. So instead of worrying about a future that’s out of your control, try focusing on the present. Let yourself enjoy what you can right now.
Here are some tips that help me overcome uncertainty during hard times:
- Make a realistic plan for the future. Don’t set goals that will over-extend yourself. Keep your expectations for yourself and others reasonable.
- Make a plan B. Some people see backup plans as a sign you’re not totally committed to plan A, almost like making a contingency plan is setting your initial plan to fail. But some people need a plan B. If planning out a few scenarios for the future helps you sleep at night (I’m definitely one of those people), by all means, do it!
- Set your goal, then move on with your life. If you hyper-focus on your goals every single day, you’ll feel discouraged every day they haven’t come to fruition yet. So set your goals, forget ‘em, and work on them gradually every day. Side-benefit: This approach makes it much easier to enjoy the process and celebrate little wins.