Do you have big plans and aspirations for the future? Do you act on those plans and aspirations each day? Exciting goals are easy to imagine. They even feel good. But putting them into action is another story. Too many people live their lives in a way that only preserves the status quo. How happy are you with the status quo?
Live each day in a way that changes your future:
- Imagine your average weekday. Use yesterday as an example, unless something unusual happened.
- Consider what you ate and drank.
- How much exercise did you get?
- What did you do with your social life? Did you spend time with anyone else socially?
- Did you call any friends?
- If you’re single, did you ask anyone out on a date?
- If you’re married, what did you do to enhance your relationship?
- Did you do anything to increase your income or advance your career?
- Did you learn anything new that would be useful in the future?
- Consider your average weekend. Ask yourself the same questions.
- Imagine living those same days over and over for the next 10 years. Where would you end up? Based on your food intake and exercise output, where would you expect your health and body composition to look like in 10 years?
- Do the same with your finances, social life, marriage, and career. After 10 years of living your average day, what is your prediction?
Let’s use a hypothetical example, Bob.
Bob is 42-years old. He’s divorced and works as a low-level manager at a large corporation. He’s not in bad shape, but could lose 20 pounds. He’s saved some money, but he doesn’t save regularly.
Consider Bob’s average day:
On Monday, Bob stops at Starbucks on the way to work for a café latte and a muffin. Breakfast sets him back $9 and 1,400 calories, but he has a decent job, so he doesn’t worry about it too much. He figures he deserves it anyway.
He arrives to work 15 minutes late. Not late enough to get into any trouble, but he’s always a little late, so people notice. He’s not setting the world on fire at work, but he does enough to keep his job secure. Like most people, he avoids work if he can get away with it. He figures he deserves to be paid more if they want more work.
He eats lunch out of the snack machine and drinks a bottle of water. Water is good for you, he thinks, so it’s not a horrible lunch.
He drives home at 5:00 and watches the news while his frozen dinner is cooking. The meal isn’t healthy, but it’s not too bad either. He eats dinner and surfs the personal ads looking for the woman of his dreams. He finds one woman that appeals to him and he pastes the same introduction email he’s sent to 100 women before.
He watches a little more TV and then reads 20 pages from a science fiction novel. He’s feeling industrious, so he washes all the dishes and pays some bills before getting ready for bed. In bed, he plays on his phone and texts his high school friends.
Tuesday through Friday are similar days.
Where can Bob realistically expect to be in 10 years?
Is your average day remarkably more meaningful and productive? Where will you be in 10 years? Are you living a day that will lead to positive changes in your life? Or are you simply passing the time with short-term comfort in mind?
As you live your day, ask yourself what the long-term implications of your current task are. Does that task matter?