“Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.”
Mattie J. T. Stepanek (1990-2004)
Strategy is one of my favorite topics. For as long as I can remember, I have always thought in the long-term. In grammar school, I can remember wanting to one day be a business entrepreneur. Setting goals for the future is definitely one of my strengths. It is in my wheelhouse. Even if you do not relate to my passion for this topic, or lack skills in this area, most of us participate in some long-term thinking. At a very basic level, we all daydream.
While being lost in thought may be fun and perhaps a first step toward future goals, our time is already consumed by the commanding activities of each day. Most Americans, for a variety of reasons, live week-to-week in many elements of their lives. A good example is in paying bills. The average American lacks the funds to survive even a few weeks without help from an outside source. When you think about this financial statistic, it is no wonder that any of us spend much time on the distant future. Daydreaming, yes. But time spent doing something about the future? There is no time for that. If I ever catch-up, I may think about tomorrow or next week. Next month? Forget it. And, don’t even mention next year.
Despite our busyness and lack of time, I believe that day-to-day thinking represents a realistic success opportunity. We have more control in the activities of today than what might happen a month from now. A year or two is really out of our control, so it seems.
Most successful people entwine long-term with short-term. They take a long-term perspective, which includes achieving important goals, and then project that into current thinking and activities. Most long-term significant objectives will take more than a single day to complete. In fact, most will require effort extending into several weeks or months. Even years.
The individuals who succeed in goal achievement have mastered a simple and powerful success principle:
Spend time daily on the future.
The short-term will define what you do today. It is unavoidable. Many daily activities are imperative. School, work, eating, sleep. Family responsibilities. Much of our time is already scheduled. We are on autopilot by design and necessity. Requirements and necessities in life often need no plan. As busy as we are, some of our time is consumed with activities not imperative for our survival. Even though some pursuits may be enjoyable, they may not be necessary, and perhaps unrelated to the distant future. Is there a solution? Yes.
Replace a portion of time not needed for survival with at least one activity that ensures progress toward a long-term goal. Make it a habit to do this each day. Forget for the moment analyzing this effort. Don’t worry about progress or any self-evaluation that could undermine your enthusiasm. Instead, concentrate your attention on creating a daily practice of making a small effort toward a long-term goal. Make it a habit. The two key words to remember: Future. Today.
In the most basic sense, this is my personal success formula that I have lived throughout most of my adult life; doing something daily that is related to my future. The magnitude of the effort, or time requirement are unimportant. Do something today that is related to the future.
Over time, you will become more proficient in executing this best practice. You may be surprised with the results you achieve . . .
- You may one day set multiple long-term goals.
- Your time spent each day on the future may increase.
- You may become more efficient in many daily activities.
- You may have less crisis situations; (this will provide more time for long-term activities)
- You may have less frustrations.
- You may eventually create an organized plan for the future. (This could be life-changing).
Success is a journey. The most important goals in life take time to achieve.
Need a simple success formula? Really simple. One you can start today?
Spend time today on something related to the long-term – your future. Commit to do this every day for the rest of your life. Make it a permanent habit. Execute daily.
Today, I will spend time on my future.