Humans are notorious for thinking short term. We want what we want, and we want it right now. While we can get next day shipping on items we buy from Amazon and heat our food in thirty seconds in the microwave, the most important and most meaningful things in life can’t be had without putting in time, effort, and sacrifice.
Every decision we make has an effect on our life. These effects are not always measurable, nor are they always large. But each decision we make and every action we take has an impact. There are consequences, negative or positive, that come with every single thing we do.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a better life. You would probably love to be more financially stable. And you likely would like to have a thinner, fitter body. Having a closer, deeper, more passionate relationship with your significant other is something you would love to have. And you would probably love to feel like you are making a bigger difference in this world, perhaps with your work having deeper meaning.
With us wanting so much more out of life, why do we make the decisions we do? The decisions that we know not only prevent us from thriving, but that get us the exact results we dread. Why do we choose the French fries over the broccoli? Why do we stay on the couch to watch another episode instead of getting up and going to the gym? Why don’t we make the phone calls we need to make, say the things we know we should say, or continue to put the effort in that we once did at work and in our relationships.
We don’t look long-term. We are very reactive rather than proactive. We seek immediate gratification. These behaviors come with consequences, and those consequences are negative. But because we don’t see or feel the negative consequences immediately, we continue make bad choices.
So, what’s the solution? Well, because our brains are wired for immediate gratification, and we live in a world that supports and encourages that kind of thinking, we must consciously think about the future. We have to ask ourselves what we want down the road. Are the decisions you’re making and actions you’re taking now moving toward the life you want, or away from it? And you have to understand that every single thing you do is either moving you toward your goals… or away from them.
Having a clear vision of the life you want is where it starts. The next step is understanding that you don’t get that life overnight. Knowing that each and every decision you make, and every single action you take, is either a deposit in or a withdraw from that vision is critical. Knowing this is critical, but living it is essential. So, the next step is to start making those decisions and taking those actions, no matter how small, right now.
Keeping your long-term goals vividly clear in your head helps to keep you on track. You must be patient. Remain committed even when your good behavior goes unnoticed and your hard work appears to be having no effect. This is critical. Over time, the deposits add up, eventually creating the abundance you want and deserve in life. We don’t get fat by eating one bad meal. We don’t get flabby and out of shape by missing one workout. And our relationships don’t fizzle out because we failed to be attentive one single day. The quality of your life right now is the result of many actions (or inactions). There are consequences to everything you do, so start acting in a way that your long-term consequences are the ones you want… the ones that give you the life of your dreams.