I have a list of things I want to achieve in my life.
I want my children to be curious and independent people who can stand on their own two feet and can discover on their own the answers to the questions that life deals them.
I want to have a marriage strong enough so that Sarah and I are there to comfort each other during our final years of life and to experience many, many wonderful things along the way.
I want to have the health needed to bring these things to fruition.
I want to write and publish several novels, as I have a bunch of stories inside of me that yearn to break free.
I have several other personal achievements as well.
I keep these things on a list on my computer. Whenever I start up a work session, this list is one of the first things that I see. I also keep a printed copy of this list in my wallet, wrapped around my credit cards.
Whenever I come across this list – which is usually a time or two each day – I make a conscious effort to stop and read the list and think about each of those items.
What am I doing today to move forward on each of these things? Each day, I try to take at least some action to move forward on each of those things. For example, with the health concern, I usually try to eat in a healthy fashion, get in an exercise session, or, ideally, do both.
I usually try to add an action for each of these goals to my “to-do” list for a given day, but it’s still very powerful to keep myself mindful of the big picture.
Is the thing I’m thinking about doing right now helping me move forward on these – or is it moving me backwards? That thought tends to keep me away from “time wasting” activities, at least in part. It also keeps me from spending money unnecessarily.
So, how did I decide on this list? What thought process did I go through to figure out this list of things that I wanted to achieve in life?
The first thing I did is that I tried to write a list of things I would want to have in my life on my 65th birthday. Theoretically, that’s a good target retirement date.
I’d want good health, of course. But what would I want my children to be like? What about my marriage? What other things would I want to have achieved by then?
This became the foundation of my “life list.”
Yes, it’s loaded with things that are incredibly easy to put off until tomorrow. The catch is that if I keep putting them off until tomorrow, I will never achieve them. Today is the day I decide whether or not I’m going to achieve these things. The choices I make today will influence what I do tomorrow… and the day after… and the day after. They establish habits. They move me just a little toward that goal.
What am I doing with my life? That choice is up to me, but it’s a choice that I control, each and every day.