The world as we know it has been a temporary place for learning individuality and it will close one day.
Yet, many of us live our lives as if we were immortal. “There is always tomorrow” so the saying goes. But one day, it won’t be. A good way to design your live the way you want to live is to use your time efficiently. Work is work, and we cannot do much to change it, but what do you do after work? Coming home and then engaging is some mindless, time stealing activity is a waste of life. It does not matter if it is watching TV or riding a bicycle. I know a woman who every day, after work, rides a bicycle for hours. What for? What does she accomplish by that? What are her lifetime goals? Perhaps she does not have any and just drifts through life.
The best use of time and life is to plan. People like her do not even make lists; much less imagine that today is connected with next week and five years from now. The trouble is you cannot effectively plan the next few days without deciding on the next five years.
Start your life plan by sorting out your personal priorities. What are your lifetime goals? Write down everything you can think of, including money, career, family, physical environment, social community, spiritual and personal goals. Try to fill up an entire sheet of paper. Now, place a mark in front of three goals that are most important to you. On another sheet of paper, develop the three goals: indentify subgoals, logical next steps, immediate plans. Then from each marked goal, select one “next step” to take next week. Now you have an action plan! This list should be redone once a month, to keep up a continuous and evolving spiral of improvement.
Great power comes from having a clearly identified list of lifetime goals. By checking your list you will see if your minutes are adding up to a lifetime you want.
The next question you should ask is How would you like to spend the next five years? Not how will you, or how should you, but how would you like to? Now see if the answer to this question matches one of your marked goals. If you have just written down as a lifetime goal a desire to be rich, and now find yourself answering, “I would like to live in a cottage by the lake and watch birds,” you have not been honest with your goals.
It is important to discover your own goals, not the ones you have been taught. We do many things because of some atavistic sense that we have to. But do we? Even if the action was sensible at some time in the past, is it sensible now?
If you have trouble coming up with goals for the next five years, try to write your own obituary. Put a thought in it, it has therapeutic effect and can release people who are trapped not so much by circumstances as by lack of imagination. The trick is to explore your wildest dreams- the fantasies or impossibilities, instead of filing them permanently away because “people don’t do that” or “I don’t have time”.
Those who ride bicycles after work for hours (and I know a few of them) have no favorite fantasies. Without imagination there can be no alternative, and no motivation.
How would you like to live if you knew you would be dead six months from today? This question will force you to face what is important to you.
The next question you should ask, “When are you really glad you‘re alive?” and “What do you regret not doing lately? Many people have never consciously thought out the answers. So answer those questions and recognize you own feelings, then you can begin to set firm policies to see that you life is arranged to make you happier. In the process you may meet the stranger that is yourself.
Time is life.