future youA lot can be said for living in the moment. It means that you won’t be bogged down by routine. It means that you’ll make the most of every opportunity. It means you’ll be spontaneous and exciting and maybe make mistakes, but it also means they’ll all be part of your big adventurous life.

But you can’t make every decision on the spur of the moment.

You can try. But the people who do that more often end up losing whatever small wins they get from their impulse decisions.

Some choices – a lot of them – almost all of the important ones – need careful consideration. You need to think properly about where you want your choices to take you and what you want to do with them.

There’s no point doing everything on a whim for the first thirty years of your life only to find that you spend the rest of it struggling to make ends meet. In today’s social environment, you need at least a basic plan of how you intend to survive in a potentially harsh economic climate.

You need to have an idea in your head of what you want to be like in the future – whether that means one year ahead, or five, or ten, or just at an indeterminate point at which your general goals are met.

If you don’t have that picture, think about building one. Think about what you’re doing already, and where it’s likely to lead you once you’ve finished this bit. Maybe it won’t lead you anywhere – maybe, when you stop to think about that, you only see it stretching on indefinitely. Is that what you really want? To do this forever?

If it is, then congratulations to you. Some people never reach that state of satisfaction with their being.

Which is why, if it’s not, then you need to think about what you want it to be.

And it’s not an easy thing to do. If it was easy, then everyone who ever wanted to lose weight would be able to resist the temptation of a pizza. But a lot of people struggle with making sacrifices now if they won’t benefit until the future. That could be losing weight, saving money or knowing what you want to be doing with your life in the next ten years.

If you’re happy to wing your way through life, then you deserve the very best of luck. If what you want most out of life is for it always to be filled with spontaneity and surprises, then be prepared to hit some serious bumps, but to have fantastic anecdotes at the end of it. And remember to stay positive no matter what. You’ll need to.

But if you have any goals lying ahead of you, if there is anything you want to achieve in your lifetime, then start working on that picture of future you now. Make sure you can see all the important things you want to surround you. The little details will come into focus as you get closer. What you need to work out now is how to get from where you are now to there.

Without knowing what you’re aiming for, you’ll be stuck on that mundane infinite road leading nowhere. But once you have at least a faint idea, you’ll find yourself drawing things – perhaps slowly – into place.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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