Looking forward is fatal. Planning ahead, that is useful, but the simple act of looking forward… even looking back, will ruin your life. Why? If you are not capitalizing on the present, you are literally wasting your life away.
There’s two ways in which counting the days will negatively impact your life. Number one: when you are trying to make a life change, counting the days will likely make you give up. We’ve all had that thought when we have been pursuing a goal for a few weeks, say going to the gym for example, where we get ahead of ourselves because we are excited about the progress we are going to make, and we grow to expect change to come sooner. We end up thinking to ourselves ‘I’m putting in all this effort but not seeing results. What’s the point?’ The thing is, we are looking at change from the wrong angle. Because we get excited about it, we grow impatient and end up giving up before we’ve had the chance to make solid progress. This situation is a vicious cycle that most people will go through many times in their lives – deciding to make a positive change, then giving up before realizing that change. This means we never grow. How many January’s have you spent making positive change, only to give up and let the year pass you by, ending up in the exact same place the next January? It’s disheartening to say the least. What you have to realize is that the effort you put in to all of these changes is completely wasted and you may as well have not even tried in the first place. Think about how different your life could be if you put all that effort over the years together into pursuing one goal. If I could sum it up in one quote it would be this:
“If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.”
We also have a tendency to get complacent when we start to see progress. Humans love comfort, so when we start to feel successful, a lot of the time we will rest on that success and start to slow down. BUT, this is the point in time where we should double down on pursuing our goal. Say you set a goal to make 10 sales in a week. You complete the goal on Friday, and spend the weekend partying and spending the money you have earnt.
This is the point where the failures are separated from the successes. Average people will rest on their laurels, assume everything is going fine and start to take their feet off the accelerator. They’ll end up back at square one soon enough without realizing it, and will have to build that momentum all over again.
Momentum is hard to build up and very easy to lose. What you must do is stay hungry no matter how well things are going for you. Keep focusing on each day as if it is your first day of pursuing your goal. If you can keep that consistency and excitement going every day, without dwelling too much on your successes or failures, your success will start to compound and momentum will build and build until you are at the top.
Don’t stop there though. Success isn’t about making it and then relaxing for the rest of your life. The journey is the enjoyable part, so no matter how much you achieve, keep raising the bar and never lose sight of your goals.
The second way counting the days will negatively impact you is that by looking ahead, you rob yourself of the most valuable asset you own: TIME.
The ‘normal’ way of living is to work to live, meaning most people work in jobs they don’t enjoy to make money to survive, and if they are lucky, use some of that money to do what they enjoy on the side. Sadly, most people will go through the working week wishing it was the weekend, daydreaming about all the fun they are going to have and constantly watching the clock, waiting for each working day to end. This is no way to live.
You are going to spend the majority of your life working so to live a fulfilled life, it is a minimum requirement that you do work that is meaningful to you. Find something that makes you enjoy Monday morning.
It’s time to stop giving up on your goals, and it’s time to stop wasting your life away by living in the past and the future. The cure for this is simple: Look at the 24 hours you have in front of you, and figure out exactly how to make each minute count so you are improving every day.
Each morning is a new opportunity to make progress. Time is going to keep moving no matter what you are doing, so each day that goes by whilst you dwell on the past or are waiting for the future is 24 hours you will NEVER get back.
I don’t care if you feel like you are stuck in a dead-end job, and I don’t care if you work full time, you still have 24 hours every day – many of those you can use to work on something meaningful and start building a life worth living.
Here’s some wisdom from the legend himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to put this into perspective for you:
“It is so important to work your butt off. Don’t ever look for shortcuts. You have to recognize that there are 24 hours a day, we sleep 6 hours a day, and I know that some of you did say ‘wait a minute, I take more time to sleep,’ I say just sleep faster, okay?
Because you should only spend six hours in bed, because otherwise it’s a waste of time. And then you have 18 hours left. Most people work, let’s say, eight to ten hours, so now you still have eight hours left.
What do we do with these eight hours is really the question. So this is when we have to study and learn something new. The key thing is to keep in mind, what is your goal and keep looking at that as you get up and dust yourself off.”
Squeeze everything you can out of those 24 hours. Keep your eyes on the prize but your mind in the present. That is the only way you will make consistent progress and build the life you dream of. It’s time to stop dreaming and start focusing on what you can do in the present to create a better future.