How long-lasting are the decisions that we make? When I look at my life today, I realise that nearly everything in it is still affected by decisions that I either made or failed to make five, ten or even twenty years ago. I was a very different person years ago and my priorities and outlook on life were very different: but decisions I made then are still the basis of many of my present circumstances — my family, the type of work I do, where I live, the state of my health and so on. I’m quite sure that I would have no intention these days of entrusting my future wellbeing into the hands of an inexperienced and irresponsible teenager. Yet even in middle life I’m still living with the fallout from some of the decisions about my life made by just such a teenager — me!
Research has suggested that that the biggest factor in the physical wellbeing of people in their seventies may be the amount of exercise they took when they were in their sixties. And the biggest factor in how well you and I will be living in ten years time is likely to be the decisions we are taking today. But we are often so bogged down in the demands of the present moment that we don’t step back and consider what is going to be really important to us in ten years time. So the decisions we make are taken for short term reasons — but they have long term effects.
One of my key roles as a life coach was to help my clients identify decisions that they wwould look back on with satisfaction in later years. And paradoxically one of the most far-reaching decisions many of us could make is to stop putting up with things that detract from our lives now.
Try this exercise:
Imagine yourself in five years time feeling really good about the way your life has turned out. Write down in as much detail as you can what your life is like — use the present tense.
Now ask yourself: What decisions did I make back in 2007 that got me where I am today?
If you like, you can show your commitment to those decisions by writing them in the Comments.