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By: Bruce Burke

Last week, we talked about the importance of developing a vision of who you aspire to be, then creating goals consistent with that vision. This week, we address an important strategy for achieving those objectives…connecting the short term with the long term.

When we reference the “short term,” we are referencing the daily decisions and behaviors that essentially define who we are. These decisions and behaviors are the vehicle through which we achieve our much larger objectives. It is getting our short-term behaviors to consistently line up with this vision that is the challenge.

Here are some examples…

If a long-term objective includes being remembered as a person of high integrity, short-term behaviors such as “fudging the truth” or speaking poorly about someone behind their back must be avoided. If being a healthy example for your family is important, you can’t eat everything in sight and skip exercising whenever “life” gets in the way. If professional success is important, you can’t procrastinate and avoid stretching yourself.

This probably makes plenty of sense to you, but how do you do it consistently? The challenge is doing the right thing…making the right decision, in the moment.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Make sure your long-term objectives are well defined and written down (mission statement).
  • Keep the big picture front-of-mind; review your mission statement daily.
  • Consider some daily actions and/or commitments that will help you to achieve your long-term objectives, and commit them to paper.
  • Slow down…be mindful of your daily actions. Notice when they do not align with your vision for yourself.
  • Wear a bracelet or carry something in your pocket that will remind you of what is important when it matters the most…decision time!
  • Look for accountability through loved ones or mentorship.
  • Review your behavior regularly through journaling or daily reflection.

Accept the fact that you aren’t going to do things perfectly. Just because you have made a few mistakes and behaved in ways inconsistent with who you aspire to be doesn’t mean the game is over. It simply means you are human and need to refocus.

Finally, as a motivational tool, think about how you have felt in the past when you were “firing on all cylinders”. Think about how good you felt when you were eating right and exercising regularly…it was worth it! You can apply this same concept to all areas of your life. Being disciplined and working hard always leaves us feeling better in the long run.

Look out for next week’s Focus Point of the Week on “Inventory Taking”. Once you have established commitments, regular inventory taking will help to ensure follow through, and, in turn, success!