DON’T LOOK BACK…LOOK FORWARD
By: Edward Morton
This journey we have all been on has had many interesting, challenging, and discouraging moments. I’m sure everyone, especially at this point in life, has sat back and said to herself or himself, “I should have”, “If I could change one thing from the past”, or “If I had just done that differently” life would be better. But here’s the question – would it? If you had done that one thing differently or made a different decision, what would have been the consequences and what would have been the effects on others? You would be living in a different reality wondering if you had made other choices, would life be better? If you had chosen a different college or a different line of work, had children earlier, etc., etc., what would you be like now? Fantasizing about the different effects these choices or others would have had on your life is one of life’s most interesting pastimes. But here you are, the results of those decisions surround you, and this is the present that has evolved from your choices. Like it, hate it, whatever it, but this is it.
But as a coach, mentor and friend of mine has said, “I never look back. I only look forward”. And now that most of us are retired or planning on retiring, what will you do going forward? Are there personal difficulties you need to address; mountains you want to climb; relationships you need to mend? All of these are in your purview and they ARE things you can address now and know in the future that you attended to them and made a path of your choosing. You CAN create a future that you will be proud of.
So, how can you make the future one of your choosing given you are where you are, financially, physically, spiritually and mentally? Let’s take the easiest first – financial. You have what you have – period. Unless you are willing to take big risks, you probably will not be able to impact your financial assets substantially. So, you must be judicious in how you use your assets, so look forward. Make sure you are not currently living over your head, so you will have sufficient financial assets for your expected life. Take stock of your assets, make sure you have planned for your future basic needs (housing, food, medical, etc.) and then decide if you can take that special trip or buy that sports car you have wanted since you were 17. This is much better than finding out five years from now that you shouldn’t have made that purchase!
Second, physical. This is one area of your life that you can impact – it just takes dedication. Change that diet, hit the gym, walk those 5,000 steps, lose that five pounds. You WILL be healthier and be able to do more. For more emphasis, make these changes with your spouse or significant other. Two people working on changes, and challenging each other, will add some fun to the endeavor, and make the desired outcome much more likely.
Lastly, for spiritual and mental, you need to take stock and make some forward looking decisions. Making changes in these areas will require time management by blocking out some time periods during the day or evening. You may want to learn something new or dedicate some quiet time. But in either case, you will have to discipline yourself to stop what you are doing, and do what you have said you would do to make your changes.
Again, don’t look back, look forward to change your life and make your future what you want it to be. Make the dedication, smile, and enjoy. You’ll create a future of your choosing.
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