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5 minutes or 5 years?
A simple trick to stay focused on your long term goals
With all the various decisions we have to make every day, it can be hard to stay focused on accomplishing our long-term goals. Luckily there is a simple question you can ask yourself to stay focused on achieving your goals in life.
The next time you are trying to make a decision or deciding what activity to prioritize for the day, just ask yourself this question:
“Will this positively impact me for the next 5 minutes or for the next 5 years?”
Our lives are ultimately the accumulation of tiny habits formed from the mini decisions we make each and every day. Should I buy those new headphones? Make a salad or pick up a pizza? Skip the gym and just go straight to happy hour? Over time, how we answer these questions day in and day out will ultimately determine our path in life. We’ve all heard the age-old question, “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, it’s not a perfect question by any means, but it does make us pause and think for a moment about our long-term goals.
It’s easy to get lost in all of our day-to-day tasks
If you are anything like me, you too get lost in the day-to-day tasks and decisions you have to make. Before you know it, the day is over…an entire week has gone by….now a month…now a year, etc. It’s something I struggle with and I must admit that I have nowhere near mastered making the right decision for my future self on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis.
However, I recently came up with a simple question to ask myself any time I am struggling to decide what to do: “Is this going to benefit me for just the next 5 minutes or is this decision going to benefit me in 5 years?”. This powerful question has helped to influence some of my decisions lately and has served as a constant reminder to focus more on making choices that future me will be proud of.
None of us are perfect so let’s not try to be
I would never claim that I always make the right decisions for future me (far from it actually, just ask my friends…) and this little trick isn’t meant to remove all fun from my life or yours. I like to eat unhealthily, grab drinks with friends, and just do stuff because, well, it’s fun dammit. Of course, I am not perfect. But I can’t let short-term fun turn into long-term negative consequences and when I need to make sure I’m focusing on putting myself in a position to accomplish my long-term goals, the 5 minutes or 5 years trick seems to work pretty damn well. Try it for yourself, I think you’ll be surprised at how well it can work.
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