In your day-to-day routine, there are tons of decisions to be made. Some of them are spur-of-the-moment choices and others are carefully planned. When making these decisions, it’s common to consider their present or short-term effects. Although this line of thinking is normal, we encourage you to shift your focus. Rather than wondering, “How will this decision affect me tomorrow?” start by asking, “How will this decision affect my future?” In doing this, we benefit our future for the long-term.

We recognize that it’s easier to prioritize your present comforts rather than thinking long term. However, your legacy depends on your willingness to shift your mind into a more comprehensive thought pattern. Here are our insights into making choices for your eventual success instead of your current convenience.

Better Choices for a Brighter Future

A line of assorted colored pencils.

Before you start making decisions for your future, make sure that you’re properly evaluating each one. Just because you’re thinking long term, doesn’t mean your choices are automatically good.

Here are a few great ways to ensure that your choices will be beneficial: 

  • Play out the various scenarios that could result from your decision. Do they all end positively?
  • Step outside of yourself and consider who your actions might effect?
  • Compare each decision with the other. It’s okay to weigh your options!
  • Make a pros and cons list (you may have heard this advice before, but that’s because it works).
  • Determine why you’re making the decision. Are you contributing to your legacy or just picking the option that provides immediate satisfaction?

As you begin putting a more conscious effort into your decision-making process, you’ll realize that there are many factors to examine. Aside from the ones listed above, take these into consideration.

Choosing a Successful Future Over an Easy Path

A steadily sloping sand path splits a field of tall grass and climbs over a small hill toward a blue horizon.

Remember that your choices won’t always come easily. Sometimes it’s better to pick a path that presents you with resistance and challenges. When you choose difficult routes, you subject yourself to forced growth, which is more effective than choosing an easy route that doesn’t require growth.

Aside from opportunities that present themselves organically (passive choices), you can also make active choices to prepare you for a prosperous future. For example, if you pick a greasy cheeseburger over a lean and clean chicken salad, you may regret that choice later. Or, if you replace routine exercise with television marathons, your body may be less mobile than you’d like it to be in the future. Or, imagine you can bring on a new business partner, but they don’t fully agree with your values or morals. Although it might benefit your business to bring them on now, it might harm you or the organization down the road. It would be better to pass on the opportunity and continue your search for a partner that aligns more with your beliefs.

But this decision-making process doesn’t stop at choices that benefit your long-term physical health. There are decisions you can make right now to protect your mental health, finances, morals, and integrity, too. 

  • Keep your values in mind.
  • Learn from, but don’t dwell on, your mistakes.
  • Focus on what you can control.
  • Gather as many perspectives as possible.
  • Be thankful for what you have and don’t lose focus because of the things you don’t have.

These are just a few of the broad choices that you can make to improve your future. If you’re looking for more specific options to evaluate, look no further. 

Decide to Take Action

A person leaps over a still pond, with a large tree behind them. Both are silhouetted by a low setting sun.

Now that you’ve considered all of the choices in front of you, it’s time to make a move. You can sit idly by and let your life define you or you can take action and define your life. Remember that every decision you make can be broken down into two categories: Temporary comfort in the present or permanent comfort in a prosperous life. Know that you have a choice. And when you make your decision, stand by your choice and never sacrifice your values. At the end of the day, what truly matters is that you’re happy and healthy, so make choices that support this goal.

One sure way to increase lasting happiness is to leave a positive impact on the lives of everyone around you. While you’re out making a difference, developing these traits will help you out along the way.