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Visualize the short- and long-term consequences then strategically plan your actions.
For Part 3, let's start with a gloomy mental exercise to bring clarity to the habit concepts we will discuss. We will skip ahead by three years and imagine a tragic situation where you have sadly passed away. All your loved ones, including work friends, have come for your funeral. Everyone in attendance takes a turn to deliver a eulogy in your memory. What do you hope and want each person to say when they talk about you?
Yes, this is very uncomfortable to imagine, but doing this exercise can teach us something. As you slowly become aware of this grim scenario, the mundane parts of your daily life start to fade away, and the things that truly matter become clear. You will remember the people you cared about, the things you've done, and the kind of world you left behind.
This sad experiment shows how important it is to think about the long-term consequences when planning your life. Because of this, highly effective people have the habit of carefully considering their actions and outcomes, which brings us to our second habit: starting each task with a desired result.
Anything you do, no matter how minor, is performed twice. To complete a task successfully, you must first visualize your plan. This plan can be simple, like a mental list of chores, or detailed and complex, like a business plan. Either way, it will serve the same purpose.
It is essential to plan ahead and keep an eye on the future. Doing so will allow you to travel well in your present. Think about this like building your dream house. It's always a good idea to draw up plans before putting up the walls or the roof. Otherwise, the building process will be a chaotic mess. The outcome will be devastating if there is no clear picture of what is being built. You'll waste expensive supplies in addition to making pricey mistakes.
This idea of visualizing your plan is easy to use with short-term projects. For instance, in the business world, it is always a good idea to plan out your week in advance and have clear goals for what you want to accomplish by the end of each quarter. This way, you can ensure you get the most out of the time you spend working.
But long-term planning is where this habit truly pays off. In order to do this, you need to make a personal statement of life goals that says what kind of life you want to live. Do some serious self-reflection and write down what you truly hope to accomplish, what values you want to uphold, and what you consider a genuine accomplishment. Use this document to track your progress and to help you decide what to do. Because when you know where you want to go, it's much easier to keep going in the right direction.
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