Three principles of long-term thinking to help plan for the future

The decisions we make today affect all of our lives in the future. If we waste our time now on nonsense, we won’t be successful in life and our careers.

We may have to go into debt in a few years if we waste money now. If we don’t spend enough time with our children now, we won’t have a solid, trusting relationship when they grow up. If we’re wasting time on nonsense now, we’re not going to get ahead in life and our careers. So thinking about the future is very important. Renowned blogger Trent Hamm has identified three basic principles for this kind of thinking. Learn these principles, but first, subscribe to our Telegram channel. We often publish such valuable articles!

The three principles of long-term thinking are

1. If what you’re doing today won’t benefit you in the future, it’s not worth doing at all

If you can’t clearly articulate what good will come of doing something in the future (months or years from now), then it’s not worth doing it. This principle can be applied in any area.

For example, when we sit down to eat, our short-term thinking tells us to put as much of the tastiest food on our plate as possible, even though this is harmful in the long run. It would be healthier to eat a variety of foods but not overeat.

Or when we think about what to do in the evening, short-term thinking encourages us to relax, surf the Internet, or watch a soap opera. But in the long run, there is no benefit. It would be much more helpful to spend time with family or friends, take an online course or read to learn something new, exercise to improve your health or do some household chores that we won’t have time for later.

2. Thinking about the future doesn’t mean you have to suffer in the present

You will have to think about your habits in a new way (read Fifteen habits of a successful person are ruining your career. They are obsolete — get rid of them). You want to reduce your expenses. You must try different financial management strategies and determine which ones work.

If you want to spend your free time differently, try to replace what you are doing now with something that gives you pleasure and helps you realize yourself. Anything else isn’t worth your time.

3. Constantly evaluate your choices, and don’t be afraid to criticize yourself

We are all prone to short-term thinking. It helped our ancestors to survive. But now, that thinking can get in the way (read Seven ways to protect yourself from thinking traps when making decisions).

It does not mean that we should always think only about the future.

Sometimes it’s helpful to take a step back, evaluate your actions, think about why you’re doing things the way you are, and try to change things for the better. For example, you can think about your daily decisions while driving to work or doing something that doesn’t require you to concentrate fully. Just think back to all the things you’ve done recently and evaluate the impact of those actions on your future. If you don’t find any positive consequences or even see negative ones, think about how you could have spent your time, energy, and money differently.

Another approach is to take notes. Take a few minutes a day to evaluate your actions and mistakes. Think about how to turn valuable actions into habits and what to do to avoid repeating this or that mistake.

How to improve your future

First, imagine what your future looks like. But don’t make up an apocalyptic scenario. Imagine what will happen if you continue to live exactly as you do today.

Is your capital increasing from year to year? How much has it increased or decreased in the last year? If things keep going the way they are now, what will your income be ten years from now?

How are you doing in your career? Are you gaining new skills for promotion? Read 11 flexible skills that will advance your career. Is there a risk that your job will be automated in 10 or 20 years? What do you do?

Are you happy with your relationships? Do you have close friends you can rely on? Read Networking with empathy: what is it, how, and why to build it. Is your marriage strong? What do you do daily to maintain close relationships with your family?

What is your state of health? Do you have an average weight? Do you get enough exercise? Are you eating right?

There will always be some areas you’re not entirely happy with. And that’s a good thing because it means that you want to improve your life in the future.

Identify the areas that bother you the most, and start making regular choices for the long term.

If you are worried about your health, start eating better and exercising more often. You don’t have to make drastic changes to your life right away. Think about your future self when you sit at the computer or choose what to eat for dinner. Whatever area of your life you want to improve—financial, professional, social, spiritual—look at the choices you make today, and then ask yourself what will be more beneficial in the long run.

That’s impossible. You have to be mindful of your future. You want a good life in a few years, so let that motivate you to make good choices today.

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