Updated: December 16, 2022
December is a time when a lot of people are happy and feel most hopeful about life.
And beyond the celebrations, shopping, and reunions, it’s also during this month when we look back at everything we’ve done during the year, and note the failures and successes we’ve experienced.
However, I’d like to challenge you to reflect upon not just this year, but to see how your life has changed in the past five years.
Where were you 5 years ago? What were you doing? What were your hopes and dreams back then?
More importantly, how are you today? Are you now where you imagined you’d be five years ago?
Were you able to make your hopes and dreams come true, or at least be much closer to attaining them now?
Most of the people I’ve asked to do this exercise told me that their lives may have changed, but they’re not much closer to any of their goals in life.
A friend who used to work as an engineer shared that five years ago, he planned to start his own construction firm and go into real estate investing.
Today, that friend is a supervisor in a manufacturing company and owns a single real estate property, a house and lot where he and his wife now live.
The things most people do
“So what are your goals five years from now?” I asked my friend.
“I hope to start my own business, probably a mini-grocery, and also buy a condo unit that I can rent out,” he replied.
“That’s not much different from your goals five years ago,” I remarked.
“Is it? Well, yeah you’re right,” he said after taking a moment to think about it.
“What happened to your goal before starting your own firm?”
“I was already writing a business plan when I got this job offer. The salary was excellent, and so I grabbed the opportunity.”
“What about your plans for investing in properties?”
“When I accepted this job, I had to put that on hold because I got so busy at work.”
“Then you bought a house and lot.”
“Yeah, my company formed a partnership with this bank, and all supervisors got the benefit of guaranteed approval for a home loan. My wife and I have been wanting to move out of my parents’ house, so we took the offer.”
The things you need to do
Our goals in life may change, but when the things you want five years ago are still the same today, and you’re not any closer to achieving them, then you’ve wasted five years of your life procrastinating on your dreams.
You’ve been taking the easy road by letting circumstances dictate your actions. You have been drifting through life hoping that everything will one day fall into place.
You’ve allowed yourself to get distracted by new, unchallenging, but less meaningful goals because you dreaded the difficulties you’ll face if you stay committed to your dreams.
My friend could have declined the job offer and continued with the business planning that he already started. Furthermore, he could have bought a rental property instead of a house, and just learned to bear living with his parents for a few more years.
These are hard and uncomfortable choices that are riddled with fear and self-doubt but realize that nothing worth having will ever come easy.
To reach your goals – you must sacrifice things that others can’t, go the extra mile where others don’t, and exert effort that others won’t.
To reach your goals, you need to do what you already know you must do but have been avoiding doing because it’s hard.
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Photo credits: robertbaker