I was reading an article on a recent social experiment by a writer who asked people aged 37 and above what advice they would give to their 30-year-old selves. The idea, he said, was to “crowd source the life experience [of the readers] and create another article based on their collective wisdom”.

The response was amazing. More than 600 responses landed in his inbox. Even more amazing were the quality of advice and insight that people gave, which touched on various topics like finances, family and health. Do you know what they had in common? They wished they had planned their life better.

There were those in their 40s, 50s or older and stuck in debt, living from paycheck to paycheck, struggling with an illness fuelled by an unhealthy lifestyle or wallowing in guilt and unhappiness over things they took for granted or procrastinated on.

Life is full of distractions and it is easy to allow yourself to get distracted, especially if you’re not yet feeling the effects of the choices you made today. It’s easy to give in to your whims. Go on a binge. Spend all that cash on frivolous things. Skip that workout. Put off the hard work and settle for the mediocre or easy way out. But remember: You reap what you sow and whatever you invest in yourself now or fail to invest in yourself now will directly impact you—if not now then in the future.

Many of today’s stresses are the product of poor planning and execution of those plans. In fact, many of the problems we create for ourselves are products of what we fail to plan and do even when we have all the time to do them. Whether it is to have the family you want, the career you want or the lifestyle you’d like to have today or in your old age—it is important to have a plan and to work on making that plan happen.

If you’re aiming for nothing then you are certain to hit your target—nothing! 

You know that question “How do you see yourself five or ten years from now?”—if you’re floundering through that, then you will most certainly be constantly floundering though life.
Spend time on really thinking about what you want from life. Set goals about your ideal future.  This is a powerful way of motivating yourself so you can turn your vision into a reality. Setting goals also helps you focus your efforts, lets you organize your time, resources and energy so that you can achieve what you want without getting sidetracked. You can do more in life if you focus on one thing and do it well.
Sure, the future is unpredictable but this should not be an excuse to live your life recklessly. Control the things you can control now; do things right, right now, and your future will take care of itself.
What is your goal? Do you want a healthier life? Then start taking care of your health now. Make smart choices in food and correct your eating habits. Take time to exercise. Remember, health is wealth. If you take care of your body, you will not only look good but feel good as well.
Do you want a happier relationship? Surround yourself with positivity. Take care of people who treat you well and avoid those who don’t bring value to your life. Hold on to those who bring out the best in you and invest time and effort on them.
Do you want a good career? Then make an effort to continually improve your craft. Invest in yourself and update your knowledge. Whether it is taking extra courses or going for seminars—continue to grow as an individual.
When you find out what you really want, take some positive steps toward making it into a reality. If you take care of things now, then the future will take care of itself. By taking concrete steps into achieving your goals, you will be acting your way into a future you want.
You don’t have to go through life feeling as if you’re not getting anywhere worthwhile.  Plan to live your life your way. Stop drifting. Life is short and it is important to have a plan to use it wisely.