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Intentionally Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

The following post is from Jeff of My Super-Charged Life:


Do you need something to look forward to?

Having something positive out on the horizon to work towards will increase your happiness.  It will brighten your day and give you a sense of purpose.  It will help you change your life for the better.

Do you lack enthusiasm right now?

Is the joy missing from your life?

Do you have an area where you need to change?

If so, then look to the future, define some goals for yourself and get busy making something happen.

Looking Back Is a Trap That Hinders You

We tend to spend too much of our time lamenting over the past.  We want to fix our bad habits which is essentially the same thing as wanting to change the past.  Whatever you did yesterday is gone. It is over.  There is nothing you can do about it.

Our whole society is largely to blame for giving us this tendency.

Look at our media.  What do they do?  They continually and obsessively rehash and analyze the past.  This is true in sports, politics, business, finances and even entertainment.

As a result, you get lured into constantly looking backward.  You get stuck in your past instead of looking forward and building your future.

Let me give you another example.  If you are sad or distraught and you go to a therapist for help, what are they most likely going to do?  They are going to talk to you about the past.  They are going to explore what’s already happened to figure out what brought you to where you are.

There is no doubt that looking back is a strong tendency.  Unfortunately, it is also a trap that holds you back from living the best life possible.

Looking Forward Is the Key to a Better Future

Research has shown time and again that looking forward to something is much more effective than looking back.  You can use this in a number of ways to improve your life:

1.  Look Forward to Happiness

You will be happier if you give yourself something to look forward to expectedly.  You need to identify the activities in your life that make you happy and then proactively arrange to do more of these things on a regular, recurring basis.  This seems like commonsense, but I think we often fail to do it.

If you love to travel, then get a trip on your calendar.  If you love to declutter your living space, then set aside some time to clean out a closet in the near future.  Having these things to look forward to will add happiness to your life.

2.  Look Forward to Better Habits

We often go about breaking bad habits in completely the wrong way.  We tend to try to guilt ourselves into doing better.  We do this by replaying in our minds how our bad habit has caused us problems in the past.  This is not the most effective strategy.  Instead, you should develop a compelling vision of how your future will improve once you change.

For example, if you need to correct your bad eating habits so you can lose weight, then write down all the ways that your life will be better once you do so.  Make a list of all the positive impacts this will have on you, your family and the significant others close to you.

Developing such a strong vision of the future that pulls you forward is a much more effective strategy for breaking bad habits than trying to coerce yourself with the past.

3.  Look Forward to More Success

Having clear, written goals that are specific, measurable and attainable with an explicit deadline is widely accepted as the best path to success.  Clearly, such goals are forward-looking.  Learning from past mistakes is important, but dwelling on them is definitely counterproductive.  If you want a better life, then you’ve got to define what you want and take specific action steps to bring it to pass.

In addition to helping you become more successful at whatever you desire, this purpose-driven lifestyle is more fulfilling and rewarding.  It will give you a sense of growth and accomplishment.  These both contribute to your overall sense of well-being.

Are you intentionally giving yourself things to look forward to in your life?  What are your plans?  I’d love to hear them.

Jeff Nickles writes My Super-Charged Life to help people find success and meaning in their life. He has spent many hours researching these topics and loves making it easy for others to use the wisdom he discovers. Jeff is a corporate IT Director, but also has experience as an entrepreneur, consultant, training instructor, and military officer.