There are times, in our lives, when everything seems to fall into place, almost magically. An unexpected romance approaches us at a party, a phone call from an old acquaintance results in an exciting job offer, we stumble into a new hobby we uniquely excel in, or the lottery ticket we picked up at the convenience store hits every number.
But for the most part, that is not how life works. Instead, the good things in life we achieve and become are the result of intentional effort pursuing those things.
The person we want to be doesn’t just happen by accident—it doesn’t unexpectedly approach us at a party.
Even in the examples above, as has often been repeated, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” So maybe those rare moments in life when everything seems to fall into place were actually the result of innumerable intentional actions taken in the past.
The second law of thermodynamics states that “as one goes forward in time, the degree of disorder of any system will always increase (or at least stay the same).” In other words, without constant attention and reordering, our lives will trend towards chaos, rather than order.
That is why it is so important that each of us live intentional lives—focused, discerning, disciplined—each and every day.
The person we want to be won’t happen by accident. We need to take steps toward it.
- If you want to be healthy and eat well, that doesn’t just happen by accident. It requires discipline in our diet and physical fitness.
- If you want a successful marriage, it requires work and effort and patience and faithfulness.
- If you want to be an intentional parent, that requires constant attention and selflessness.
- If you want to get out of debt, that requires a budget and sacrifice and moderation.
- If you want to live a minimalist life focused on the things that matter most, that doesn’t just happen by accident. It requires focus and the ability to live different than society around us.
Who do you want to be ten years from now? However you choose to answer that question, you will only arrive there if you take action to make it a reality.
Now, what specific steps must be taken in order to achieve that? That can be tough to answer, certainly.
But we do know one thing: It won’t happen by accident. It will require action.
And there are different approaches to achieve that:
—James Clear will encourage you to get 1% better each day.
—Kendra Adachi would advise you to repeat ridiculously small steps.
—Gretchen Rubin thinks looking back at your past will help you formulate a plan for the future.
—Leo Babauta encourages you to find a trigger event each day to help form a habit.
—Emily Freeman says just do the next right thing.
As for me? I’d encourage you to pick three healthy habits and accomplish them each day and remind you that the best thing you can do is decide to show up in your own life.
There are countless books and articles that can be read about forming habits and self-improvement (this blog included). But none of them help until we realize their importance in our lives.
So let me ask again: Who do you want to be ten years from now?
And what are the chances that is just going to happen by accident?
You need to act to make your future you a reality. And I’d recommend starting today.
Your future you will be here before you realize it—might as well be the one you want it to be.