Every single day, I spend at least a few minutes thinking about what I want from my life. I think about things like what my children will tell my grandchildren about me or what might be said in my eulogy or the sum total of people I’ve positively impacted during my time on this earth.
Those are big, weighty things and they can be hard to really think about because much of our future is shrouded in a mist of uncertainty. We often don’t know exactly what our life will be like tomorrow, let alone in five years or in twenty.
When you spend your time thinking about the short term— today, tomorrow, this weekend — it becomes a lot easier to justify expenses. However, when you spend your time thinking about the long term – your big objectives over the rest of your life – then the short-term expenses start to look less meaningful. Does a new dress for the wedding function this weekend really matter very much? What really matters is the relationships you build there.
Should you not be thinking about short-term needs? Well, that is not the point. The point is that when you are making short-term expenses – today, tomorrow, this weekend— do you ask how these expenses impact on your long term goals? Let’s exemplify this. If you wish to live a long, healthy life and you are drinking spirits everyday and eating lots meat with little exercises, would you be supporting your long-term goal of a long and healthy life? Perhaps not. If you are planning to buy a piece of land within two years and you are failing to save because you are spending on expensive Italian suits, latest mobile phones, and womanising (or manising), then your short-term expenses aren’t reflecting your long term goals.
For me, what I try do is think through things that happened in the last few days and the things I intend to do in the near future with those big ideals in mind. If I am going to the shop tomorrow, how will my spending choices there affect those bigger life goals?
Naturally, I don’t always do everything in terms of the long term, but by thinking through these situations, I make a lot more choices and handle a lot more interactions with the eye toward the long term than I once did.
Have a blessed weekend as you think over how your short-term spending choices impact on your long-term goals!