How many of us do a good job of asking the above question at various stages of our life journey? If we do ask the question, how far out do we look, is the question clearly stated, and do we provide clear answers for ourselves?
Asking where you are headed and what the future will look like is really a lifestyle question which if clearly stated and answered can provide a solid framework for decision making. In crafting the question, it will be important to determine what segments of your lifestyle will be most important over the long haul and at points along the way.
In the best-selling book Wellbeing authors Tom Rath and Jim Harter were both executives at Gallup at the time they wrote the book. The book is supported by strong research and is a very good read. They identified five steps to wellbeing and I have added a sixth category Spiritual Wellbeing:
- Career Wellbeing
- Social Wellbeing
- Financial Wellbeing
- Physical Wellbeing
- Community Wellbeing
- Spiritual Wellbeing
If you want to thrive in all the above areas of your life or perhaps areas that you have identified that are different or in addition to the above, you must be mindful. You must have a long-term plan of some kind and monitor your progress along the way.
I know that many of you have done the appropriate planning to allow you to arrive at exactly where you want to be in all the important dimension of your life. There may be some of you who have not done as well as you might have liked. There may be some of you who are at an early life stage and haven?t given the need for long term planning any consideration.
If you are at an early life stage or somewhere in the middle and want to have the best lifestyle (Wellbeing) you can have I suggest that you start working on your plan immediately. Your temptation might be to start with career planning, however I suggest that career planning might be more of a means to an end versus the major driver.
Here are some things to consider:
Where do you want to live for how long and why? The answer to this question can have a major impact on social wellbeing and community wellbeing. Social networks and community engagement take significant time to develop and are made difficult by frequent relocation’s. How important are these two areas to you and your family if you have one or are moving in that direction? Where you decide to live can also have impacts on the other areas as well but to a lesser degree than social and community. Take the time to give this dimension the consideration it deserves. Consider all six of the categories thoroughly when making this important location and longevity in that location decision. You can always change your mind as time passes but you can never get the time back that you lost by making this decision without looking at the long-term impact on all six areas.
What financial needs will you have to support your lifestyle? This review and planning needs to start as early as possible. You can recover from inadequate financial planning at points along the journey but there comes a point where if you haven?t done the appropriate financial planning to support your lifestyle you will need to adjust your lifestyle to match your planning. Time seems to go faster as you travel the life journey and if you are not mindful of your long-term plan at every point in the journey you can be surprised at how much time has passed without paying attention to your long-term lifestyle plan.
I am going to leave the dozens of additional lifestyle planning considerations to you and your advisers. I would encourage you to carve out the time to think about and document the lifestyle you want at each stage of your life, develop and plan and implement it and find someone to help you stay accountable.
Good Luck to those of you in the early stage of your journey and congratulations to all of you who are way ahead of me and are reaping the benefits of your mindfulness.