Editorial Notebook

Avoid putting off long-term goals

The future can be a scary place. It holds a great deal of variables, many more than most can possibly comprehend or account for. It’s the myriad of meandering paths the future can take, however, that can make it so interesting. No matter your views on the matter, most agree that it is best to be prepared for most any eventuality that may befall oneself.

What does this mean? You can’t just, say, build a bomb shelter and decide to deal with the aftermath, well, after the fact. Thinking ahead and anticipating misfortunes, especially long-term ones, is more ideal. Basically, you should look at both short-term and long-term consequences to your actions. Most people seem to prioritize short-term gains over long-term ones. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that long-term gains may cause short-term losses. That means you have to undergo risk management and also necessitate strategic thinking—something that wasn’t possible until humans got brains capable of advanced thought, which wasn’t too long ago in the grand scheme of things.

Evidence of this is readily available in the form of procrastination. I, for one, cannot think of anyone who did not suffer from the malaise that’s putting off what you can do today until tomorrow—yours truly included. Procrastination can feel great when you’re doing it, but it’s almost definitely better to do things earlier—or at least pace them throughout the allotted time—rather than putting it off to the night before.

Focusing on long-term goals over short-term ones can sound easy enough, but if the principles of things like procrastination are already a habit, it can become very difficult to break. Just telling yourself you’ll “do better next time” without changing anything doesn’t often work. If it’s worth enough to you to want to change, you have to force yourself to be on time with goals that you set. Perhaps closing your web browser or blocking certain sites—temporarily, of course—may help. Or, maybe, you could enlist a few friends and work together to better yourselves. No matter the avenue you take to get there, as long as you arrive at a better destination, it’ll help yourself move forward in life.

For those who don’t procrastinate (as much), don’t feel the need to reduce their procrastinating, or who are putting off fixing the procrastination, I urge you to at least think in both the long and short terms, rather than just one or the other, and weigh the benefits and detriments to your decisions accordingly. If you want, you can even analyze the decisions of others in that light as well. You might be surprised at what you find.