The reason for this phenomenon is quite simple -- through air traffic control and the inertial guidance system, pilots are constantly course-correcting. When immediately addressed, these course corrections are not hard to manage. When these course corrections don't regularly happen, catastrophe can result.
Our lives are like airplanes. We're always getting pushed off-track. If we don't have a system in place, the needed corrections will be too big, and we'll never get where we intended to go.
1. Organizing your life
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains that some things are important, and some things are urgent. Most people spend their life prioritizing urgent and "shallow" activity (e.g., answering emails, putting out proverbial fires, and just day-to-day stuff).
Very few people have organized their lives to prioritize almost exclusively important and "deep" activity (e.g., learning, health, relationships, travel, and goals).
2. Plan and invest in your future
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."--Chinese Proverb
Very few people consciously plan and design their life. It's actually startling how few Americans are investing in their future, both financially and mentally.
But you have complete power over the details of your life the moment you decide you're worthy of that power. That decision is manifest in tangible behaviors, like fixing or removing troubled relationships and saying "no" to activities that are nothing more than a waste of your time.
You get to decide right now.
"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!" -- Benjamin Franklin
Your vision should be based on your why, not so much your what.
Your why is your reason, your what is how that is manifest. And your "what" can happen in a ton of different ways. For example, my why is to help people get clarity on the life they want to live, and to help them achieve their goals as quickly as possible. My what could be blogging, parenting, consulting, going out to dinner, and several other things.
3. Tracking important metrics
"When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates. "--Thomas Monson
Getting organized and investing in your future are futile if you're not tracking.In regards to the most important areas of your life, you need to be on top of what's going on.
Tracking is difficult. If you've tried it before, chances are, you quit within a few days.
Research has repeatedly found that when behavior is tracked and evaluated, it improves drastically.
If you're not tracking the key areas of your life, than you're probably more off-course than you think. If you were to be honest with yourself, you'd be stunned how out-of-control things have become.
As J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, has said, "The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it."
4. Prayer and meditation to reduce the noise
"I have so much to do today that I'm going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done." -- Martin Luther
There's a lot of emphasis on hustle these days.
Hustle, hustle, hustle.
But all the hustle in the wrong direction isn't going to help you. Yes, by hustling you can fail often, fail fast, and fail forward. However, as Thomas Merton has said, "People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall."
This happens way too often. We get caught in the thick of thin things. Far too late do we realize that in our mad rush, we were pursuing someone else's goals instead of our own.
5. Move toward your goals every single day
How many days go by where you did nothing to move toward your big goals?
Probably too many.
Life is busy.
If you don't purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve -- without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. Before you know it, you'll be old and withered, wondering where all that time went.
As Harold Hill has said: "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays."
If you take just one step toward your big goals every day, you'll realize those goals weren't really far away.
Do this long enough and you'll be shocked.