Living the good life

Align your actions with your ultimate life goals for better results  

By J.H. Hyun

Apple founder Steve Jobs, in his commencement address to Stanford University in 2005, made the following statement, which pretty much explained why he was so successful in his life:

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

What have you been doing lately? Where would that lead you? Are you living consistently with how you want to be remembered by your loved ones when you are no longer around?

Your life plan

Many of you are so busy living day-to-day, bouncing from one urgent issue to the next, that you have lost focus on your ultimate destination. You meander through the maze of your life without a clear focus and ultimate destination in mind.

Too many times you allow other people and events to dictate your priorities, your life goals and the life path you take. If you happen to be in this situation, here is a set of practical steps you can take to realign your actions with your ultimate goals.

Reflect on your life to date and prioritize your life. Invest sometime today to reflect on the most important people and commitments in your life. Take 10 minutes each morning before you start your day to properly plan and prioritize your activities for the day.

Make sure to work on the high priority items first and cross them off as you complete the tasks. Take one full day each year to reflect on the past year and to set your priorities for the upcoming year. We can get the most of our lives by not only appropriately choosing what we do, but just as important, what we choose not to do. Make sure to define your priorities clearly and take actions consistently.

Clearly define what you want out of your life. Would you ever hop into a taxi and expect the cab driver to tell you where you should go? Of course, the ultimate destination should be dictated by you. The driver is there to help you by choosing the right path and making the appropriate turns. Just as true, when it comes to your life journey, you should define your own set of goals and your final destination.

Be specific in defining your goals. Be a better spouse, be a more loving parent, get in shape, lose weight, work harder, be a better Christian, etc. aren’t specific enough. When you define your goals, double check to make sure you can measure your progress.

Replace your vague ambitions with clear goals: Spend 20 minutes each night reading to my son as he goes to bed. Join my neighbor in running around the park every Monday and Wednesday mornings at 6 a.m. Stop eating afternoon snacks at work and no fried food for the next 30 days. Take public transportation and pack my own lunch for the next three months to save enough for my wife’s birthday gift in January.

You will have much better chance of success with specific goals than admirable but ambiguous ones.

Make necessary readjustments—starting today! Your today is an accumulated result of your yesterdays—the planned and unplanned events that took place in your life, decisions you have made, people you have met and chose to associate with, actions you took, how you chose to invest your time, money and effort.

Likewise, your tomorrow is being shaped and determined by how you choose to spend today. For everyone, without an exception, we are where we are as a consequence of our past, and our future is being formed by how we choose to spend this very moment. Start today on achieving your ultimate dreams and goals!

Joong (“Joon”) H. Hyun is the author of recently released “Outswimming the Sharks: Overcoming Adversities, Naysayers, and Other Obstacles to Lead a Meaningful Life.” For the past two decades, Hyun has worked with various global Fortune 500 companies at the executive level before his current role as vice president of Global Business Processes for a multibillion-dollar U.S. based company. He can be reached through

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