If we consistently do what we have to do before we do what we want to do, eventually we can do more of what we want to do.
There are two levels of things we have to do: the things we are committed to do in which their are immediate consequences if we don’t, and the things which we should do that will have no immediate consequences if we don’t. For example, going to a job is a have to in which our failure to do so, will result in losing the job which will create a difficult consequence. Exercising is something we should do, but if we don’t do it today, we won’t necessarily notice the negative consequence.
Most of us are pretty good at the “have to” that relates to a job, so let’s set that aside for this concept. The bigger issue in the quest for a high quality of life is dealing with the should do versus the want to do.
For achieving a high quality of life we should exercise, eat quality foods, pursue our passions, invest in our relationships, invest in our personal development, and each of us has more in this list. At the same time there is also lots of things that we want to do, that don’t necessarily fit into the things I just mentioned. Primarily these relate to fun and relaxation. The challenge comes when we lack the discipline to do the things we should do before doing the things we want to do.
When we consistently do what we want to do, before we do what we should do, we end up paying a price in the long term that we wish we didn’t have to pay. Everything has a price. The key is to identify the things that we should do and make them as important from a commitment perspective as the things we have to do (like a job). Then make a personal commitment to do these things before you do what you want to do. The cool thing about this, is that the benefit in terms of quality of life are so high from doing these should do things, that eventually you want to do them.
You can, if you stick to this path, work your way into a life where the majority of what you do is what you want to do. It all starts with a few little disciplines each day. So for today, write down the things that you have to do and the things that you should do…and then do them all…whatever is left over in time, do what you want. You will feel so good about how your day goes that you might want to do it again tomorrow!