Life is short, make the most of it

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Even though few of us Sharks would agree how to achieve balance in our lives, all of us try desperately to achieve it. Supporting our mission is second to none, but you have to have a plan so that work doesn't overtake your life. Let me suggest that first you have to set your life's priorities and values in concrete. Second, you have to keep your eye on clear targets, and third, you must establish consistency.

Yes, I know it sounds hokey if you've never done it, but I promise if you write down your life's mission you'll be a lot further along then most folks. What do you really want to achieve? What values do you hold dear? What are your priorities? Although a very personal commitment, it's often worth the time to talk this step over with your family and closest friends.

Go ahead, write it down and place it in a location you'll see every day. By the way, I've been carrying mine around for more than 15 years. Examples include "I shall continuously strive to educate myself and promote the betterment of others" or "I shall retire with $1 million in the bank while keeping my priorities to God, family and country."

Next, write down your overall objectives consistent with your mission. Examples are complete my degree, start a business, maintain my weight, stay physically active, support my church, complete 30 years of honorable government service... you get the picture. Make it fun too - drill down and write out 50 things you want to do before you croak. I know that whole idea isn't pleasurable, but at least you'll have a time line.

Carry your list around and plan, plan, plan - so whether you want to shoot less than 80 at a professional golf course, jog on the Great Wall of China, run a marathon or go scuba diving in the Caymans, at least you'll determine those aspirations important to you.

It's not easy - but not much in this world that's worth doing is. Your hardest earned achievements are the ones you'll remember.

They say it takes 21 days to start a habit, but only four to break it. Consistency is key to achieving your aspirations and building confidence. So, write down that mission, put it in a place that you'll see every day. After all, what have you got to lose, except after the next 20 years of your life saying: I wish I would have...