How does today impact tomorrow’s success?


Everyone wants to have a good day, but not many people know what a good day looks like – much less how to create one. And even fewer people understand how the way you live today impacts your tomorrow.

Have you ever asked someone what he was doing and heard him respond, “Oh, I’m just killing time”? Have you ever really thought about that statement? A person might as well say, “I’m throwing away my life,” because, as Benjamin Franklin asserted, time is “the stuff life is made of.” Today is the only time we have within our grasp, yet many people let it slip through their fingers. They recognize neither today’s value nor its potential.

If we want to do something with our lives, then we must focus on today. That’s where tomorrow’s success lies. But how do you win today? How do you make today a great day instead of one that falls to pieces? Here’s the missing piece:

The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.

It all comes down to what you do today. Now I don’t mean your “to-do” list. Nor am I asking you to adopt a particular kind of calendar or computer program to manage your time. I’m focusing on something bigger. I want you to embrace what may be a whole new approach to life:

Make the decision once, then manage it daily.

There are only a handful of important decisions that people need to make in their entire lifetimes. Does that surprise you? Most people complicate life and get bogged down in decision-making. My goal has always been to make it as simple as possible. I’ve boiled the big decisions down to twelve things. Once I’ve made those twelve decisions, all I have to do is manage how I’ll follow through on them.

If you make decisions in those key areas once and for all – and then manage those decisions daily – you can create the kind of tomorrow you desire.

Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily.

Here are the twelve areas where I make decisions and then manage them on a day-to-day basis:

  1. Attitude: Today’s attitude gives me possibilities.
  2. Priorities: Today’s priorities give me focus.
  3. Health: Today’s health gives me strength.
  4. Family: Today’s family time gives me stability.
  5. Thinking: Today’s thinking gives me an advantage.
  6. Commitment: Today’s commitment gives me tenacity.
  7. Finances: Today’s financial decisions give me options.
  8. Faith: Today’s faith gives me peace.
  9. Relationships: Today’s relationships give me fulfillment.
  10. Generosity: Today’s generosity gives me significance.
  11. Values: Today’s values give me direction.
  12. Growth: Today’s growth gives me potential.

This post is adapted from my book Today Matters, which approaches each of those decisions in greater detail and offers practical advice on how to make them early and manage them daily.

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  1. 1

    […] How does today impact tomorrow’s success? | John Maxwell on Leadership Finances: Today’s financial decisions give me options. […]

  2. 2

    […] To see more from Maxwell, including the areas of his life that he works to manage daily, follow this link to the full article. […]

  3. 3
    Nosphiwo says:

    Those 12 areas to making the right decision are so meaningfull.It is a pity I dont know how to implement them

    • 3.1
      SteveR says:

      If you purchase the book, it will give better descriptions and means of implementation. I think mine was about $12.00 U.S. There is also a workbook (which I do not have) that can be purchased with the book.
      Look at it as an investment i your future.

  4. 4

    Great information on what to focus on to have a great day.

  5. 5

    […] Click here to read full post Rate this: Share this:MoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  6. 6
    Rob Moore says:

    John, great advice! I know I heard you say that years ago in one of your speeches or interviews. It was great to be reminded of it again and I love simple too! Thanks for sharing such valuable information!

  7. 7

    […] a recent column, John Maxwell makes a similar point – that true leadership, true greatness starts by doing something today.  Not in the “I’m going to the moon today” type activities, but by sitting down today and […]

  8. 8

    […] Follow JohnCMaxwell on Twitter. Or visit John’s Facebook page. Introducing a new daily video program, A Minute with Maxwell. Sign up here. It’s free! How does today impact tomorrow’s success? […]

  9. 9
    Antonio Cecere says:

    Hi great John, can I ask you if I can find it in italian and what’s the exactly book title?
    Thank you very much!

  10. 10
    Wade says:

    This is so good to know that there are other Christian out here spreading the Word around! keep it up!