I got to thinking about this post, as I was fly fishing north of Toronto a few weeks ago. I was drudging through muddy waters trying to make my way upstream. It was a constant battle to keep moving forward.

Have you ever actually sat down and thought about what your life will look like five years from now?

Every self-help book or “how to make more money” book I’ve ever read suggests that you start with the endpoint in mind. They all say the exact same thing.

Set your goals and have an endpoint in mind. Take action and work towards that goal. They call it the secret.

But how many of us actually do it? I’d be willing to bet not very many. Yet how many people are unhappy with their current situation? I’d be willing to bet a lot.

I talk a lot about drudging through the work week because, quite frankly, we all know a lot of people who are just drudge along.

We all know people who aren’t excited about Monday’s. We all know people who hate their J.O.Bs (just over broke)

Yet they drudge on.

But where are they drudging to? Back in the river, as I worked my way upstream, I could really see no end in sight. It was a constant battle, and I was barely making any progress.

I have a feeling most people don’t do this exercise because most people assume they’ll be doing the exact same thing in five years they’re doing now.

Or, I’m guessing that people do the exercise halfheartedly and make up ridiculous life scenarios. They say things like “In five years, I’ll be sipping a drink in front of my beach hut in Thailand living off Lottery winnings.”

Here’s my suggestion:

Actually do the exercise and be honest about it. Map out your ideal life. Don’t be afraid to even map out what you would consider a perfect life.

What will you be doing for a living?

What will your family look like?

Where will you be living?

What new hobbies will you have?

Be as detailed as you want, but also be honest and realistic.

I’ll make a confession. I did the exercise a while back. I even wrote down the nitty-gritty details, like the size of our house and the color of our front door. I wrote about the relationships I would have with friends and family. I talked about my non-existent dream dog. I wrote down what I would do in my spare time.

The point I want to stress is that if you can look at a blank slate, and all you can muster up is endlessly drudging along for the next five years, you can bet you’ll still be drudging and get pretty damn good at it.

And maybe you’re happy with your current life, but I still don’t think that exempts you from the exercise. Maybe your dream is to drudge along because of the shiny golden years of retirement that await. That’s fine. I’m not discounting that, but you still need a script.

We all have a chance to write our own script. Sure, things will change and be updated along the way, but without a script or a story to begin with, nothing’s going to change.

You can be guaranteed of that.