I have always believed that timing is key. My faith even taught me that there is a season for everything and a time for every purpose. Even though those words hold true and are near to my heart, I also believe that waiting too long and waiting for the right moment can cause a missed opportunity.

There are moments when everything in your being will tell you that now is the time, but we still pause and hold off until we see another sign. Why are we like that? What do we fear? Life’s purpose is different for everyone, and sometimes we often think we don’t know what our goal is, when deep down I believe we do.

I believe we all have some role or calling for our lives, but we decide to make a choice and keep life simple. We go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, and grow old. Don’t get me wrong, these life milestones are beautiful and should be celebrated and even appreciated. I, however, can’t help to believe that there is just more to life.

The older I get, the more I look at my life and think about where I am and where I want to be. I truly am blessed. I have an amazing family and husband, a job that I love, and a circle of friends that cannot be replaced. Even though I am grateful for these things, there is nothing wrong with wanting more.

The only way a person can stick to their habits and goals is if it becomes a part of their identity.

If the pandemic has taught me anything, I have learned that life is short, life can change in an instant, and life is something to be cherished. As the world slowed down, I started to realize that all the excuses I had before about not having enough time or being too tired were a lie. I thought those were valid reasons for not getting things done when in actuality, I was procrastinating and finding reasons to explain my unproductivity.

I recently read that your behaviors are usually a reflection of your identity. Those words stuck in my head and made me assess who I thought I was and who I want to be. I struggle with discipline and try to incorporate better habits into my life daily. I have tried writing to-do lists, setting goals, and even had accountability partners. Even though my intentions are good, they just aren’t enough.

Author and entrepreneur James Clear may have said it best: “True behavior change is identity change.” The only way a person can stick to their habits and goals is if it becomes a part of their identity.

Throughout the year 2020, I have been doing a lot of self-assessment. I realized that even though I am happy with my life, I have wasted a lot of time. I need to be intentional with my everyday decisions if I want to get to where I want to be personally and professionally.

It is so easy to be content with life, especially when things are going well. Have you ever noticed that when things aren’t going well, you are usually working harder and taking more risks? Sometimes those risks end up being the best decisions you ever made.

Instead of waiting for signs to do something that you always wanted to do, take the time to design and plan out your life. Every single choice matters, no matter how small. The things you spend your time on and the people you spend your time with can make all the difference in who you become.

With a couple more days left in 2020, use this time to help define what your life’s purpose is. Are you doing all you can to be happy? Is there anything that you feel you can do more of to make yourself happy? If your answer is yes, then go do it because the cost of procrastination is the life you could have lived.

Write that book, start your business or start making your transition into a new career. You must move differently if you want different. One year from now, you can either have a year of progress or a year of excuses.

Ashley Turner ’12 ’15 is the associate director of Alumni Professional Engagement for UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving. She can be reached at AshleyC.Turner@ucf.edu.

The UCF Forum is a weekly series of opinion columns from faculty, staff and students who serve on a panel for a year. A new column is posted each Wednesday on UCF Today and then broadcast on WUCF-FM (89.9) between 7:50 and 8 a.m. Sunday. Opinions expressed are those of the columnists, and are not necessarily shared by the University of Central Florida.