How to create your 10 year vision and become your best possible self

“Most people overestimate what they can do in 1 year and underestimate what they can do in 10.”

– Bill Gates

In our fast-paced world that literally changes every day, trying to plan beyond 12 months can feel like a waste of time, let alone 10 years out!

Most of us get up every day and go to jobs, whether it is for ourselves or others. We spend our time focussing on what we want to achieve this year…but if you take a moment to think about all your in-year goal setting over the last 5 years (or 10 years), has it brought you closer to the vision of where you wanted to be at this time in your life?

Do you even have a vision of where you want to be in the future?

I know, I didn’t.

It wasn’t until 2017, when my apparent ‘on track’ life felt like it was definitely OFF TRACK. I started asking myself questions about what I expected to see, what I was expecting to feel, what lit me up and the types of people I wanted to be surrounded by.

I didn’t have any of the answers because my sole focus up until then had been about ‘climbing  the ladder’, until I stopped and realised, I had climbed the wrong one.

When I turned 40, I made a conscious decision that I was going to create a life vision of what I wanted to see when I was 50. I am not talking about some hyped up vision board (no judgement, I love a vision board!), I’m talking about deep reflection on:

  • How does my body feel?
  • Am I active?
  • What does an average day look like?
  • What am I doing?
  • What type of people am I talking to?
  • Am I laughing or serious?
  • Does it feel like I am in an office?
  • What does my environment feel like?
  • What noises can I hear?
  • Where am I geographically? Etc.

This took me a month to create.

I know doing things slowly is super annoying, but believe me, it is a life changing exercise.

How to create your 10-year vision.

Creating your 5 or 10 year vision does not have to be a laborious process and you can do it on your own or with a friend, partner, coach or mentor. Whoever you feel most comfortable with!

I created mine with a friend (who also happens to be a fellow coach) and we were able to dig deeper into certain areas & explore what I meant by certain statements; here’s how I approached creating mine.

Step 1: Your Life Quadrants

Before I jumped into creating my vision, I noted down the major areas within my life that I wanted to have clarity around. These are not revolutionary, and they would likely line up with what you would come up with yourself.

Here are the four key areas I landed on:

  • Work/career vocation
  • Family & relationships
  • Health & Wellness
  • Personal / Spiritual growth

I used this framework to start imagining how I wanted my life to look & feel.

Step 2: Start visualising your future

Visualisation can sound like a scary thing if you have never done it before, but it does not need to be complicated. I use a technique called self-visualisation to help me unpack what I *really* wanted to have in my life (beyond material things).

What is self- visualisation?

Self-visualisation is the act of defining your future self, regardless of where you are in this present moment. This technique has been utilised by icons such as Oprah Winfrey and Sara Blakely, and many athletes, to prime their mindset to achieve the life they have always dreamed of.

The idea behind visualisation, is that in the absence of a vision of your ideal future at the forefront of your mind, you have the potential to get stuck in cycles that may not serve you, your goals, or your future.

If you Google ‘self-visualisation techniques’ there are thousands of ways you could go about doing this, but here are my top 3 suggestions:

  1. 5 visualisation techniques to help you reach your goals
  2. How to envision your best possible self
  3. Visualisation techniques to affirm your desired outcome

To keep things simple, my recommendation is to decide on the technique you are most drawn to and start with one of your ‘life quadrants’ (see Step 1) at a time. Do not try and visualise all 4 at once, as its likely you will get confused and not go into enough detail.

I spent one week visualising each quadrant before I moved on to the next.

Step 3: Build on your visualisation with journaling & creative exercises

To build out your visualisation into more detail it is important to bring it into the physical world. There are a few ways you can do this, my personal favourite is ‘brain dump’ journaling, but you could also draw or use another creative outlet (for example, my friend loves being creative with Legos!).

I found journaling (post a visualisation session), helped me capture the details of what I wanted to see in my future. It was also the easiest thing for me to do with the least barriers. Think about it, you may love to paint, but do you need certain conditions to paint and never get around to it? If yes, then find a creative outlet which has the least excuses.

How do I start journaling?

There are no rules with how you journal or what your capture, but I tend to use a method called Morning Pages by Julia Cameron. Once I finish my visualisation, I immediately pick up my journal and brain dump all the things I saw in my visualisation. I don’t edit what I write or try to make it sound coherent, I just write until I am done.

I then take the ‘Life Quadrant’ framework (above) and write the key bullet points from each visualisation into the relevant quadrant. This then becomes my blueprint for my future self.

I have mine written on an A4 piece of paper beside my bed and review it most evenings (this is how you prime your sub-conscious, but I’ll leave this for a future post).

If you are interested in different journaling techniques, here is a newsletter I wrote about popular ways to get started.

Step 4: Create PACT goals to support your vision

As a final step, I use my future vision to create in-year goals. I figure there is no point having misaligned goals which do not fit in with where I want to be in the future.

Most of us have been taught to create SMART goals, but I prefer to use another framework called PACT goals.

PACT stands for Purposeful, Actionable, Continuous and Trackable. This method focusses on output over outcome. By focusing on output, it is easier to track progress towards achieving a goal and creating new habits. This method works especially well for long term, ambitious goals because they are focussed on continuous growth.

For each ‘Life Quadrant’ I have between 1 to 3 PACT goals I am tracking for each year (any more than that becomes unmanageable for me).

I filter everything through the lens of my future vision & I (try) to take small actions everyday towards it. If something feels off track, I check in and ask myself “does it align with the future me? Would my future self be happy with this decision?”

If it is a ‘no’, then it is out.

My question to my fellow WICT Network Europe member is, what vision do you have for your life over the next 5 to 10 years?

By Julie Fedele

VP Emerging Business Activation at Liberty Global

The WICT Network Europe

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