This post will cover the details of how to create both long and short term goals so that you can live the life you dream of, but don’t know how to achieve. With 10-Year Goals, you can envision the life you want, break those goals down into short term goals that will work towards your long term success.
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Contents and Quick Links
Why you need long term goals
About a year ago I made an important realization. Life was pretty good. Comfortable and routine.
So naturally, I had to ask myself, What is wrong with this picture?
The key word here was routine. I was going about my days on autopilot. But I realized, I didn’t really have a plan. The days were good, life was good, and so I kept repeating my same habits day in and day out. But I didn’t have any real direction. I wasn’t sure where I was going other than maintaining my status quo. And this left me feeling really unsettled.
Where did I want to be in 10 years? Was my daily routine going to get me there? I’m happy now, but what are the long term consequences of my day-to-day life moving forward without any changes?
Do you ask yourself this sometimes? Because if you are complacent and simply running through the daily motions of life, you should be afraid. Be very afraid! Regardless of how comfortable life in this moment feels.
If you don’t know where your life is directed, your daily routine might not be getting you anywhere. Even worse, your daily habits could be sinking you and your family into a financial hole. At this point, you really have no idea what your future holds.
But what if you take a moment to think about what you want your life to look like in the future. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Dream big and really think about what you want your life to be like in the future. Should you be retired in 10 years? Do you see yourself still working but on the path to retire by a specific age and traveling during your vacation days in the meantime? Now ask yourself, are you on the right path to make this happen?
Do you have goals or are they just dreams?
If you don’t have goals in place today, outlining a clear path to your future, your goals are just dreams. Dreams that may very well not come true because you were unprepared.
If you don’t have an outline of what your life should be in 10 years and you are not following any path to get yourself there, you should be feeling as unsettled as I was. Life may be comfortable now, but if you aren’t on the right path, your future may not be as comfortable as you think it will be.
What is the solution? How do you know if you are on the right path? You need to know what your goals are in 10 years and then the rest of your goals in the meantime will be focused on getting you where you need to be. By looking ahead to the life you want, you can ensure that your day to day life is directed along the right path to get you there.
By looking ahead to the life you want, you can ensure that your day-to-day life follows the path that will get you there.
Three Steps to Plan Your 10-Year Goals
Planning out all your goals for the next 10 years is not as hard as you may think. There are 3 main steps:
Step 1: What you want to have accomplished 10 years from now
Step 2: What you need to have accomplished 5 years from now
Step 3: What you need to have accomplished 1 year from now
Step 1: 10-Year Goals
Take some time to visualize the life you want to be living 10 years from now.
- What will your finances look like?
- How much money will you have saved and how will your money be invested?
- How close will you be to retirement? (Here’s where it’s important to know how much you need to retire!) How to Calculate Your Savings Rate – And Why You Need To
- What will your work life look like?
- Will you be with the same company in the same role you have now?
- Do you dream of a big promotion?
- Do you dream of changing your career entirely and will that require new skills?
- What will your family life be like?
- Do you plan to have kids?
- If you have kids, will they be in college?
- Do you plan to pay for their college?
- What will your personal relationships look like?
- Are you single now but dream of being happily married in 10 years?
- How do you envision your current marriage?
- Do you want to provide more for your spouse so that they can pursue their dreams, either staying home or pursuing a business?
- What will your spiritual life look like?
- Do you see yourself being more involved with your church or charities?
- Do you see yourself having the time for volunteer work?
- What does your physical fitness level look like?
- Do you want to have lost weight?
- Do you want to reach any particular fitness goals?
There could be many categories that you will use for your 10-year goals. I suggest you pick no more than four to focus on. These are the components of your life that are most important to you. They are the key areas that you will focus on in order to make your life the life you want to be living.
When I think ahead 10 years, these are the key things I want to have accomplished:
- I will own multiple rental houses
- I will have started a business
- I will have contributed to my field, both on the national and local levels
- I will have more than replaced my full-time income with passive and business income
- I will be happily married
- I will have both maintained my current fitness level and I will have completed a triathlon
When I write and then read through these goals, I feel so satisfied and excited to get there. Life is in the journey; I may not reach all of these goals, but I am really excited to try my best to get there. When you dream big and put your dreams down into achievable goals, you will feel pretty excited to get there as well.
Based on what I have for my own 10 Year Goals, I have the following categories:
- Real Estate Investing (REI)
The next step is to take these goals and break them down into the appropriate categories.
Here’s what mine would look like within the categories:
10 – Year Goals:
Real Estate Investing:
- Own 25 units cash flowing $200/unit
- Fully retire from my W2 job
- Volunteer at the national and local levels and start giving back
- Continue learning about investing and retire from any work I don’t love
- Buy a family vacation home
- Own a horse again
- Continue to raise my son to be an amazing human being, capable of achieving his goals in life
- Be a strong and supportive partner
- Teach others how to achieve their goals and become a mentor
- Retire young and enjoy life
- Stay physically fit
Step 2: 5-Year Goals
The next step is to look at each of these goals and determine where you need to be in 5 years to be on track for reaching your 10-year goals. If you see yourself being retired and traveling the world, how much money do you need saved and invested by then? Are you on track to reach those numbers? If not, what do you need to do in the next 10 years to make that happen?
In my example, if in 10 years from now I want to own 25 rental units that cash flow every month, then in 5 years I need to own roughly half that. The learning curve for REI is pretty steep, so realistically it will probably take me a very long time to learn how to buy my first unit, then a little less to buy my second unit, but from there I will have more experience and it won’t take as long. Therefore, in 5 years, I should own around 10 units. In business, I want to fully retire from my 9-5 W2 job. This means that in 5 years I will need to have already started a side business and be focused on building and growing this business such that it is on path to replace my W2 income. Going down the list of 10-year goals, here is what my 5-year goals should look like:
5 – Year Goals
- Own 10 units cash flowing $200/unit
- Decrease my hours and work part time in order to maintain W2 income
- Work closer to home, commute must be within easy bike ride
- License or manufacture and launch a new product
- Continue to grow blog
- Blog will replace full time income at >$100k/year
- Develop and launch another product
- Continue to nurture and build an amazing relationship
- Help my son learn investing and buy his first property or start a business
- Complete an Olympic distance triathlon
- Maintain 25% bf
- Take riding lessons
Step 3: 1-Year Goals:
The last step is to consider what you need to accomplish in the next year to set yourself on your 5-year goal pathway. Continuing to use my personal example, here is what my 1-year goals look like, taking into consideration that I need to be making progress to hit my 5-year goals:
1 – Year Goals
- Buy 2 units, $200/unit cash flow
- Launch blog with initial 20 posts
- Maintain one blog post per week
- Set up for income earning – affiliate marketing, social media, email list, product launches
- Generate $1k/month income
- Complete final prototype of my invention and file patent
- Organize my local society chapter and begin planning for hosting a new conference
- On the national level, continue to chair and co-chair my current committees and generate high-quality educational content
- Get down to 25% bf
- Weight routine 2-3 days per week
- Maintain 50-75 miles biking per week
- Fit in some cross-training (running, HIIT, swimming)
Yes, this is a lot to accomplish in the next year! However, I have some big milestones to reach over the next 10-years and by running through the process of writing my 10-year goals, I learned that these are the steps I need to focus on over the next year such that I reach those big dreams.
Remember, it’s okay to dream big! If you don’t reach your goals, at least you made positive progress.
To quote Pitbull:
Reach for the stars, and if you don’t grab them at least you’ll land on top of the world.
Lastly, when I write these out, I have them in reverse so that they are in chronological order. But for creating your goals, it’s easiest to look ahead and then work your way back. This allows you to map out what goals you need to have in place now, in order to make the necessary progress for the future.
I like to write my goals out in concise bullet points that take up a single page. Then I print multiple copies and post them around my house so that I am always reminded of my WHY. I’m reminded of what I need to be focusing on every day and I’m reminded exactly WHY I am focusing on these goals.
My 10-year goals are so important to me that they have their own tab on this blog, 10-Year Goals: 2018 . They are published there for everyone to see. You can use them as a blueprint for writing out your own dreams for your future and you can follow me as I make progress and start crossing off my goals one by one. Years go by fast.
If you don’t know where you are going and you have no clear path to follow, who knows what your future will look like? Probably not any different than your present. Does that scare you?
Take some time to dream up what your ideal future looks like 10-years from now.
- Brainstorm some key accomplishments you’d like to achieve
- Write them all out as goals to achieve 10 years from now
- What categories do these goals fall into? Place each goal into a main category. At the very least, these will include the categories of work and personal.
- Using the same categories, break down each goal into timeline steps. What needs to happen 5 years from now to be on track for 10 years from now? This is your 5-year goal.
- Using the same process, break down these 5-year goals into the steps you need to take THIS year to set yourself up for success.
- Print out your goals and keep them with you. This is your roadmap to achieving your dream life down the road.
- Revisit and revise every year
Have fun with this and dream big! Let me know how it goes! Did you experience any struggles during this process? Did you learn anything new about yourself and your dreams?
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