Why You Should Start Setting 10-Year Big Vision Goals

The new year is upon us and we know that it can be discouraging to reflect on all the dashed dreams from 2020. You may be looking to 2021 with cautious optimism as good news about the coronavirus vaccine continues to dominate the news headlines.

If you’re able to harness even a small sense of optimism right now, that’s worth celebrating! Perhaps, just maybe, you feel hopeful enough to set some goals for 2021. If you feel that there’s hope on the horizon, it can serve as a powerful source of inspiration and motivation.

While we love seeing ambitious big vision goals be established for the new year, we wanted to actually encourage an alternate type of intentional goal-setting; set your ambitions for the next ten years!

Bill Gates is famously quoted for saying:

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.

Let’s dive in deeper to explore the wisdom of this quote.

The proof is in your own life

While Gates’ quote may sound like sage advice, it’s worth taking a moment to see if it actually resonates as true for you. When you consider how much you’ve been able to accomplish in one year’s time does it underwhelm you?

Alternatively, if you look back on the past ten years of your life does it become apparent how much has transpired? Walk even further down memory lane to twenty years ago. Consider your life’s differences between 2001 versus 2011.

If you need more evidence of the power of a ten-year window, look at society as a whole. Reflect on the ways technology advances every ten years.

Consider how gradual fashion changes every year result in a completely different fashion signature on society every decade.

Think about the measurable changes in music, politics, film and communication over a ten-year span.

Once you realize how dramatically anything can change in ten years, a world of possibilities opens up for what change may be possible in your own life over the next decade.

Give your one-year goals some grace

The paradox of personal growth is that you may not feel like much changes at all while you’re growing. In one year’s time, you may perceive no forward advancement in your career, in your relationships, in your health, in your finances or anywhere else. Frustratingly, you may feel like the exact same person you were just 365 days ago.

Gates’ quote helps normalize these all-too-common feelings of impatience and frustration. Maybe one year just isn’t long enough to recognize the personal growth that’s underway.

Set your “North Star” for your next decade

First, map out the past ten years of your life, giving extra care to notice the biggest shifts. Perhaps you see very tangible professional growth from this past decade. Note the more subtle changes that built upon themselves to result in a major professional growth shift.

Think about how to continue adding these subtle advancements into your life. They will build upon themselves like compounding interest.

Next, let’s look forward.

As you see how the mundane moments can add up to eventually lead you into a dramatically different situation, be proactive to consider where you hope to end up in ten years from now.

It’s okay to avoid being overly specific; there’s no way that you’ll exactly foresee your lifestyle in 2031 today. However, what are the major touchstones or elements of what you aim to cultivate in ten year’s time?

Write in a journal and/or craft a vision board to document these desires.

Now, with this ten-year “North Star” in mind, consider what you’d hope to manifest in the next seven years? Narrow it down to the next five years? What about the next three years? As you break up your major goals into smaller segments, this can help you be more pragmatic about what would be the ideal benchmarks to set for the next 365 days.

It’s okay to give yourself grace when you set your pace. You don’t have to magically make everything in your life pull together in the next twelve months; this is an arbitrary deadline that’s often not realistic.

Schedule a calendar invite right now to revisit your ten-year “North Star” in one year’s time to see if you’re still on the path you desire to be on. Simply keep moving forward with intentionality; sometimes it’s best to play the long-game when it comes to pursuing your dreams.

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