There was a long time where I really loved the idea “live today like there is no tomorrow.” I wasn’t a planner and I wanted to be more “fun.” But, the truth is I never did anything that daring or even extremely fun.
In my 20s and early 30s, I ate bad food and racked up some debt. I never paced myself. It was my last day, so why not?
When I turned 40, I started to consider this idea in more depth. I had changed my food in my 30s, and I wanted to see how I could apply that mindset to my work and money in my 40s.
I have the privilege of having a grandmother who is 101, and who I can still chat on the phone with and have great talks with. As she was approaching 100, I wondered, “How would I live differently if I knew I had that much time? What would I do differently today if I knew I wasn’t even halfway through my life? Why would I live today like my last day, if I could live today in a way that got me to 100?!”
Trying to imagine what your life will be like at 100, may not be useful (or easy to imagine), but looking ahead 10 years is doable and important. It sets you up to plan your todays in ways that make sense now and move you toward the life you want.
This is what I had done when I changed my food… just not on purpose.
This is why I always do an exercise with clients where we paint the picture of what life looks like in 10 years – before planning for meals this week, creating a 21-day checklist, or utilizing any of our many tools.
It is this specific practice that helped me lose 85 pounds 9 years ago, gave me the courage to write my book and go on the road for a year with 3 kids, and has me hydrating as I write this post.
Let’s paint a picture of your life in 10 years.
I want you to dream big because dreams make plans different than your average to-do list (and you are not average!)
At the end of this exercise, you’ll have a vision of the life you want, the one that sets you up to plan todays that you love. When you plan days with this exercise as your foundation, you get more done, spend more quality time with those you love, eat well (and healthy), and just take better care of yourself.
You can do this … even if you have a busy weekend planned, even if your kids are on break next week. This is all about big dreams and doable chunks.
Step 1: Mark your Calendar
We crave space to think and dream and then we wonder why we cannot find it.
Block off 15 minutes on your calendar with “space” or “dream” for the next 5 days, or you can block off an afternoon to do this all at once.
This will be your time to answer the 10-year vision questions.
Literally block off the time on your calendar, because it’s so easy to think you’ll find 15 minutes when the day comes … end then you’re rolling into bed, exhausted, without having done it. Make space for what matters (here, time to dream) and hold that time for yourself.
Experiment with what feels great. You could:
- wake up 15 minutes earlier
- set a time for 15 minutes before you start your work day
- sit for 15 extra minutes at lunch
- write while your kids draw
- spend the afternoon at your favorite coffee shop
Feeling at all guilty about taking some time for yourself? I did and then I realized the importance, not only for me, but for my kids. Free time, thinking time is the biggest thing missing from all our calendars. Making space for thinking and dreaming is a great thing to model for your kids, so don’t stress if they need to be around. It is a good practice in boundaries. “Mama is sitting for 15 minutes to do my thing…” When they see you being creative and dreamy and not sucked into a phone, you have modeled something fabulous!
Prompt #1: How will you feel in 10 years?
List 5–10 adjectives that really explain it. Strong, abundant, energetic, loving … what words will fit you? Phrases are OK too — like role model for women, at peace in my body, in service to others.
Don’t skip this prompt because of its simplicity.
A 10 minute walk or meditation can be a great way to kick off this prompt.
Prompt #2: Your dream home
Think about where you will be living in 10 years. Where do you want to be? Use this prompt to get at the details:
- Describe where you live in detail. It may be the same house, or may not be.
- What color are the walls?
- What rooms do you have?
- Is it modern or classic?
- What is the view?
- What does it smell like?
- Describe how you use your home.
If you are hoping to move in the next 10 years, now is the time to picture where you will be. If you love your home, but dream of changes, let that come to the surface. If you think not much will change in your home in 10 years, describe what you have and how you use it.
Prompt #3: Your ideal day in 10 years
Picture your average or typical day in your life 10 years from now.
- How you move through an average day from getting up to going to bed
- What you do
- Who you see
- Whether you are working … where? For how long?
- What you are eating
- The kinds of choices you are making
- Who is supporting you and how
Take a minute to picture your day and see how you feel. Then pick up your pen and start writing about it.
Prompt #4: Put it into action
Today, look back over what you wrote during prompts 1-3.
What one word or part really resonates with you from each one? Maybe from prompt 1’s adjectives it is energy. Maybe from your image of your home, it is how it smells. Maybe in the ordinary day, it is the fact that someone else is doing your wash.
Think about how you could bring that into your next 90 days. Do a quick brainstorm. Write down all your ideas without judging them. Many times there are steps or actions that we can right now that will move us toward where we want to — or even get us there.
Maybe you need to get more sleep or change how you eat to get more energy. One step you could do this week is to start your day with a green smoothie. Maybe you imagined someone else doing your laundry … and you can delegate now or teach your kids to do laundry.
Here are two examples from my own life.
When I did this, one of my words was energy and when I described my home and ideal day, there were crisp white sheets involved. That day, in real life, I had been putting off changing sheets and we were not on the white rotation. So I simply went upstairs and put the white sheets on my bed. It took 10 minutes.
Here is the lesson for me. My bed does not yet have the view of water I described in my 10 year vision, but I can do my current version of those white crispy sheets pretty easily. And here is the real impact. Before I changed the sheet, I had this looming thought of, when am I going to change my sheets. The thoughts took longer than the task. And after doing it, and really letting the feeling of those sheets give me a glimpse of my future self, I felt like everything is possible.
When I first did this exercise, I wrote about my future kitchen in great detail. The counters were clean and clear, and my eyes always landed on a beautiful bowl of fruit. For years now, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I clear the counters of stuff, wash them well, and create a bouquet of fruit. My kids even know how much I love the clean counter part and often pitch in…
I love knowing how our work together turns into action! Come share your aha’s over on Instagram.