Vision Setting: How To Create Your 10 Year Plan
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It is very humble and normal to reflect on our lives during key moments throughout the year – from birthdays, beginnings of a new season, to the closing of the year in December and more. During COVID-19, many of us have had time for solitude, reflection and a rethink about our lives and life itself. It was a perfect year to think of our future.
Now, you may have noticed that planning is an essential part of our society. We often hear corporate speak on a 5 year plan, and friends talk about their January health kicks for the year ahead.
A 10 year plan, however, can open up the door to an ideal future, depth of happiness and a much more compassionate life.
Vision Setting: How To Create Your 10 Year Plan
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Why is a 10 year plan a key to success?
We are learning from studies across cultural dynamics that much of our happiness comes down to our relationships. Our happiness is defined by the quality of those relationships, having more meaningful moments in our lives, compassion for others and community engagement.
If we create a plan that incorporates the well-being and growth of others, we find meaning and purpose in such a plan (beyond money or bespoke self-interest). Not only do we have a greater chance of achieving our goals, but we also plausibly live longer, stay happier and help others to reap the same benefits.
P.S. Blue Zones Studies are a great starting place to find out more about meaning, community engagement and lifelong health and happiness.
A 10 year plan can be seen as a metaphor for creating a life for yourself and others that reaches far beyond short-term goal setting. It is this vision and humility (followed by continual growth and energy from community engagement) that will give you the sustainable energy and resources to carry on long term.
Vision setting – creating your own 10 year plan
How do we create such a vision?
Creating your personal 10 year plan involves a few meaningful steps:
- Take time to assess your values and align each day with these values. Write down a list on a piece of paper or your journal.
- Find your Ikigai – What do you love? What does the world need? What can you be paid for? What are you good at? If you start to live your life more in alignment with your values and practice working with your Ikigai, then you will create more positive emotions in your life than you would by pursuing the dream from a magazine (or things you have been told will make you happy).
- Acknowledge that the pursuit of happiness can create inner turmoil. We often chase happiness when instead we should create an inner environment for positive emotions to flourish. Build your world and create the inner and outer environment that stimulates the best chances of positive emotions for you. Have a morning routine, surround yourself with friends and family, have a 30 minute ‘you time’ per day to do something you enjoy.
- Volunteer your time and skillsets for the service of others and community. You could volunteer at a school fare, help your local homeless shelter, or even use your skills to help communities in other countries. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you may volunteer your work to help a social enterprise in Uganda creating economic empowerment!
Actioning your steps
How do we action our steps for the best chance of success?
1. It is very important that we enjoy week one of our new task(s).
For example, if we wanted to train for a half marathon and we did not enjoy the first week of our regime, then there is a greatly increased chance that we will stop and not continue.
Write down on paper and create a “week one plan” full of positive emotions and growth. Here’s an example:
- You could go for a beautiful country walk with a friend the weekend before you begin jogging (to build up a baseline of fitness).
- You could go to a Pilates class with friends during the first week of training.
- Then, go for your first jog with a friend.
- Reward yourself after with a healthy and tasty meal (again, with your friend).
- This week is now full of time with friends, more enjoyment within the exercise and variety. This is much better than running in the rain alone!
2. Celebrate the small wins.
Have the big vision but allow the small tangible steps and the energy of others (supportive friends, family) to create sustainability. Every extra mile you run, every extra $1 you make or save, every time you make someone smile, every time you make modest progress, prepare a special ‘you time’ to pat yourself on the back.
3. Practice gratitude in a journal.
We often focus on the negative and can have a tendency towards this through a concept called negativity bias. It’s an unhelpful part of human psyche that makes us focus on bad things in particular.
You can counter this. Each day, write down three things you are grateful for. This could be someone making you a cup of tea, a nice text message, or even a beautiful view on a walk. We can train our minds to create new pathways with a concept called neuroplasticity. We all have two lenses; a negative and a positive one. They are always there and it is up to us which lens we choose to look through.
4. Practice mindful thinking.
Having a goal and vision is wonderful for our health. However, when we are with our loved ones and friends, it is important that we put our phone away for one hour, focus intentionally on the conversation, the tone, the words, and be mindfully aware of our connections with others.
The quality of our social connections is arguably the most important facet of our health and happiness. If you’re a parent who returns home from work and their child hugs them, embrace that hug, and for those 5 seconds nothing else in the world matters. The dinner, your work, your problems, none of those things matter when you embrace that hug. Focus intently and mindfully on each connection. Enjoy the journey towards your goals.
Having a 10 year plan or a vision that is right for you, and helps others, can create a much happier and peaceful way of life. By aligning with your values and your Ikigai, you can find far more happiness in goal achievement than chasing money or pursuing postcard dreams. Create a fun action plan with friends and loved ones and reward yourself for the small wins. Practice mindful thinking and empathy along the way. Enjoy the journey towards your vision and create an environment purpose-built for positive emotions. It is the mindful journey through the mountain that will bring you the most joy and you can be proud when you reach the top.
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