At the end of 2019, my wife Lauren and I sat down to discuss our New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead. While I had grand plans for all I could accomplish in 2020, my wife stopped me in my tracks by asking a simple question:
“Where do we want to be in 10 years?”
While my 2020 New Year’s resolutions list was full of the usual self-improvement (e.g. lose weight, get more sleep, etc.), it had never occurred to me to step back and challenge myself to imagine what my life could be like at the end of the next decade.
As soon as I did, a picture I had never seen before quickly came into focus…
“I want to own my own agency and run my own shop. I want to drive an old truck, wear t-shirts every day, and bring my dog to work. I want to go to work in a converted warehouse space in some tucked away corner of San Diego. I want to share that space with you, with a hot pink door connecting your space to mine. I want two happy, healthy kids. A second house in Palm Springs. I want to travel, I want to write, I want to make music again. I want to live below our means, invest in the future, and never lose the spark between us. I want you to have it all; your business, your platform, the little extra things that make your smile. I want us to be happy, healthy, and grateful. I want to grow old and not be afraid of it because we know we lived this life without regrets, went all in, and gave it our best shot.”
And as I poured out this picture, describing it in near real-time as it came into view, my wife stopped me again and asked…
So what are we going to do THIS year to help ensure that’s where we are at the end of 10 years?
As I looked at my list again, I realized it was in desperate need of a rewrite. My list was full of short-term fixes and modest self-improvements. There was nothing necessarily wrong with the items on the list, but it was clear if we were going to conquer this 10-year mountain, then something had to change.
So we got to work.
We started having Future Planning Discussions as a couple, where we outlined and detailed our dreams and aspirations. We completed vision boards to both spark some inspiration and give ourselves a North Star to work towards. And we identified the short-term next steps that had to make this year to make our decade-long dreams a reality.
And that’s when everything changed.
As soon as we started working towards our 10-year goals, it felt like the universe was working towards them with us. My wife became pregnant, our financial situation improved, I was approached with an opportunity that led to me starting my own agency, and I even began to write again.
As 2020 comes to a close, I can’t say I accomplished a lot of things off that initial New Year’s Resolution list, but I am blown away by just how much progress we made towards that 10 year goal.
And I think that is where the lesson is…
When was the last time you gave yourself permission to reimagine where you might be 10 years from today?
For myself, I can safely say that until my wife asked me that question - Where do you want to be in 10 years? - I’m not sure I ever fully considered. Now that I have, I think about it every day.
In the end, I’m not sure it actually really matters if we reach those 10 year goals or not. What matters is we try.
I’m learning that life is not as much about progress as it is about the pursuit of it; about giving ourselves permission to daydream a little bit. That maybe - just maybe - we can set something beautiful in motion, if we step back, think big, and believe.
So as we approach a new year, and prepare to leave the mess that was 2020 behind, I have to echo the wisdom of my wife and ask:
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
I almost didn’t send this week’s newsletter out. Something about it felt a little too “motivational.” But the reality is, this simple, straightforward exercise really did make such a meaningful impact on my life.
So as we approach another year, if you are considering New Year’s resolutions, I really would encourage you to step back and give yourself permission to imagine something more.
Here’s to hoping the next decade brings you everything you dream of.