How am I supposed to know what I want my life to look like 20 years from now?
Great question. Here's an answer you're probably not expecting:
You don't have to and you can't know with any real certainty.
Even if you think you know, you'll probably end up being wrong or changing your mind at some point.
The first step in breaking down our question is to redefine how we think about setting goals.
GOALS ARE NOTHING MORE THAN EDUCATED GUESSES.
Start by getting comfortable with making an educated guess. Give yourself permission to dream, aspire and change your mind when your situation changes.
Now that you are free from unchangeable goals, the important work can begin.
Accomplishing any goal is merely the by-product of the actions you take.
It's easy to become overwhelmed by your goals and you won't achieve anything if you never get started. Instead, focus your energy on taking the first step.
Your goal: Retire as soon as possible to spend more time with your family and friends.
What action you can take right now that will move you closer to your goal?
Your first action: Evaluate what sucks up all of your time on a daily basis.
Create a list of all your current commitments. What commitments on your list can and should be eliminated? How much time would that free up to spend with your family & friends?
When you have a systematic way of asking “what's next?” and holding yourself accountable to taking that next step, you might not need to wait until retirement to make your goal a reality.
The key: Don't allow the long-term nature of your goals to stop you before you start.
Accept your goals for what they are – educated guesses in light of an unknowable future.
Focus your attention on taking the next step that moves you closer towards your best guess. Update your guesses as necessary when your life changes. And have a system in place that holds you accountable to make sure you're always moving forward.
It's hard work for sure, but slowly & surely, you'll change your life for the better.