Ten year goals – a decade – is a long time. In our fast paced, modern world, things may be almost unrecognizable ten years out. Technology, politics and world events are sure to change the landscape. Yet, if we are going to have a say in our lives, we need to plan for this uncertain future. One thing about a ten year time frame is the ability to master an area of our lives. If we play the guitar, for instance, we can become really good over a decade. We can master the craft. The same goes for our careers, our family life, and building a business.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, delivers the researched conclusion that mastering talent in our lives takes on average, 10,000 hours. Given a forty hour work week, this works out to 4.8 years of dedicated practice, working full time. Ten years then, it would seem, would give us plenty of time to become proficient at our desired occupations and worthwhile ventures.
In our overall goal setting model, it makes sense to look at the big picture and see what areas we want to dedicate our hours of hard work and learning to as the years roll by. To give us a playing field, I’ve taken four areas of life and enclosed them in a worksheet.
Let’s take a look at the sheet and how we can use it as a guide.
As you can see we have divided up the sheeting into four broad categories across the top, with three horizontal steps that include our goal, our dedicated area of practice or learning, and the resulting modified plan. They are..
- Personal and Family Goals
- Professional and Business Goals
- Fitness and Health Goals
- Financial and Investment Goals
Let’s take a look at each one and I’ll include some examples from my own career.
Personal and Family Goals
Back in my early twenties this would have been how my personal goals looked.
By taking each of the primary goals and looking at areas of learning and practice, it’s easy to figure out some mastery areas. Looking back at my life, I wish I would have taken the time and spent to the money to do more of these the first time around.
In my early twenties, this was my job based reality and how I saw my career progressing…
Back in the day, auto repair was a great business. In my college program I learned how cars worked and how to repair them. I also took classes on sales and management. Thankfully, I talked with a business coach and decided against opening my own shop. But I did get certifications from an industry professional group, which led to higher pay and a management position.
As a trade, working on high end European cars paid well, and allowed my to buy a house after a few years on the job. Unfortunately, auto repair itself took its toll on my body after a while. Thankfully, I was able to eventually move into sales and management which saved my back.
Health and Fitness Goals
Health and fitness goals are important to consider, depending on your age and occupation. In my case, working in auto repair in my twenties, I had the following goals…
I knew that I needed more arm strength for lifting heavy items like transmissions and other large metal parts. Since I was planning on marriage, I had heard that you gain at least 10 to 15 pounds once you tie the knot. Given the solvents used in cleaning parts, I knew I wanted to stay away from too much contact. Here is how my health list would have looked after a few years on the job.
After messing up my lower and upper back a few times, I decided that I would pursue a management track, which would take me out of the repair stall and into the front office. Once I got married, the 10+ pounds magically appeared and a change in eating habits was necessary. I invested in a pair of chemical resistant gloves which helped save my hands.
Financial goals are very important to consider, both on the saving and spending sides. Here are some of my financial goals when I was twenty.
To master my financial situation I found that going back to school and getting industry certifications was a big help. Repair shops and dealerships were looking for people who had the latest certs so they would be qualified to do more technical work. Within a year, I was making good money on my first job. Once I started getting a paycheck, I started saving money for a house and getting married. Since I still lived at home with my parents, this was easier than if I had gone out on my own. I started having regular amounts taken from each paycheck, which made the process much easier.
Once I had saved for a couple of years, my girlfriend and I started looking in the local housing market. We found that we would need to move to the suburbs and combine both of our incomes to qualify. We found a house, decided to get married, and used our savings to get started.
By investing in something we could afford and setting up an automatic savings program really helped. We soon had a rainy day fund setup.
10 Year Goals: Creating a Plan
By using the worksheet above it’s easy to see your goals, add in the areas to need to master, and then write out a plan to achieve them. Here is how the last row might have looked in my twenties.
Looking out ten years can be a little daunting at first, but talking with others, getting counseling, and working with a mentor can really help. I really wish I would have had this worksheet and a little foresight when I was in my twenties. It would have saved me a lot of mistakes and helped me be more diligent about what was really important.
Download the worksheet below and take some time filling out the goal section at the top. Then fill in the middle section with areas that you’ll need to master and milestones you’ll need to reach to make your 10 year dreams a reality. Once you are done, create a simple written plan to achieve them. Use our examples above as a guide.
10 Year Goals: Download The Worksheet
In our next step, we’ll take a look at five year goals and see how we can have foresight into the future, and set important milestones that won’t disappoint.