Building a Personal 10-Year Plan

10 year goals: fitness-reality

10 Year Goals: Master Your Craft

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.


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..

Building a Personal 10-Year Plan

Young or old, stable or in transition, starting a new business, or trying to find an exit strategy for a mature business, building a 10-year plan can give you a significant edge in living a happier and more fulfilling life. More specifically, for a business owner it could be the difference between making a profit and harnessing their passion, or losing years of their life with success continually elusive. The primary objective being to ‘take control’ of your future and not to simply be reactive and simply taking what ‘life throws at you’.

If you don’t have a written, passionate vision of your future 10 years from now, what are you even doing and why?! Have you really thought thru your activities right now and what the long-term ramifications will be?

Writing down a Plan can be a ‘game changer’ in your personal growth and happiness. If you feel uncertain about what you want out of life, or unhappy about what you seem to be consistently receiving from this crazy world…make a plan to change it!! What will it hurt? What do you have to lose? This could make the difference you have been looking for to get you motivated and focused.

The first critical step in my opinion, is to start writing down an ‘ideal scene’ of what I want my personal future to look like 10 years from now. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling…just write! Let it flow. It’s not going to get published in a journal or the newspaper. It’s personal and let it be an emotional experience if needs be. It’s ok!

I also don’t want you to simply focus on finances or your occupation, but perhaps on relationships, physical health, education and spiritual growth. Picture yourself in the mountains, on a beach, or in a place you’re passionate about. Envision what you’ve accomplished over the past 10 years. Who or what type of person are you with, what is in your bank account, what education have finished, what type of business or job do you have? Take the time to meditate, pray and be honest with yourself on what you truly want this future to look like.

Remember, you can always change and modify your plan. It’s yours. But, write-it down on paper and give it the care and attention it deserves. This is your future! It’s not something to dictate to Siri and bury in “Notes” on your phone, or in a Journal catching dust on the shelf. You need to be carrying this around with you everywhere you go. Primarily, I want this to accompany your annual Strategic Plan for your education, business, health and personal life.

Finally, be realistic. It’s ok to push yourself with a dream you think you can reach with some effort, but don’t set yourself up for failure. Maybe stating you want to be the President of the United States or a VP of a fortune 500 Company 10 years from now might be a little much…but who am I to say what you can and can’t do! Maybe something like that is clearly within your reach, but just don’t overdo it…you know what I mean.

The goal is to reach your Ideal Scene in 10 Years, so it actually becomes quite easy to work backwards and determine the practical steps you need to take in order to get there. Some people want to set straight out goals, but I think it’s easier to work with the end in mind and stepping-stones I need to reach in order to make my dream a reality.

Practically, this means creating 5, 3, and 1-year objective that will ultimately get you to your 10-year Ideal Scene. For example, if you see yourself with 10 rental properties in ten years, then maybe it would be smart to shoot for 5 rentals in five years, 3 in three years, and 1 this year! Getting our head around buying one rental property this year is much easier than a race to get 10 rentals as fast as possible.

Moreover, when we know we have 10 years to get to our Scene, we aren’t as rushed or stressed if we were realistic in where we want and could be in the future. This type of mind set also gives us breathing room to make mistakes and adjust our plans along the way.

This is also state where your Plan starts to take shape. Break down the plan into categories and years, maybe even into a grid (see below). But remember, the categories are yours to establish. It’s your plan!

Of course, the table above is a little small for any serious and detailed plan, but it’s the concept I’m trying to convey. I would suggest considering a table that consumes an entire page in landscape format, or…again, it’s ok. It’s YOUR plan! There’s no wrong or right way to do it. It’s just important you do it.

Step 3: Share it! Ok…yes, this is the scary part. I did say your plan wouldn’t be published, but you DO have to share it with someone. In fact, I would suggest 3-5 people. The number one reason why: It becomes alive and you’re now accountable to someone.