As I am sure most of you know by now, all season long on the podcast we’re talking about the concept “New Year, True You”, which to me means really working towards becoming that best version of yourself…
Which sounds great, right?! But what happens if you don’t know what that looks like?
It’s a question I have heard so many of you ask even before this season of Productivity Paradox began. And while we’re talking a little bit about this topic on Episode 107 this week, I wanted to take some time today to focus on how you might go about mapping out what your future self (and your life!) might look like so that you can get a better handle of the direction you might need to take to get you there.
Let’s get started!
Admittedly, this first step is often the most challenging because it requires you to really sit down and to focus in on who you want to be in the future.
What do you want your life to look like 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years from now? What do you imagine your priorities might look like, or how might they shift from what you have on your plate right now? What will things be like if you keep doing things the same way as you are today? Are there things that you need to change?
These are just a handful of questions that I want you to seriously consider when you’re starting in on your timeline and diving into the person that you want to become.
A rule of thumb to keep in mind here is that, while it’s perfectly okay to use your imagination and to get a little bit creative with defining your future self… it’s also important that you be realistic!
I encourage you to be wishful as you’re imagining your future self (because that can be so powerful and a great source of motivation!) but I also want to make sure that you’re keeping one foot on the ground… Things will go much smoother this way!
For this next step… I want you to think of it as starting at the end of a treasure map where the treasure is, and then locating your pushing off point and mapping out an action to get you from the here and now to the reward, to that treasure you want.
Once you have your pushing off point in mind (Point A), it’s important to consider the path that will take you from Point A to Point B.
What are the obstacles blocking your path (if any), and what choices might you need to make in order to make the navigation of that path a possibility for you?
Having an idea as to the direction you need to take in mind will ultimately help you create an action plan for yourself to ensure that your journey from A to B is possible.
Now, I want you to remember this idea as you’re creating your timeline… Your values are what essentially guide you in the right direction, and your goals are the things that you want to achieve.
As you’re visualizing what your timeline might look like, keep your values and your goals in mind at all times! Doing so will help you determine your best course of action overall and will prevent you from straying too far off course.
A great thing to do here? Write your values and your top 5 goals down on a piece of paper, in a journal, or in your planner where you can refer back to them whenever you sit down to work on your future-self timeline…
Doing so will help make sure that your timeline stays realistic and as true to the ‘you’ that you want to be as much as possible!
Visualization can be a powerful practice but guess what… Visualization doesn’t always happen solely inside of your mind!
When it comes to defining your future self and to creating a timeline for yourself to follow as best you can… having a physical, handwritten, hand-drawn, or even computer-generated printout of what your timeline looks like can be a huge help.
If you have ever participated in the Vision Board Challenge that I host in our supportive online community each year, then you already have an idea of how great this practice can be!
So, after you’ve worked out the nuts and bolts of your future self and what your timeline might look like, I seriously encourage you to make a physical representation of that timeline—just like you did for your values and goals from Step 3.
Hang a copy of your timeline up in your office, your command center at home, or keep it inside of your planner in a spot that you frequent…
You might be surprised by how much motivation, focus, and energy you’re able to gain once you’ve completed this step and by how quickly you’re able to snap into action to see that your timeline becomes your reality!
I say this a lot, but it’s a point that I always feel lies at the heart of so much of what we do in life.
Life is seldom (okay, never!) perfect… and it’s important that we prepare ourselves for any little setbacks, obstacles, or other surprises (big or small, good or bad) as much as possible. Because let’s face it, things happen!
As much as we try to plan for the future—whether we’re talking about the future in terms of a single day, week, month, year, and so on—there is never any absolute guarantee that those plans are going to fall into place as perfectly as we hope they will.
Remember, even the best laid plans hit a snag here and there… and that’s totally normal! The key is to remain flexible.
Maybe you have a general idea in mind about who you want to be or what you want your life to look like in the future… but who’s to say that your vision won’t change (even slightly) a year from now?
Keep checking in with yourself and referring to your timeline often. If you ever start to feel like you could make an alteration here and there, then by all means! Make those necessary changes as they arise, and don’t beat yourself up if you need to rearrange a few points on your timeline to better match the life you want.
What are some of the things you’re looking to map out for yourself in the future? Share your ideas in the comments below… And be sure to tune in to Episode 107 of Productivity Paradox to grab your free copy of my Define Your Future Self download!
WATCH the newest episode of TonyaTV: How To Plan Your Month for Success!