From Yearly Goals to a Decade of Purposeful Growth

Posted 01.03.2024

As the new year begins, most of us have goals or resolutions for 2024, but how many of us are working on a 10-year plan? For my first post of 2024, I want to share with you how I intend to transform my annual Life GPS® planning process into a decade spanning life roadmap. My hope is that you’ll be inspired to join me on this journey towards living a long and purposeful life.

For more than two decades, my wife Diane and I have been very intentional and consistent about visualizing our goals for the coming year and outlining the routines and actions that we think will best help us achieve them. As I’ve written about before on this blog and in my books, the framework we use for that planning process is a one-page tool we developed called the Life GPS®.

In November of last year, we took our annual retreat to update our individual Life GPS® worksheets for 2024 and took a little bit of time over the holidays to tweak them as we head into the new year. It’s a good feeling to have a roadmap and reference point ready to go as this year promises to be a full tilt slate of commitments.

Time for a Long-Term Plan

So that’s all good, but over the holidays I was able to articulate for myself something that’s been bugging me for a while that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I know what it is now.

While a one-year plan is a great thing to have and it’s worked brilliantly for Diane and me over the past 25 years, I’m at a stage in my life where I need a longer-term plan as well. I’ll share here why that’s the case and how I intend to approach it.

I’m sharing my work for three reasons. One, is you may be feeling the same way, and you might get some useful takeaways from what I’ll be doing. Two, you may already be working on your own ten-year plan and have some great lessons learned that will help me and everyone else who’s reading this post. If you do, please share them in a comment on this post on LinkedIn or send me an email and I’ll make sure that others benefit from them as well. And three, by writing it up here on the blog, I’m putting a record out there that will help keep me accountable for following through.

Now, back to what’s been on my mind and what I intend to do about it.

Inspiration from Life’s Veterans

Since I turned 60 a little less than three years ago, I’ve found myself regularly inspired by the stories of people who have stayed engaged and productive in the world well into very advanced years. A few years ago, in a post on having a sense of purpose, I wrote about Carl Reiner the comedy legend who was writing books and producing movies shortly before his passing at age 98. His best friend, Mel Brooks, is still going strong at 97 and received his 14th Emmy nomination last year. Their good friend and colleague, television pioneer and civil rights advocate, Norman Lear, recently passed at 101 years old and was working on new projects in the months before he died. Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway was still taking meetings and making investment decisions a few days before he passed last November about a month shy of his 100th birthday. Topping all of them is 103-year-old holistic health expert, Gladys McGarey, who as the Wall Street Journal reports keeps a full schedule and has appeared on over 200 podcast episodes in the past few years.

That’s how I want to be. Alive and not just kicking but fully engaged and contributing when I’m in my nineties. Of course, that’s another 30-year career away for me and won’t just happen through dumb good luck. I have to plan for it.

Two Books That Inspired Me

Another source of inspiration for me this past year has been a couple of books I’ve been reading – one I’m just finishing and another I’m just starting. The just finishing book is Outlive by longevity expert Peter Attia, M.D. Attia is all about health span, not life span and writes about what he calls the Centarian Olympics. The question he asks his patients and readers is what do you visualize yourself doing when you’re in your nineties and what steps do you have to start taking today to ensure you have the muscle mass, flexibility, and cognitive abilities to live that life? There are no guarantees of course, but unless you’re proactive in managing your health today, it’s pretty much guaranteed you won’t have the health to live the life you want to live in your nineties.

Attia’s approach syncs up nicely with what I’ve been reading in my just started book which is Be Useful by Arnold Schwarzenegger. While he would be the first to acknowledge he has not lived a perfect life, I don’t think anyone would argue that Schwarzenegger is not a master of setting big goals for himself and achieving them. The first chapter in his book is about setting a vision for yourself.

A Life GPS® for the Next Ten Years

That’s what I’m going to be working on this year; setting a vision for the outcomes I want to be creating in my life 10 years from now in the three arenas outlined in the Life GPS®:

  • Home
  • Work
  • Community

As the 10-year vision comes more into focus, I’m going to follow Peter Attia’s longevity advice and make sure the routines I follow and actions I take between now and ten years from now align with and support the vision. To keep my focus on routines and actions, I’ll organize them around the four domains of routines in the Life GPS®:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Relational
  • Spiritual

Do I expect perfection from my efforts? Nope. Do I expect things to change over time? For sure, in both my life and the world. I’m reminded of a quote by Gandhi that, “In regard to every action, one must know the result that is expected to follow.” It’s not about attachment to a specific set of outcomes for me 10 years from now, but it is about setting a direction and taking the steps that are most likely to land me in that vicinity.

I’m excited about what I’m going to learn in this process and what unfolds along the way. From time to time, I’ll keep you posted on my progress when I think I have something interesting to report. And if you’re on a similar journey for yourself, I’d always love to hear from you about your progress and lessons learned.

Happy new year! (For the next ten years!)

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